On Sunday, the whole world will celebrate International Women’s Day, but cricket fans will be eager to witness — the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 final, between the number one, ranked team and hosts Australia, and the most cricket crazy country across the globe, India.
The irony is that, just a few weeks ago, these two teams kick-started the World Cup in the inaugural match and after 22 matches, they are set to take to the field at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on 8th March – to play the grand finale.
India beat Australia in the first game and then cruised through their group, then got a direct entry into the final after rain washed out their semifinal against England, as Harmanpreet Kaur’s side had a better qualifying position.
The hosts meanwhile after going down in the first game, have more or less played four consecutive knockout matches. It’s safe to say that Australia hasn’t dominated in their home World Cup, but have shown grit and determination to come so far.
A clash of the titans in ICC Women’s T20 World Cup – India vs Australia
Meg Lanning’s team being the host nation will be favourites for the title, but India are no pushovers as well, they were dominant in the group stage and they’ve got momentum within their side. However, there’s pressure too.
The Indian team has never reached a World Cup final ever before, let alone play in one.
Moreover, the Australian team has played two matches in the last one week, and India’s semifinal was washed out meaning they could possibly lack some sharpness come Sunday.
Harmanpreet’s side will vary of Australia’s threat, who will like to retain their title, having won it in 2018 as well.
While India comes into the final following a remarkable show in the group stage fixtures, they can really give hosts tough time in Melbourne, although matches between these two sides have been so keenly contested that the final can tilt in any team’s favour.
Date and Venue: March 8th, 2020, 12:30 PM, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
Australia vs India – Playing Combination
For Australia, Jess Jonassen will be key as she will burden the role of their marquee bowler since Ellyse Perry nursed hamstring injury.
Jonassen did just that against South Africa in the second semifinal, and in India, she knows what she will walk into having scalped five wickets in quick succession against the Indian ladies in the final of the triangular series, which Australia won narrowly.
Skipper Meg Lanning herself will have to play a crucial role in the final as the hosts’ middle order has looked increasingly shaky, most recently against South Africa as well.
Australia’s Predicted Playing XI:
Beth Mooney, Alyssa Healy (wk), Meg Lanning (capt), Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Jess Jonassen, Nicola Carey, Delissa Kimmince, Georgia Wareham, Sophie Molineux, Megan Schutt.
Harmanpreet’s side has been boosted invariably the blistering starts of Shafali Verma, who has been the revelation of the tournament. She recently became the No. 1 T20 batsman, and aged just 16, Shafali has a promising career ahead.
Before that though, she will be key to her side’s title credentials on Sunday and will be tasked to provide India with yet another platform – to build their innings.
In the bowling department, Poonam Yadav will look to neutralize the threat of Lanning, who is a knight in shining armour for Australia.
India’s Playing XI:
Shafali Verma, Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur (capt), Deepti Sharma, Veda Krishnamurthy, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Shikha Pandey, Radha Yadav, Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad.
Australia Women vs India Women – Match Prediction
The hosts will be firm favourites to clinch yet another World Cup in their backyard, but India, who have been extremely impressive throughout this campaign will not make it easy for Australia.
The match will be decided on individual battles between bowlers and batswomen from both teams but considering that Australia have prior experience of playing and more importantly winning World Cups, it could be handy for the home side.