ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020
Lanning hails fighting spirit but Aussies have room to improve
Australia's skipper delighted as team win from difficult position in tri-series final and show steady improvement as focus switches squarely to T20 World Cup
12 February 2020, 07:35 PM AEST
Australia captain Meg Lanning has hailed her team's gritty CommBank T20I Tri-Series win as the perfect preparation for the upcoming T20 World Cup.
That Lanning would lift the trophy at Junction Oval on Wednesday was the favoured outcome before the opening tri-series game on January 31, but the manner in which the contest played out defied the expectations of many.
The No.1 ranked Australians split their round matches against England and India before pulling off a remarkable fightback with the ball in the final against Harmanpreet Kaur's team, securing a gutsy 11-run victory.
But for Lanning, whose team was rarely tested through the second half of 2019 when they whitewashed an injury-ravaged West Indies and a developing Sri Lanka team, the fact they were forced to fight was the perfect outcome.
"This has been a brilliant series for us," Lanning said on Wednesday.
"We've been put to the test in every game we've played by two world-class sides who are going to do very well in this World Cup.
"With both the ball and the bat we feel like we improved over the tournament, we still feel like there's a few areas to (keep improving) but I'd take this tournament any day of the week heading into a World Cup.
"To be put under the pump and have to respond to that is really good for this team and we can get a lot of confidence out of this win today."
Crucially, the win over India will give Australia an edge before the teams meet again in next week's opening T20 World Cup game in Sydney.
Across their past four meetings, Australia and India have won two games apiece, with Kaur's team seemingly having a knack for challenging the world's top-ranked side.
But Lanning said she was pleased her group had been able put into practice the lessons they took from last Saturday's seven-wicket defeat.
"We were under the pump (today) and looking down the barrel of defeat, but we did feel we stayed in the game really well," Lanning said.
"When we reviewed (Saturday's game) we saw a lot of things we could have done slightly different and that gives us a lot of confidence, and we back ourselves to be able to deliver on that.
"(But) we've got to make sure we get our planning right, we're playing on a different wicket again when we play them in Sydney, so we've got to be able to adjust to the conditions."
One of the themes of the tri-series for Australia was experimentation, as they used every member of their 15-player World Cup squad except allrounder Erin Burns, who is still recovering from a knee injury.
Lack of game time for Burns is a concern after several setbacks to her rehabilitation after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone fragment in her knee last month, but Lanning is otherwise pleased with how her squad was put through its paces.
"We've been able to evolve as a team, we've added Annabel Sutherland and Erin Burns to the group and it's really important you do that and continue to develop.
"We genuinely feel like any team we put out with this squad would be able to get the job done."
Where Australia fielded an incredibly settled XI through their last, successful, T20 World Cup campaign in the West Indies in late 2018, Lanning expects more changes to be made this time around.
Where that tournament saw Australia play all four group matches at the same venue in Guyana, Lanning's team will this time embark on a whirlwind journey featuring four matches at four different grounds in the space of 11 days.
That period will see Australia meet India at the Sydney Showgrounds Stadium – a venue unfamiliar even to the hosts, outside of a warm-up they played there late last month – before flying west to play Sri Lanka at the WACA Ground.
They will return east to meet an opponent they have never faced before in Bangladesh in Canberra, all before a showdown against New Zealand, led by the in-form Sophie Devine, at Junction Oval.
"We play some very different teams in this World Cup who have very different styles of play, so for us it'll purely come down to what we feel the best combination is," Lanning said.
"But I'm extremely confident anyone we put out on park will so well … it's going be very hard to pick the first team."
Australia fly to Brisbane on Thursday, ahead of their first official World Cup warm-up game against the West Indies at Allan Border Field on Saturday.
CommBank T20I tri-series
Australia squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Erin Burns, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy (wk), Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
First T20I: India beat England by five wickets
Second T20I: England beat Australia in Super Over
Third T20I: Australia won by four wickets, Manuka Oval
Fourth T20I: England won by four wickets
Fifth T20I: India won by seven wickets
Sixth T20I: Australia won by 16 runs
Final: Australia win by 11 runs
* All matches will be broadcast on the Seven Network and Fox Cricket, live stream on Kayo and the CA Live app or listen on ABC Grandstand
2020 ICC Women's T20 World Cup
February 15: Australia v West Indies, Allan Border Field
February 18: Australia v South Africa, Karen Rolton Oval
February 21: Australia v India, Sydney Showgrounds
February 24: Australia v Sri Lanka, WACA Ground
February 27: Australia v Bangladesh, Manuka Oval
March 5: Semi-final 1, SCG
March 5: Semi-final 2, SCG
March 8: Final, MCG
For a full list of all World Cup fixtures, click HERE
* All matches will be broadcast on Fox Cricket and Kayo, while Australia’s matches will also be broadcast on the Nine Network