by Pulasta Dhar Feb 16, 2013 15:59 IST
Played six, won five, lost one.
That is how the Australian women's cricket team has fared so far in the ICC Women's World Cup 2013. Apart from that thrilling two-run win over England, the rest of their wins have been pretty easy for them. The horrific collapse they suffered against the West Indies in their last Super Six match was the huge surprise.
But one defeat doesn't take away the fact that they are favourites to win the World Cup. They have a team made of quality players and skipper Jodie Fields oozes confidence. The fielding she sets is not attacking — it's ultra-attacking and it has worked so far.
Australia's wins have also come in the wake of good run-chases or with exceptional bowling. Until they ran into the Windies in their last Super 6 game, all three aspects of their game were humming along.
The West Indies on the other hand, have had a patchy World Cup, dominating some sides while withering against others. Their team is organised around a common fighting spirit and a couple of strong individual players. They have won four games, while losing two — but the margins of these two games was huge.
Skipper Merissa Aguilleira said after their previous game: "It's time to show our A-game on Sunday."
Australia: Australia may have won their first give games in the tournament but their loss in a match which seemed won, and one which they were playing without pressure, will rankle. Maybe they suffered from over-confidence, but the dressing room will be itching to set things straight with a win in the final.
West Indies: They will be buoyed by their win over Australia but they lean heavily on two or three individuals. Despite skipper Merissa Aguilleira constantly chatting up the 'team-spirit' in their dressing room, they seem vulnerable as a unit.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Australia: Rachel Haynes and Meg Lanning are in great form. The former has amassed 221 runs at an average of 44.20. The latter has 195 run sat a strike-rate of 85.52. When she gets going, it's hard to stop her. In all, six of Australia’s players have scored more than 80 runs in the tournament.
As for bowling, the emergence of Erin Osbourne in the last two games could be very important. Her figures in the last two matches: 3/9 and 2/16 are shamelessly miserly. But Megan Schutt (13 wickets) and Holly Ferling (nine wickets) are the real dangers — excellent with the new ball when bowling first.
West Indies: Stefanie Taylor and Deandra Dottin are the mainstays of the batting line-up. Both have a reputation of hitting big shots and are capable of changing a game. Taylor has already made a huge hundred (171 vs SL) and the Windies will hope she can repeat that performance.
Dottin is the top wicket-taker for them (nine wickets) in a team which has struggled to take wickets, the game against Australia aside. Shanel Daley and Tremayne Smartt, thankfully for the team, clicked last time out and must do better than usual to ensure they don't get hammered.
WHAT THE CAPTAINS SAID
Merissa Aguilleira: "After the loss to England, we picked ourselves up... we motivated each other to do well. The future of West Indies women's cricket is bright and can get better, especially after playing tomorrow in the finals. It's a big occasion for the people of the Caribbean for the women's team to reach the finals.
“For tomorrow, we'll go out and have fun and do well as a team. We have psychological advantage too. The more we see Australia play, there's more to analyse. Overall, it will be good opportunity to accomplish something big tomorrow."
Jodie Fields: "We're still the favourites, but we'll have to play well to beat West Indies. We've been at a World Cup final before and we're looking forward to playing here. They may have the psychological advantage after winning last time out and credit to them for making it here. Deandra Dottin has done really well for them and is very competitive but we'll focus on what we do well.
“We're keen to avoid what happened in 2009 and have had some words of encouragement from Michael Clarke and hopefully both teams (even the men's team who are in India) will go back home happy."
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