Aussie eves seek fourth title
A spirited West Indies women’s team, in their bid to make it a ‘Dream Double’ for the assortment of islands, will come out all guns blazing to stop the juggernaut of the three-time defending champions Australia in the final of the ICC World Twenty20, here on Sunday.
The Southern Stars, as the Aussie women team are known in the cricketing circuit, have been on a roll since winning the second edition of the Women’s World Twenty20 in 2010. The Meg Lanning led Australian women’s side choked arch-rivals England’s 133-run chase with a five-run victory in the semifinal.
“We’ve been pleased with our squad of 15 and our overall performance. I disagree that we relied heavily on one player. We’ve chased low totals. We’ve really benefited from the way Elyse Villani has kicked into gears and taken the game away in the opening overs,” Australian vice-captain Alex Blackwell said.
“You can’t ignore the impact of someone like Alyssa Healy and the way she took on Katherine... Small contributions can really be of high impact. Obviously Meg Lanning has been a real rock for us throughout. We’ve got plenty of players around. Ellyse Perry has been instrumental in our batting order in the recent years.”
In the spin-friendly and slow conditions of Eden Gardens their leg-break bowler Kristen Beams will look to make a potent force with left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen.
Megan Schutt and Rene Farrell with their change of pace and the accuracy will be key to their pace bowling as they aim to win an unprecedented fourth successive title. From their perspective, the Southern Stars will hope that Blackwell return to form and display her array of strokes which may prove to be the difference.
The West Indies women on the other hand living a dream after Britney Cooper’s maiden T20I half-century enabled them progress to their first ever final as they would look to win the silverware to inspire Darren Sammy and Co later in the day as they will be eyeing for a double in the World Twenty20.
Ahead of Cooper, skipper Stefanie Taylor, who is their leading scorer with 187 runs from five outings, will look to provide the start with Hayley Matthews. Boasting eight wickets with her best of 3/13 Stefanie will also relish the Eden conditions and will look to play a role with her offbreaks.
The Windies are also far from being a one-woman side as in Deandra Dottin down the order has played her role in infusing the intensity as and when required.
It’s a team of utility players and the Windies will benifit heavily with Deandra chipping in with her gentle medium pace that has so far fetched her seven wickets giving regular breakthroughs.
As for the stats, it’s heavily tilted in favour of the Australian women have never lost to their opponents from the West Indies with an 8-0 win-loss record in T20Is and 8-1 in ODIs.
It will however remain to be seen how the spirited Windies live up to the experienced challenge from the Australia Women who have been a force to reckon with since the days of Belinda Clark.
Squads: Australia Women: Meg Lanning (c), Alex Blackwell, Kristen Beams, Lauren Cheatle, Rene Farrell, Alyssa Healy, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Elyse Villani, Nicola Carey, Sarah Coyte, Holly Ferling, Jess Jonassen, Erin Osborne, Megan Schutt.
West Indies Women: Stafanie Taylor (C), Shakera Selman, Marissa Aguilleira, Shemaine Campbelle, Shamilia Connell, Britney Cooper, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Stacy Ann-King, Kycia Knight,
Kyshona Knight, Hayley Matthews, Anisa Mohammed, Shaquana Quintyne, Tremayne Smartt. Match starts: 2.30 pm IST.