The winners of Group A and the runners-up India and Australia meet each other once again in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, in what should be an amazing final in front of 90,000 spectators at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday. The match will commence from 12.30 PM IST.
The Women in Blue had defeated the Australians in the first game of the edition, with Poonam Yadav’s spell of 4 for 19 helping the Indians eke out a close win after they had piled just over 130. Wins against New Zealand, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka meant that they topped the group, a result that helped them enter the finals after the semi-final against England Women was washed out.
Australia, on the other hand, just about entered the finals. In their semis encounter against South Africa, skipper Meg Lanning paved the way with an unbeaten 49, which helped her team win by 5 runs via the DLS method.
Weather Report: The weather report for Melbourne is clear for Sunday with no chance of rain. There will be high humidity, however in the latter half of the game.
Pitch conditions and toss prediction: The MCG usually serves up fast and hard tracks, which are perfect for run-scoring. The team that wins the toss would want to bat first, as runs on the board in a pressure game is always favoured.
Team news and probable 11
India – Team India last played a game on February 29 against Sri Lanka. They could field the same team yet again in the all-important finals as well, which means that Radha Yadav keeps her spot while Arundhati Reddy warms the benches. The Indian side is in stellar form, beating teams like Australia, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Bangladesh in the group stages before their semis was washed out.
Their most recent game was against Sri Lanka when Radha Yadav took 4 for 23 as Sri Lanka could only post 113 on the board. Shafali Verma hit 47 as India raced away to a seven-wicket win.
Probable 11 – Shafali Verma, Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur, Deepti Sharma, Veda Krishnamurthy, Taniya Bhatia, Shikha Pandey, Radha Yadav, Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad
Australia – Ellyse Perry is out injured and did not take the field in the semi-final clash against South Africa. Australia replaced the star all-rounder with Sophie Molineux, and she could continue in the eleven in the finals as well. The Aussies had lost their opener to India in the Women’s T20 World Cup, but have won four of four games since. They were in a must-win clash against New Zealand but held their nerve to defend 155 and advance to the finals.
The rain had threatened to end their World Cup dreams, as a washout would have meant that South Africa, the winners of Group B qualified for the finals. However, the rain stayed clear during their game on Thursday, and they managed to score 134 for 5 in 20 overs. The target was reduced to 98 in 13 overs for the Proteas, but they could only manage 92 for 5 as Australia qualified for the finals.
Probable 11 – Alyssa Healy (wk), Beth Mooney, Meg Lanning (c), Jess Jonassen, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Nicola Carey, Sophie Molineux, Georgia Wareham, Delissa Kimmince, Megan Schutt
While India is the in-form team, they have a number of issues as well, none bigger than the poor form of Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpret Kaur. The Indian unit lacks experience and can easily be over-awed in the big finals. Australia, the defending champions, have won four World T20 titles thus far and will be better acclimatized to handle the pressure, which is why they are the favourites.