Aussies itching for World Cup action

After an exhaustive preparation, Lanning's charges can't wait for the tournament proper to begin

After two months of training and practice matches, Australia skipper Meg Lanning says her World Cup squad are itching for the tournament to get underway.

Australia romped to a 103-run warm-up match since over South Africa in Oakham on Tuesday, their second win since arriving in the United Kingdom having already accounted for New Zealand in Southampton last week.

They have one final competitive hit out, against Pakistan in Leicester on Thursday, before their World Cup opener next Monday.

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With the preparation going “as well as it could be at the moment”, Lanning is satisfied her squad is in a strong position less than a week before they meet West Indies in Taunton.

“We came out of Australia feeling really confident and we wanted to put the finishing touches on our preparation here,” Lanning said in Leicester.

“It’s always to start playing some games and against good opposition as well, so it’s going as well as it could be at the moment.”

Villani powers Aussies to strong win over SA

While Australia’s performance against the Proteas wasn’t without its hiccups - at one point they found themselves 3-40 after being sent in to bat – Lanning said the middle-order fightback led by a century from Elyse Villani would fill the squad with the confidence to get out of any tough positions they might find themselves in during the seven-match long group stage.

“It’s great. We do feel our batting line-up is very strong and we can bat all the way down.

“It’s nice to put some performances on the board and instill that confidence within the group to keep backing ourselves and be positive even though we lost wickets.”

The make-up of Australia’s XI for that first match against West Indies is unlikely to be revealed until the toss of the coin in Taunton, but Lanning is confident that all members of the 15-player squad can make an impact if called upon.

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“We’ve added to the squad with good pace and Belinda Vakarewa has come in and shown good signs.

“Sarah Aley (has bowled well) as well, we feel like we’ve got the bases of spin and pace covered and I think that’s important over here in these conditions.

“Everyone feels like they’re going pretty well and we’re just waiting for now for that first game to come around.

“It will be very difficult (for the selectors) … it will come down to what the conditions are.

“It’ll be a difficult task and there will be some players in good form missing out.”

South Africa flattened by Villani hurricane

Australia aren’t the only team to have impressed in warm-up matches. Hosts England also sent a signal to their competition with a dominant performance over third-ranked team New Zealand on Wednesday, cruising to a seven-wicket win.

Spinner Laura Marsh took 3-7 from four overs and Anya Shrubsole snared 2-11 from five as the White Ferns were dismissed for just 130 runs, opener Tammy Beaumont then leading the chase with an unbeaten 51.

Australia's World Cup schedule

June 26: Australia v West Indies, Taunton

June 29: Australia v Sri Lanka, Bristol

July 2: Australia v New Zealand, Bristol

July 5: Australia v Pakistan, Leicester

July 9: Australia v England, Bristol

July 12: Australia v India, Bristol

July 15: Australia v South Africa, Taunton

July 18: First semi-final, Bristol

July 20: Second semi-final, Derby

July 23: Final, Lord's

Commonwealth Bank Women’s Ashes schedule

October 22: First ODI, Allan Border Field, Brisbane

October 26: Second ODI, Coffs Intl Stadium, Coffs Harbour 

October 29: Third ODI, Coffs Intl Stadium, Coffs Harbour 

November 9-12: Day-night Test, North Sydney Oval, Sydney

November 17: First T20I: North Sydney Oval, Sydney

November 19: First T20I: Manuka Oval, Canberra

November 21: First T20I: Manuka Oval, Canberra

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