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Strong winds expected as Australia look to treat warm-up loss to NZ as mere aberration


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NZ haven’t beaten Australia in an ODI since 2017 but cruised to a nine-wicket win in the World Cup warm-up game earlier this month

New Zealand are hoping a typically brutal Wellington gale can blow them to victory over Australia in their crunch Women’s World Cup meeting on Sunday.

The meeting of the hosts and the world No. 1 side at the Basin Reserve is a contender for match of the tournament.

“This is a big game. There’s no doubt about that,” Australia captain Meg Lanning said.
New Zealand haven’t beaten Australia in a one-day international since 2017 but scored a confidence-boosting nine-wicket win earlier this month in a warm-up match.
New Zealand captain Sophie Devine reminded Australia of her class with an unbeaten 161, partnering with Amelia Kerr, who made 92, in the eye-catching result.
Australia coach Matthew Mott called Kerr the “most improved batter in the world” and that the coaching staff had prepared plenty of opposition research.

“We’ve certainly done our homework and planning on those two,” Lanning said. “And also their whole team. You can’t just focus on one or two players and forget about the rest because they’ve got a really good team with good depth. The other thing that’s important is adapting to the conditions and playing what’s in front of you.”

And on that front, Lanning says she’s also prepared. The forecast for Wellington tomorrow is near gale-force southerly winds, straight from Antarctica.

“I’ll be packing everything I have including handwarmers. They’re ready to go. I’ve heard it can get quite chilly,” Lanning laughed.

New Zealand allrounder Maddy Green, who like Devine and Kerr plays her club cricket with Wellington Blaze at the Basin, chuckled as she was informed of the likely conditions.

“It’s good to see Wellington has organised a nice fresh southerly for the Australians. I’m not too sure they’re going to enjoy that too much,” she said. “We’ve played a lot of cricket here so really looking forward to getting out on the Basin.”

In contrast, the Australian women’s team hasn’t played a ODI at the Basin since 1999. In their last T20 appearances here six years ago, New Zealand two wins over a team comprising six current Australians led by Lanning.

Australia should have all 15 squad members to pick from, with Ashleigh Gardner re-joining the squad after a Covid-enforced isolation period, and Tahlia McGrath fit after heel soreness.

Lanning said Gardner’s selection would be ratified after training, saying “if she’s fit and feeling well, she’ll come in”.

Australia, with wins over England and Pakistan so far in the tournament, can put a foot in the semi-finals with a third straight victory. New Zealand need a result more. They were shock opening-night losers to West Indies before rebounding with a fine 61-run victory over India on Thursday.

“These are the games you want to be a part of as a player,” Lanning said. “They’re really important in the context of the tournament and we’re really excited about the opportunity.”

“If we can withstand some pressure when they come hard at us, which they will do, and then get the momentum back through the game we feel like we have enough firepower to get the win.”



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