England have received the backing of both the Northern Diamonds and Yorkshire squads ahead of Sunday’s World Cup final against Australia in Christchurch (2am).
Diamonds captain Hollie Armitage says England’s journey to the final has been “awesome to watch”, while Yorkshire assistant coach Ali Maiden has urged many of his former colleagues to enjoy the day.
Maiden was an assistant coach to Mark Robinson when England won the last World Cup at Lord’s in summer 2017.
After losing their opening three games, England have won their last five to set up another clash with the tournament favourites, who have won all four winter ODI meetings between the two teams.
“They’ve just peaked at the right time, and hopefully they can bring it home,” said Armitage.
“The final will be a very tough game for them, but they’re going in the right direction. If they play their best cricket, they can beat any side.
“They have a great chance to do something very special.”
Three Diamonds have played their part. Katherine Brunt and Nat Sciver have been ever-presents, while Lauren Winfield-Hill played at the start of the tournament before being left out.
All three were in England’s team for the 2017 final at Lord’s, when they famously beat India.
Yorkshire’s new assistant coach Maiden also played his part that day.
“It was a really enjoyable day, and one of the things we tried to do was make sure everyone just enjoyed the day,” he said. “Mark Robinson, as head coach, was a big part of that.
“His big thing was, ‘Whatever happens, happens. But make sure you enjoy it’.
“It happens a lot with finals when there’s pressure and nerves, all that kind of thing, and you don’t take in the moments.
“I remember sitting on the balcony that day at the point where we’d basically lost the game. India needed next to nothing with loads of wickets left.
“So I was just looking around and trying to make sure I could remember what it was like to be at a World Cup Final.
“That, and the lap of honour with the trophy, are the things I remember most.
“I hope that’s what the girls do on Sunday. Just enjoy it.
“A lot of them are very lucky because they’ll get to play in two World Cup finals.”
Maiden added: “They can definitely do it. The thing with finals is that both teams are nervous and will make mistakes.
“It’s about making sure you get through that and take the upper hand as quickly as possible. Hopefully England are the ones who settle the quickest.
“All the pressure is probably on Australia because they’re the favourites. They’re a good outfit who have won the last two T20 World Cups. But anything can happen.
“It will be a great game and great occasion.”