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Three World T20 titles pretty special: Lanning

Winning Australia Women’s captain says preparation for ICC Women's World Twenty20 started midway through team’s multi-format Ashes against England

Three World T20 titles pretty special: Lanning - Cricket News
Meg Lanning is still finding her feet as a leader, and the win in the ICC World Twenty20 2014 final should do wonders for her confidence.
You would imagine a captain who has led her team to the ICC Women's World Twenty20 title to be pumped up, brimming with energy, and exulting in delight. While it would be wrong to say Meg Lanning didn't feel any emotions after leading Australia Women to a six-wicket win over England Women in Mirpur on Sunday (April 6), it definitely didn't show on her face.
 
Lanning, 22, is still finding her feet as a leader, and the win should do wonders for her confidence. But the maturity came shining through, as she pointed out the reasons for Australia's turnaround in fortunes following a loss in the multi-format Ashes at home against England in January this year. "We started preparing for this tournament midway through the Ashes series itself," she said. "Obviously winning the T20 series against England gave us a lot of confidence coming in to Bangladesh."
 
Australia's campaign didn't start on the most auspicious note, with a loss against New Zealand Women by nine runs. Lanning felt that loss was the wake-up call her side needed. "It was a tough match-up first up for us, but I wasn’t worried after the loss because I thought we did a lot of things right against New Zealand," she said.  "When we came into the game today, we knew we had a lot of players in form. We built momentum and confidence progressively and I think that was the key here."
 
Australia's six-wicket win in the final was quite literally a cruise halfway through the game. It was powered by Lanning's quickfire 44 that smoothened the passage to victory. Lanning was open enough to admit the win somewhat eased the pain her team endured during the Ashes series back home. 
 
"Oh yes, definitely it eases a bit of pain," she said. "We were disappointed with that, but to come here and win to make it three T20 titles in a row is really special."
 
As a captain, Lanning did most things right. For starters, she topped the run-charts with 257 runs in six innings at a strike rate of 158.64. But taking over from Jodie Fields, who led Australia to the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 title in 2012 and the ICC Women’s World Cup in 2013, meant she had big boots to fill. Lanning offered her gratitude to her team-mates and support staff for giving her complete freedom.
 
"It came as a surprise initially and I knew I had to step up quickly," she said. "It’s something I’ve enjoyed. I’ve had a lot of support around me. I’m thankful to our coach Cathryn Fitzpatrick and all my team-mates for backing me throughout. There’s no doubt I still have a lot to learn but this has been a fantastic experience."
 
Just as you began to wonder what you could do to lighten things up, Lanning cracked up when reminded of her dance moves at a school in Sylhet as a part of ICC's various initiatives towards charity. "Oh that was great fun but my dance moves were pathetic," she laughed. "I can’t believe it went out to the world. It’s a bit embarrassing every time I look at it, but it was good to dance with the kids."
 
The Southern Stars, as they’re referred to, have three ICC World Twenty20 titles in the bag, a proud record that the men's team - without a single ICC World Twenty20 title - has failed to emulate so far. When asked if that made the team feel on top of the world, Lanning was sympathetic and measured in her response.
"We’d love to see the men doing well. They’ve just had a great summer," she said, referring to the men’s Ashes win and the Test series win in South Africa. "It feels good that we have been able to top that off with the World T20. Australian Cricket is in a happy place at the moment."

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