Ellyse Perry celebrates with teammates after Australia’s win over South Africa. Picture: Getty Images
Ellyse Perry celebrates with teammates after Australia’s win over South Africa. Picture: Getty Images

Tears of joy as injured Perry celebrates Aussie win

No Ellyse Perry? No worries.

Australia proved it has the depth and guts to win the T20 World Cup without their injured star all-rounder, with Perry reduced to a role as the most nervous cheerleader in ground, tears of joy and relief spilling from her at the close.

But what she witnessed from the sidelines wasn't pretty.

 

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After 30mm of rain, Delissa Kimmince and Megan Schutt stepped up with the ball and Meg Lanning with the bat to secure Australia's tight five-run victory over South Africa at the SCG on Thursday night.

Perry, nursing a serious hamstring injury, cheered from the bench as Lanning mustered a true captain's knock as the top order fell around her.

Australia's trusty skipper scored 49 runs and backed up in the second innings with two spectacular catches to fend off a South African comeback that threatened to end Australia's World Cup journey.

 

Injured star Ellyse Perry (right) celebrates with teammates after Australia’s semi-final win over South Africa. Picture: Getty Images
Injured star Ellyse Perry (right) celebrates with teammates after Australia’s semi-final win over South Africa. Picture: Getty Images

But save the champagne - it's not over yet.

Standing between Australia and their sixth T20 World Cup trophy, is a fearless and undefeated Indian side.

The Aussies are still licking their wounds after India pulled off the upset of the tournament to beat the home side two weeks ago.

Now, Australia has a shot at redemption - but it won't be easy.

The top order must face the wrath of ultra-slow spinner Poonam Yadav.

The Cup's leading wicket-taker dismissed Alyssa Healy, Rachael Haynes, Ellyse Perry and Jess Jonasson in Sydney, and she'll be hunting for another haul at the MCG.

And Australia's bowlers must contain Shafali Verma - India's 16-year-old sensation who has terrorised opponents with her aggressive and consistent knocks.

Captain Harmanpreet Kaur's confidence in India is so strong that she bought her parents tickets for just two tournament matches - the semi-final and the final.

 

Australian players celebrate their win on Thursday night. Picture: Getty Images
Australian players celebrate their win on Thursday night. Picture: Getty Images

But the Aussies are a resilient lot.

And they learn from their mistakes.

Lanning's side has pushed through a disappointing start, immense home-pressure and speculation that they can't handle spin.

 

But the true test will be on Sunday, when Australia run out at the MCG in front of more than 60 000 fans on International Women's Day.

With injuries, an upset loss and heavy rain, Lanning admitted that Australia's road to the World Cup final hasn't been easy.

But the skipper is proud of her team's never-say-die attitude.

"It shows that we have a lot of resilience and are able to adapt to different situations, no doubt it hasn't been a smooth journey to the final," Lanning said.

"But that doesn't mean we can't get a result, and that's the attitude we've got, different players have stood up at different times and we've had to adapt our game style and that's fine."

Australia's Meg Lanning celebrates Australia’s victory over South Africa at the SCG.
Australia's Meg Lanning celebrates Australia’s victory over South Africa at the SCG.

Lanning is expecting India throw everything at them on Sunday and backs the Aussies to come up with a strategy to contain Yanav.

"We will talk about Poonam Yanav, we'll be on a slightly different wicket but there's a lot of learning from that first game that we feel like we can implement," Lanning said.

"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 can adapt.

"Obviously they've got some outstanding batters and bowlers who are world class, who we're going to have to have good plans and execute consistently" Lanning said.

They might be the reigning champions, but Lanning said the side knows they have a tough battle on their hands.

"We never came into this World Cup thinking it was going to happen and it was going to be easy, we knew we were going to be in for a fight," Lanning said.

"We're not defending it, we're out here to win it."


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