Aus vs NZ, Commonwealth Games, 2022 – Michmutters

Aus vs NZ, Commonwealth Games, 2022

“We want to hold all the jewellery.”

In seven short words, fast bowler Megan Schutt has delivered an insight into the mindset driving Australia towards dizzying new heights.

They go into Saturday’s Commonwealth Games semi-final against New Zealand knowing they are just two wins away from setting a new benchmark for limited-overs success, as they look to add a gold medal to a glut of T20 and ODI World Cup triumphs. This is a team driven to succeed, and happy to embrace all that comes with it.

“We’re coming in as favourites, but we come in expecting to win every single game we play and have been the favorites for a lot of tournaments now, so we’re kind of used to it,” Schutt said. “It’s a tag that we’re humbled by. We are the favorites but we thrive on that.”

They also thrive on avenging missed opportunities. Cricket’s reintroduction to the Games is the 10th major limited-overs tournament for Australia since 2010, and they have won seven of the previous nine, a run that includes five T20 World Cup crowns.

But while the wins are what defines this team as one of the greatest national teams of all time, it is the losses – like the upset against the West Indies in the 2016 T20 World Cup final and the ODI World Cup semi-final loss to India in 2017 – that provide the motivation.

“There are obviously two tournaments in the past that have haunted us, and something that kind of reinvigorated our team is that 2017 loss,” Schutt said. “We do talk about that a lot, that has been a new era for us.

“Losses drive you forward and for us we want to win every single game that we play, we want to win every major championship. It’s about getting better and evolving as a team and each new tournament brings a new challenge.”

On Saturday that challenge is New Zealand, who were well below par in their loss to England in Thursday night’s final pool game.

New Zealand made just 71 off their 20 overs, a target England reeled in within 12 overs, with star duo Suzie Bates and skipper Sophie Devine both failing with the bat.

“That was un-New Zealand like,” Schutt said of the heavy defeat. “They never turn up twice like that in a row and its T20 cricket where any team can win, so we certainly are not taking them lightly.”

Saturday’s semi-final – which will be played on a traditional turf pitch at Edgbaston after hybrid surfaces were used during the preliminary rounds – is due to start at 1800 local time (Sunday 0300 AEST).


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