Women’s final: Will WI end Australia's domination?

Australia remains an overwhelming favourite for a fourth consecutive World T20 title. The Southern Stars have won all the previous eight meetings against West Indies and also the pre-tournament warm-up match making it even stronger on cards.

Autralian women cricketers during their training session in Kolkata on Saturday.   -  PTI

An eager group of flamboyant West Indians stand in the way of denying a formidable Australia the chance of winning the fourth consecutive women’s ICC World T20 title. The women’s final, which will precede the more popular men’s event, will be a match-up of two teams with divergent statistics in the T20 format.

Australia remains an overwhelming favourite for a straight fourth title – having won the previous three editions in 2010, 2012 and 2014. Going by the head-to-head record, the Southern Stars have won all the previous eight meetings against West Indies and also the pre-tournament warm-up match making it even stronger on cards. But West Indies women have exuberance as their key weapon while they try to make their maiden final appearance worthwhile.

 

West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor sounded upbeat about her team’s prospect. “We are not intimidated at all. They (Australians) have won three times. We have nothing to lose. We go there in the middle and be positive. We definitely want to grasp this and win the Cup for the first time,” Taylor said after West Indies had a good practice session at the venue in the morning.

The West Indies team has shown a lot of character and resilience while reaching the final and will a strong challenger to the defending champion. West Indies edged past Pakistan by four runs in its opening match before winning against Bangladesh by 49 runs. After losing in the last ball against England, West Indies picked itself up well to get the better of host India by three runs to reach the semifinals. The Caribbean side came up with a good show in the last four encounter against New Zealand in Mumbai, where it rode on Britney Cooper’s 48-ball 61 to ensure the right to fight for the title with a six-run win.

Skipper Taylor has also led by example with an all-round performance where she has scored a healthy 187 runs and picked up eight wickets. Being the underdogs, Taylor dwelt on following the Australian method in trying to cause an upset. “What I really like about the Aussies is that they are fearless in everything that they do. We are trying to instil that and we would try to be there and play your natural game,” Taylor said.

Lanning, Schutt key players

Australia, which lost to New Zealand in the league stage, rebounded well after the initial setback and showed its character in the five-run win over England in the other semifinal. Led by one of the most potent batters of the world, Meg Lanning, Australia will be looking to take its winning form to an effective conclusion. Medium-pacer Megan Schutt, who also played a prominent role in Australia’s win against England, is another key name in the Aussie line-up.

“I don’t think anything of the past will count tomorrow. The team that settles the quickest and gets into the rhythm will probably start off the best… I have always said we are not here to defend the title, we are here to win the 2016 event,” Lanning said.

“The hunger in this side is as high and good as it has ever been. We cannot wait to get in there and play a tough game against the West Indies,” she added.

Teams (from):

Australia: Meg Lanning (capt.), Kristen Beams, Alex Blackwell, Nicola Carey, Lauren Cheatle, Sarah Coyte, Rene Farrell, Holly Ferling, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Beth Mooney, Erin Osborne, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani. Coach - Matthew Mott

West Indies: Stafanie Taylor (capt.), Merissa Aguilleira, Shemaine Campbelle, Shamilia Connell, Britney Cooper, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Stacy-Ann King, Kyshona Knight, Kycia Knight, Hayley Matthews, Anisa Mohammed, Shaquana Quintyne, Shakera Selman, Tremayne Smartt. Coach - Vasbert Drakes.