Australia and England will meet in the final of the ICC Women’s World T20 for the third time. Australia are gunning for a record fourth title, while an England victory would see them hold both T20I and ODI world titles at the same time, a feat they previously achieved in 2009.
The Southern Stars defeated holders West Indies by 71 runs in a one-sided semi-final, while England easily vanquished India, who were playing without talisman Mithali Raj, by eight wickets in the other semi.
Australia will look for a strong start from wicket-keeper Alyssa Healy, who has 203 runs in the tournament, and needs 55 more runs to overtake her captain Meg Lanning’s record for the most runs in a single edition of the ICC Women’s World T20.
Lanning praised the efforts of her team in the semi-final. “I thought we played well (in the semi-final). But at the same time, we were very, very clear that we had one more step to go. We’ve given ourselves the chance, I guess, but we need to make sure we get the job done tomorrow night.
“I didn’t feel great batting out there in the middle last night, sort of scratching around a little bit. But I guess it was a good partnership there with Midge (Alyssa Healy) to get us to a pretty competitive total there. I feel like I’m hitting the ball well. It was nice to spend some time out in the middle yesterday. But (I’m) looking to improve on that tomorrow,” she added.
With the ball, Ellyse Perry has proven effective even on slow surfaces, and stands on the cusp of becoming only the second woman to take 100 T20I wickets.
Heather Knight, captain of the England team, spoke about the prospect of becoming world champions in two formats of the game. “It’s a real achievement, I think especially (considering) the inexperience we’ve brought to this tournament, and the girls are massively excited. It’s probably not been the smoothest ride to get to the final, but the main thing is we’re here and we’ve got another opportunity to have a shot at winning a global trophy again and what an achievement it would be, how special it would be, if we could be double white-ball champions.
England will be happy that their batters had a good hit against India, but their bowlers have really punched above their weight. In particular, left-arm spinner Kirstie Gordon has been impressive. Gordon is the joint second-highest wicket-taker in the tournament with eight scalps, and has shown match-winning credentials in just her first tournament.
When questioned about the prospect of facing Australia, Knight admitted that the rivalry would add to the clash. “I think you can’t really ignore that it’s the old enemy, can you? It’s probably the two best teams in the world historically over the last few years, and we’ve had some amazing games of cricket recently. We had the Ashes series we drew out in Australia and a really good T20 series out there for us, where we won 2-1, and the game to finish off the series was a real thriller. So all history suggests it’s going to be a really good game, really tight game.”
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