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Healy revelling in World Cup final shot

Aussie great Alyssa Healy will finally have the chance to play in a World Cup final after her semi-final heroics booked Australia a place in Sunday’s showpiece.

In the aftermath of the win, and her mighty 129 off 107, Healy admitted self-doubt as to whether she had it in her to be a top-order ODI star.

Australia overcame West Indies with a scintillating batting performance in Wellington on Wednesday, with Healy leading from the front.

Healy and Rachael Haynes combined for 216 against the Windies, Australia’s biggest ODI opening stand on foreign soil.

The almighty partnership drew a fitting reward: Australia’s return to the grandest stage in women’s cricket.

“It’s really cool,” Healy beamed after the win.

“It’s a great thing for our group. It’s great to be in a one-day World Cup final. It’s exactly where we wanted to be when we landed in New Zealand.”

The Queenslander has played for Australia for 12 years without playing in an World Cup final.

Healy travelled to the 2013 tournament as an understudy for Jodie Fields and watched on as Australia, including current teammates Lanning, Rachael Haynes, Ellyse Perry and Meg Schutt lifted the cup.

By 2017, Healy was Australia’s best pair of gloves, but a surprise semi-final loss to India meant the world No.1s would not have the trophy to match their ranking.

It’s fitting that Healy would provide the star turn to get Australia back into the final, given her transformation in the aftermath of that loss.

Healy was promoted in the order, repaying the faith with a stunning increase in her average from just 15.9 to 50.02.

In her first seven years of ODI cricket, she made just two half centuries.

Since the 2017 tournament, she’s added another 13 and two tons – including yesterday.

“I was given a role. I was given a purpose and a responsibility and I really enjoyed that,” she said.

“Learning how to build in innings in ODI cricket is something that I never really got the opportunity to do … I was coming in the back 10 (overs) just trying to slog away, like I do in T20 cricket.”

Healy said before 2017, she doubted whether career progression was possible.

“I thought I could be able to do more, but I probably didn’t believe that I could actually achieve any more than that,” she admitted.

“I probably look back and as a 26, 27-year-old, I was probably just a really frustrated cricketer … didn’t quite know where I fit in.

“I’ve obviously had a role in the team. It was behind the stumps and it was to come in and ice innings and play those big shots at the back end.

“From that moment on (in 2017) when Motty tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘We want you to open in the Ashes series, home matches, we want to take out our style of play down this route’ … I just felt a little bit backed.

“Five years ago, I probably wasn’t sure how much more I could get out of myself. So I guess to be able to see that come true has been really cool.”

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