Fast bowler Megan Schutt gave an insight into the mindset propelling Australia to dizzying new heights in just seven brief words. As they seek to add a gold medal to a glut of T20 and ODI World Cup victories, they know going into Saturday’s Commonwealth Games semi-final against New Zealand that they are just two victories away from creating a new standard for limited-overs success. This group is eager to succeed and content to accept anything that entails it. “We’re coming in as favourites, but we come in expecting to win every single game we play and have been the favourites 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 favourites but we thrive on that.”
They also thrive on getting even for lost chances. The return of cricket to the Olympics is Australia’s tenth major limited-overs competition since 2010, and they have won seven of the previous nine, including five T20 World Cup victories. While the victories are what distinguish this team as one of the greatest national teams in history, it is the defeats that spur them on, such as the shock loss to the West Indies in the 2016 T20 World Cup final and the 2017 ODI World Cup semi-final loss to India. “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,” she added.
The opposition on Saturday is New Zealand, who struggled mightily in their defeat to England in the last pool game on Thursday. Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine, two of New Zealand’s top batswomen, both struggled with the bat as they only managed to make 71 runs off of their 20 overs, a total that England reached in just 12 overs. “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,” she added.