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March 5, 2020

Meg Lanning

Sydney, New South Wales

Australia - 134/5, South Africa - 92/5 (DLS Method)

Q. Meg, how are the emotions? After that final ball, it looked pretty animated.
MEG LANNING: Yeah, pretty relieved. Excited for the opportunity that's coming up. It wasn't an easy day, I guess. We had a lot of waiting around and just hoping the weather was going to hold off. We got a little bit lucky, I guess.

Yeah, we've really built throughout this tournament. We've had a lot thrown at us. To be able to sort of come together in a really big moment is certainly very special. We'll certainly enjoy the win knowing there's something massive coming up over the next few days.

Q. When the team was out there in front of the members doing some fielding before -- you know, after the innings break, did you feel like you were getting back on? The clock was ticking. It looked pretty grim out there.
MEG LANNING: We were pretty confident. We knew the colour was 9:49, I think, and the radar was pretty clear once that patch had gone through, and the grounds crew said that as well. We were confident we could get back on. Obviously, we wanted to get back on as much as we could, but, yeah, it was nice it was able to clear up for a bit.

Q. Where does that sit in stressful days of your career in its entirety with everything they threw at you?
MEG LANNING: It's certainly up there. Even the last over, the last few balls, you just never can rest and think you've got it in the bag. South Africa played extremely well. They took it right to the end. We sort of got a bit of momentum with both bat and ball, but they were able to pull it back really well. It was a tough game. I really feel for them. I guess they've had a really good tournament. We certainly had to play very well to get through today.

Q. What did you think of your initial 20 over score and then the adjustment to 98? Were you confident at both stages there, sort of a thing you'd be able to defend?
MEG LANNING: Yeah, at the halfway mark, we thought 134 was a good score, but we weren't sort of ecstatic with it. We knew we'd have to bowl extremely well. I guess South Africa gave us a little bit of a blueprint on how to bowl on that wicket. It was sort of really at the stump sort of a good length and make it difficult for them to hit sort of square at the wicket.

Yeah, we were confident if we bowled really well, that we'd get a result, but as we saw, South Africa really took it to us. We had our moments, I guess, of good and bad, but we were able to hold on in the end, which was great.

Q. During the time in the field, was there ever a priority to make sure you got through that ten overs, trying to get through them quickly so there would be a result, or was it going about your same plan as usual, business as usual?
MEG LANNING: We spoke about that. We wanted to make sure we got through the overs really quickly in between. We were jogging in between. We obviously had a lot of spin today, so that sort of helped us out a little bit. Even our pace bowlers don't take a lot of time to bowl their overs. It was certainly mentioned because we did want to get that ten over mark in. Luckily, we didn't have to worry about that.

Q. How did you approach getting into the batting innings given you didn't know if you could bat for 10 overs or 15 or the full 20?
MEG LANNING: We didn't change too much. We felt like our approach, whether it's 10 overs or 20 overs, it's not that different. We wanted to take the game over and really put the team under pressure. I thought Alyssa and Beth really did that early on. They were able to put their bowlers under pressure. I thought we had a really good power play.

Yeah, we didn't want to change too much. We always feel like we want to take the game on, which we've done the last few games. Whether it was 10 or 20 overs, that didn't worry us.

Q. So you guys have had a couple of significant injuries, lost to India opening round, rain, potential cancellations, but you still have made your way to Finals, overcome a lot. What does that say about the squad?
MEG LANNING: I think it shows that we have a lot of resilience and are able to adapt to different situations. Yeah, no doubt, it hasn't been a smooth journey to the Final. You sit down at the start of the tournament and think about how things might go, and none of that has happened for us really, but that doesn't mean we can't get a result, and that's the attitude we've got. I think different players have stood up at different times, and we've had to adapt our game style, and that's fine. We've got the players to do it.

Our attitude throughout has really been very positive and just enjoying the moment. The good thing is we've given ourselves an opportunity now, and that's all we wanted to do. So we just want to have smiles on our faces and take the game on on Sunday. It's going to be a great game.

Q. Meg, can you just explain the decision to bat J.J. at Number 4 and the challenge as captain of juggling the ball in a 13-over innings?
MEG LANNING: We put J.J. to enliven the lineup a bit. Obviously, we've lost pace, so we had to think outside the square a little bit. She's a very good player of pace bowling, and that's sort of what they were doing at the time. They were sort of shucking and changing between spin, but we felt like, even against their unorthodox left handers, we felt it was a good matchup.

Yeah, we thought she could go out there and play a role for us. It didn't come off for us today, but that's the great thing about our team is we're able to try different things, and sometimes they work, sometimes they don't.

In terms of the bowling changes during 13 overs, it's sort of I had a little bit less to think about really. The biggest thing was working out who was going to bowl three overs and who was going to bowl two. I probably had J.J. and Schuetter down to bowl three, but I wasn't sure on the third. That was just sort of a gut feel kind of thing.

I think we had our moments with the ball where we really hit the areas we wanted to, and whenever we got hit, we probably strayed away from that. I think overall we held our nerve reasonably well.

Q. Thoughts on that knock by Laura Wolvaardt? She certainly got you and Rach to talk more than perhaps you were discussing in the early half of the innings?
MEG LANNING: Yeah, she's really good. She's had a good tournament and has adapted to that middle order role extremely well. We had our plans in place, but she was able to sort of counter them and sort of make us think a fair bit. You're right, we had to have a few discussions out there and slow it down a little bit because she was certainly getting on top of us.

Yeah, I think we adapted in the end. We might have taken a little bit too long to change the field and sort of change our plans a little bit, which is on me. But, yeah, she played an outstanding knock. She was extremely hard to bowl to tonight.

Q. I feel like we've been asking about March 8, 2020, forever.
MEG LANNING: Thank goodness it's here (laughter).

Q. Exactly. Is it almost a feeling of relief tonight? And is it more of a feeling of relief than previous years where you've made a final after a semifinal?
MEG LANNING: I don't know if relief is the right word. World Cups are extremely hard to win, and every one I've played in, we've lost a round game. We've had to fight extremely hard to win the semi and get through. We never came into this World Cup just thinking it was going to happen and it was going to be easy. We knew we were going to be in for a fight, and that's exactly what's happened. We knew we had -- we weren't owed anything. We had to go out and win this World Cup. We're not defending it. We're out here to win it, and every other team is out here to do it as well.

So, yeah, that was our attitude coming in, and I'm pretty happy that March 8 has come around. Now we can just talk about India and Australia and what a great game it's going to be.

Q. On that note, do you speak about the opening game of the tournament the next few days? Do you wipe the slate with that? What kind of approach do you take with that? And obviously, Poonam Yadav because that will be a big talking point.
MEG LANNING: Yeah, we will talk about Poonam Yadav. There's a lot of learnings from that first game that we feel like we can implement. Yeah, we'll do all our research over the next few days, have a look at them, but also how we can play. I've got no doubt we'll be able to adapt. As I said, it's a different wicket. We'll have to work out what that looks like.

India are a very, very good side, and they've showed that throughout the tournament. So we're going to have to play well.

Q. I spoke to the CEO of the T20 World Cup before this tournament started. He said it was almost too good to be true getting a March 8 on a Sunday, T20, 2020. There's a lot of things that have fallen in place in strange ways for an India-Australia final, which is the ideal case situation for the organisers. Do you get the feeling of just something bigger is happening than just a cricket tournament? Do you get that feeling as well?
MEG LANNING: I do, and that was always what this tournament was about. It was about showing there's a pathway, there's female role models out there for young girls to look up to, and really creating and inspiring young people to be involved. Not just young people in Australia, but around the world, that cricket is a really powerful sport and platform.

I think it's been a great tournament so far. There's been amazing games. There's really great people involved. Yeah, it seems like it has sort of fallen into place a little bit, and Sunday is going to be massive. We're really pleased we get the opportunity to be a part of it. So, yeah, hopefully, there is 90,000 people there. Everything's been done that could possibly be done, and we're just really pumped we get to be out in the middle and play in front of everyone.

Q. Just asking this question is almost giving me goose bumps, just thinking about that final piece of this entire big picture. Does that make you feel different from any other final that you've played in before?
MEG LANNING: Oh, it will be different, no doubt about that. I've been to the MCG when there's 100,000 fans there, and I've been in the stands, and the atmosphere is absolutely incredible, and I've sort of had goose bumps watching. To think that we'll be out in the middle experiencing that, that's going to be really exciting and such a great thing to be a part of.

Everyone's done extremely well to get to this part of the tournament. There's been a lot of ups and downs for our team. Yeah, we're just really glad we get the opportunity to go out there and play.

Q. You've had so many match-winning knocks in sort of knockout games at tournaments. What is it about kind of these matches that brings out the best in you?
MEG LANNING: I'm not sure. I love winning, I guess. I want to help us win as much as I can. Yeah, it was a grind today. I don't feel like I ever got going at any point. Yeah, to be able to contribute in a big game is something I really pride myself on and want to do as often as I can. There's some really good contributions throughout, I thought, to allow me to bat through the innings.

Yeah, it's not my most fluid knock, but certainly nice to be able to contribute, and hopefully I can be able to do that again on Sunday.

Q. We saw some pretty special sayings with Ellyse Perry at the end there. How much of a mental lift has she provided just by her presence?
MEG LANNING: Yeah, she's been great. Obviously, she's not able to have the impact she would have liked, but she's been really impressive around the group, just being really positive and giving off any bit of experience she can. She's obviously been around the group a long time and experienced a lot of these sort of pressure moments.

Yeah, I can't fault her with how she's been around the group. She's obviously disappointed not to be involved, but it's nice to still have her around, and she'll play a big role heading into Sunday.

Q. Meg, thoughts on Beth Mooney, how she's gone about her job through the course of the tournament? She keeps flying under the radar for odd reasons. How have you seen her evolve and especially the way she's delivered the role at the top in this tournament? The World Cup with all the pressure and buzz around.
MEG LANNING: She's been amazing. She had an amazing WBBL Tri-Series. She played well. In T20 cricket, it's hard to be consistent, especially as an opener when you're taking the game on, which is what she's doing. You're right. She goes about her business very quietly. There's no fuss. She's a very important part of our side. Tonight I thought she played well. I thought that power play was excellent. Hopefully, she's got another really good game in her come Sunday.

Q. I touched on this before, but what can you take away from that first game, and how confident are you leading into that final that you can get the job done over India?
MEG LANNING: Yeah, I think we executed reasonably well with the ball. I think keeping them to 130 is a reasonable effort. Obviously, they've got some outstanding batters and bowlers, world class, that we're going to have to have good plans and execute consistently.

Obviously, we didn't bat well with the bat. I think Alyssa Healy batted extremely well. So she takes some confidence into it. We just sort of had a three or four over patch where we were poor and couldn't get the job done. We need to play better, and we're going to have to because, as I said, India is pretty strong. We know them pretty well, and they know us pretty well. So there's nowhere to hide.

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