Australia are vowing to keep the pedal to the metal in New Zealand, giving rivals no respite on their campaign to win back the Women’s Cricket World Cup.
The Meg Lanning-captained side are 5-0 and have qualified for the semi-finals with two games to spare, rendering matches against South Africa and Bangladesh as free hits.
However, Lanning is insistent the best way for Australia to continue the charge is to keep winning and not rest any weary bodies before their semi-final next week.
“We want to win every game,” she said.
“We have to continue to get better and and put that perfect game together. That’s what we’re searching for. And we’ve got a couple more games in this round to make sure that we do that.”
Fellow leader Alyssa Healy agreed.
“From my perspective, I think it’s full steam ahead,” she said.
“I hope we don’t take the foot off the pedal. We may as well maintain the momentum while we’ve got it.
“We wouldn’t be looking to to rest people purely because we’ve got two games in here. I don’t think that’s the way that we look at our cricket.”
The declaration of intent ensures no tolerance for lower standards over the next week, which begins with a bang on Tuesday.
Australia return to the Basin Reserve to face South Africa in a meeting of the tournament’s two remaining unbeaten sides — and possible preview of the final.
It’s also a rare clash between the two nations.
The only matches the pair have played against each other in the past five years have been at the 2017 ODI World Cup and the 2020 T20 World Cup, both won by Australia.
The Proteas have defied pre-tournament predictions and are seriously impressing in New Zealand with four wins — including last-over classics over England and New Zealand.
Australia’s closing specialist, Beth Mooney, said the ability of the world No.2s to close out matches under pressure has been terrific.
“South Africa have shown they can win those close games. That’s really impressive,” Mooney said.
Laura Wolvaardt has been a revelation at the top of the order with 260 runs at 65, but its with the ball that South Africa truly shine.
Pace bowlers Ayabonga Khaka and Marizanne Kapp lead the wicket-takers with 10 apiece.
After playing alongside Kapp in the Women’s Big Bash League for Perth Scorchers over summer, Mooney confessed to being “slighty scared” of her intensity.
“We’ve seen how competitive she is and her fiery nature … hopefully we can keep her a little bit quiet and get on top of them early.”
Mooney agreed the team should not hold anything in reserve for the semi-finals.
“Towards the back end of this competition, you want to gather as much momentum as you can,” she said.
“Tomorrow will be no different for us. I’m sure we’ll put our best team on the park.”