With England we’re more used to knockout cricket than Australia | England women’s cricket team

After the first three games it felt as if we were going to go home before the semis even started, and now here we are. We’re really excited to have got to the final of another World Cup. In our semi-final against South Africa, things fell into place and everything went how it should do. I can’t believe it was Sophie Ecclestone’s first five-for – she’s only 22 but she already feels like part of the furniture. And I’m always happy when Danni Wyatt scores runs!

On the morning of the semi-final, 14 out of 17 of us went for brunch in this cafe, Unknown Chapter. I’m sure everyone will be back there on the day of the final – we have to do everything the same otherwise it won’t work. We’re all a bit superstitious about things like that!

We didn’t have a big celebration after the semi, because we didn’t want to get too overexcited – we didn’t want to undo all our hard work and we know the importance of the final match. It seems crazy that England haven’t played Australia in a World Cup final since 1988 – since I’ve been playing, it’s always been us two at the top, competing for that top spot, so it feels like a natural final for this competition.

After three losses in a row, you feel the whole world’s on top of you. After we lost to South Africa, I was convinced we weren’t going to make the semi-finals. But we’ve seen that with a bit of momentum, and a bit of luck here and there, things can turn quite quickly. All the chat’s been to keep trusting each other, keep trusting ourselves, keep doing the things that we’ve been doing for a really long time. Build pressure, stay patient, build partnerships. That’s what we’ve done in the last five games and that’s how we’ve turned it around.

England players celebrate winning the 2017 Women’s World Cup at Lord’s.
England players celebrate winning the 2017 Women’s World Cup at Lord’s. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

We’ve been playing under pressure for a long time, whereas Australia have won a lot of games very easily, but we think that could help us – we’re more used to the mentality of knockout cricket than they are. I don’t want get too far ahead of myself, but having scored a hundred against them in the group-stage match definitely helps with my confidence. That match was a clean slate against them after the Ashes loss, and it’s the one that sticks in our minds – we were able to go toe to toe with them but just couldn’t get over the line. To be honest it felt like the fourth day of a Test match! Having the chance to write a different story of the winter, after the Ashes and that first game, is what’s motivating me ahead of Sunday.

Australia went out in the semis of the last World Cup so didn’t get to experience that amazing day at Lord’s. We’re defending champions, and having that experience of playing in the 2017 final will definitely help us against them. Being there was so special, the atmosphere gave me such a buzz of energy. And then afterwards we were in the changing room and Katherine [Brunt] was like: “Come out on to the balcony with me,” and she surprised me by asking me to be her girlfriend. It topped off an all-round great day. I will ask her how she’s planning to top that if we win on Sunday – she’s already proposed so I’m not sure what else there is!

After three months away, everyone is ready to go home. It’s tough to live under restrictions for such a long time – if we eat out, it has to be outdoors, and we can’t stay for more than five minutes in shops – so we’re really looking forward to going home and being able to live a normal life again. I remember that when we first got told that this trip was going to happen, an Ashes directly followed by a World Cup, we were worried – were we going to be able to get through it OK? And we’ve all had our emotional days, and days where we haven’t been in a great place, but for the most part we have been OK. I’ve missed my dog the most – cuddling her on the sofa. She’s called Bella, she’s a fox red labrador and we’ve missed her second birthday! Katherine’s brother is looking after her and he’s been sending a lot of cuddle pictures and some nice videos as well.

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For me, whatever happens in the final, we’ve done brilliantly well from the position that we were in to get here. We’ve gone through a bit of adversity but I hope we’ve done our country and our families proud.

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