ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020
World Cup bumps bring Aussies closer: Molineux
Allrounder says the T20 World Cup hosts have been able to unite in the face of misfortune, headlined by Ellyse Perry’s hamstring injury
6 March 2020, 09:00 PM AEST
A far-from-smooth journey to the T20 World Cup final has only strengthened the bonds in the Australian team, allrounder Sophie Molineux believes.
The world’s top-ranked team have set up a blockbuster showdown with India for Sunday’s final in front of what is hoped to be a full house at the MCG, but Australia’s path to that match on March 8 has come with its share of obstacles.
From the tournament-ending injury to Tayla Vlaeminck on the eve of the opening game, to a first-up defeat against India and a scare against Sri Lanka, it has not been easy.
Ellyse Perry’s serious hamstring injury and the threat of a washed-out semi-final were the latest hurdles thrown at the hosts, who have also endured unprecedented amounts of scrutiny, but Molineux said she was proud of how the squad had endured it all.
"We’ve been thrown a bit across the past few weeks, we’ve had a few injuries … there was a bit going against us, to just to be able to come together and dig deep, there is that overwhelming feeling of pride," Molineux said after the Australian squad landed at Melbourne Airport on Friday.
"We’ve got a great group around us, the players and support staff all rally around each other and that’s been the big thing this whole World Cup, we’ve been a tight unit, we’ve had to be.
"The beauty of sport, and especially team sport, is we’re able to put our arms around each other and get through it together.
"It’s made me really proud to be part of this group and the way we’ve handled it.
"At times like this you could almost break away (from each other) but we’ve become even tighter and hungrier.
"It’s cool we’ll be able to experience this together."
Australia will hardly need inspiration to perform their best in Sunday’s final, but knowing Perry and Vlaeminck are on the sidelines could give Meg Lanning’s team an added boost.
Perry has remained in the 15-player squad despite tearing her hamstring in Australia’s final group match against New Zealand to lend her experience and support, while 21-year-old quick Vlaeminck has also stayed high in the team’s thoughts, although not physically present.
When the Australian players, coaches and staff all linked arms to sing the team song following Thursday’s thrilling semi-final victory, Molineux facetimed Vlaeminck and ensured she was part of the moment.
"Pez has been great around the group and it must be difficult for her and for Tay Vlaeminck back at home," Molineux said.
"They’re two girls who put their heart and soul into this team the same as every other player here.
"We’ve got their full support and we’re right behind them as well and that’s the beauty of our squad at the moment."
Australia will train at the MCG on Saturday ahead of the Sunday night final.
Despite staring down the barrel of exiting the tournament without a ball being bowled in the semi-final, after heavy rain lashed Sydney throughout Thursday – and washed out the earlier India v England match – Molineux said relief was not the overwhelming emotion in the Australian camp.
"It’s excitement," she said.
"To be able to fly into Melbourne, it’s starting to hit us now that we’re about to go play in a World Cup final at home at the MCG."
2020 ICC Women's T20 World Cup
February 21: India beat Australia by 17 runs
February 24: Australia beat Sri Lanka by five wickets
February 27: Australia beat Bangladesh by 86 runs
March 8: Final: India v Australia, MCG
For a full list of all World Cup fixtures, click HERE
* The Final will be broadcast on Fox Cricket, Kayo and the Nine Network