Women’s T20 World Cup, Final: Australia vs India – Chance for the Women in Blue to script their very own 1983 moment against the defending champions
The Women in Blue have largely depended on swashbuckling opener Shafali Verma and their troika of spinners-led by Poonam Yadav and pacer Shikha Pandey.
Updated - Mar 7, 2020 5:29 pm
So, here we are then! After a month of pulsating action that has captured the imagination of the folklore, we are finally down to the summit clash of the 2020 edition of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.
It will be defending champions and hosts Australia locking horns with the ultimate challengers- the Harmanpreet Kaur-led Women in Blue- at the colosseum of cricket that is the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Both sides have met once in this competition where Australia was spun into a tizzy by Poonam Yadav but facing the world championships in the finals will be a different kettle of fish altogether and India would know that by experience.
After all, they have experienced it first hand during the 2005 World Cup finals where the Mithali Raj-led outfit was shellacked by 98 runs by the rampant Aussies. That was followed by another heartbreak at the 2017 finals where their dreams were crushed by England at Lord’s.
One thing that India would take some heart from, is the fact that they have beaten Australia in each of their past three ICC meetings including the 2017 semi-final where Harmanpreet Kaur’s whirlwind 171 took the defending champions out of the competition.
But, India should also be wary. There is nothing more dangerous than a wounded lioness and the Meg Lanning-led hosts have been hurt by the Indians on quite a few occasions in the past, something they would be looking avenge in front of their home fans on possibly the biggest ever night of Women’s cricket.
This World Cup has glaring opportunities with the 1983 Prudential Cup where the ultimate challengers beat the defending champions West Indies in the league-stage and then in the finals to script history. Harmanpreet Kaur and her side have emulated the first part; will they do the second and script their very own 1983 moment? We’ll have to wait and see.
The defending champions should go in with the same side that beat South Africa in the semi-finals. Each of their top-order batswoman in Alyssa Healy, Beth Money, Meg Lanning, Rachel Haynes, and Ashleigh Gardener have chipped in performances at different stages of the tournament thus far.
On the bowling front, Meghan Schutt, Delissa Kimmince and Jess Jonassen were brilliant during their defense in the semi-finals.
Probable XI: Alyssa Healy (WK), Beth Mooney, Meg Lanning, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachel Haynes, Sophie Molineux, Delissa Kimmince, Nicola Carey, Jess Jonassen, Georgia Wareham, Megan Schutt
The Women in Blue have largely depended on swashbuckling opener Shafali Verma and their troika of spinners-led by Poonam Yadav and pacer Shikha Pandey. But they will hope that their senior pros in Smriti Mandhana, skipper Harmanpreet, and Jemimah Rodrigues strike some form on the big day.
The only change that India might look to make is including Arundhati Reddy in place of one of their spinners. In that case, Rajeshwari Gayakwad might miss out, considering Radha Yadav did so well against Sri Lanka.
Probable XI: Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Taniya Bhatia (WK), Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur (C), Deepti Sharma, Veda Krishnamurthy, Shikha Pandey, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad/Arundhati Reddy, Poonam Yadav
Focus will be on
Smriti Mandhana [IND]- With Shafali Verma (161 runs in 4 games) making all the right noise at the top of the order, champion opener Smriti Mandhana [38 runs at 12.6] have had an unusually quiet tournament. But, as Harman said in the press conference, she and Smriti might be saving it for the big day. How India would hope that it turns out to be the case tomorrow!
Alyssa Healy [AUS]- She scored a whirlwind half-century in the last match against India, and if not for Poonam Yadav, would have led Australia to a win. Healy showed how destructive she can be when she racked up a swashbuckling assault on Bangladesh. Come the finals, India would want to see the back of her as soon as possible.
0- Number of finals India have won in ICC events.
1- Number of finals Australia has lost in the T20 World Cup. The only time they suffered such a fate was against the West Indies in 2016.
1- Number of times India and Australia have met in a World Cup. That was during the 2005 50-over event where the Aussies romped home by 98 runs.
Live Streaming: Hotstar
TV: Star Sports
Match Timings: 12:30 PM IST