Having clinched a thrilling five-run win over South Africa in a rain-hit semi-final of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020, Australia set up a date with India, who had earlier progressed to the final by virtue of topping their group’s points table as their last-four clash against England was washed out.
India announced themselves as a force to be reckoned with after a 17-run victory over defending champions and favourites Australia in the lung opener. The Women in Blue continued their fine run with wins over Bangladesh (by 18 runs), New Zealand (by 4 runs) and Sri Lanka (by seven wickets). They were also the first team to book a semi-final berth with four wins on the trot.
Four-time champions Australia, on the other hand, suffered their only loss against India. There was no looking back from then onwards and the hosts went on to defeat Sri Lanka (by five wickets), Bangladesh (by 86 runs), New Zealand (by four runs) and South Africa (by five runs by virtue of the D/L method).
So far, the standout performers for India have been Poonam Yadav and Shafali Verma. Teenage sensation Verma is placed fourth on the leading run getter’s list with 161 runs from four outings while leggie Poonam Yadav has spun a web around the batters and is the joint leading wicket-taker (alongside Australia’s Megan Schutt) with nine wickets.
Meanwhile, Beth Mooney, the third-highest run-getter in the tournament with 181 runs from five games, has been prolific for the Aussies, and so has seamer Megan Schutt.
Prior to this summit clash, the hosts have squared off against their Indian counterparts in four editions of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup (2010, 2012, 2018 and 2020) and the tally stands even at 2-2.
Given India’s sensational unbeaten run and their win in the lung opener, Australia will have their task cut out and look to bring their A game as the Indians have looked a class apart in the tournament.
Before India play their maiden final against Australia on Sunday, we take a look at all their previous clashes in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup and the standout performers from those:
2010 Women’s T20 World Cup
The two sides first clashed in the semi-final of the 2010 edition, wherein Australia registered a seven-wicket win over India.
After winning the toss and opting to bat first, India women posted 119/5 on the board with major contributions from Punam Raut (44) and Harmanpreet Kaur (24). All Aussie bowlers were economical on the day but Ellyse Perry, Lisa Sthalekar and Rene Farrell finished with a wicket each.
Australia lost both their openers early, but it was their skipper Alex Blackwell who came to their rescue with a 49-ball 61, a knock studded with eight boundaries. After Blackwell’s departure, Leah Poulton (30 not out) took the side home. Priyanka Roy and Jhulan Goswami finished with two wickets and a wicket respectively, but in tandem, Indian bowlers did not give the Aussie batters any major headaches.
Blackwell, the lone half-centurion in the contest, bagged the Player of the Match award for leading Australia into the final, which they eventually won against New Zealand.
2012 Women’s T20 World Cup
Australia women thrashed India women by eight wickets in their Group A clash of the 2012 T20 World Cup.
After winning the toss and opting to bat, India could only post 104/8 on the board. Punam Raut (21), skipper Mithali Raj (18) and Harmanpreet Kaur (18) got good starts but failed to capitalise on them. Off-spinner Erin Osborne and seamer Julie Hunter were the chief architects of India’s downfall and picked up three and two wickets respectively.
A below-par target of 105 never looked like an uphill task for the Aussies, who chased it down with eight wickets in hand. After opener Meg Lanning’s (39) dismissal, it was No 3 batter Jess Duffin (36) who comfortably steered the side towards victory. Early wickets was what India needed but Australia looked in complete control right from the word go.
Apart from scalping three wickets, Osborne also boasted of an economy rate of 4.33, thus bagging the Player of the Match award.
2018 Women’s T20 World Cup
India women beat Australia women by 48 runs in their Group B match in the 2018 edition of the T20 World Cup.
Winning the toss, India elected to bat first. The clash saw India post a competitive target of 168 before Australia, courtesy left-handed opener Smriti Mandhana, who top-scored with a 55-ball 83, a knock studded with nine fours and three maximums. Mandhana was later adjudged the Player of the Match for her heroics with the bat.
Besides, skipper Harmanpreet Kaur too chipped in with a quick-fire 27-ball 43. Ellyse Perry was the pick of the Aussie bowlers and picked up three wickets with an economy rate of 5.33.
In reply, Australia were bundled out for 119, thanks to a fine performance from the Indian bowlers. Even in the batting department, Perry (39 not out) tried her best to take the Aussies home but could not stop wickets from falling at the other end.
Barring Arundhati Reddy and Harmanpreet Kaur, all the bowlers came to the party, picking up one wicket at least. Anuja Patil led the bowling attack with three wickets and an economy rate of 4.09.
2020 Women’s T20 World Cup
In the most recent of the two clashes between the two sides, it was India who got the better of hosts Australia by a margin of 17 runs.
Winning the toss, Australia elected to field first. Playing her first T20 World Cup, teenage sensation Shafali Verma struck five fours and a maximum during her quick-fire 29-run knock, thus getting India off to a flying start. Jemimah Rodrigues (26) too chipped in with a patient knock but it was Veda Krishnamurthy who provided (49 not out) who provided India the flourish they needed. Jess Jonassen picked up two crucial wickets and led the Australian bowling attack.
In reply, Alyssa Healy’s 35-ball half-century set the foundation for Australia but post her departure, wickets kept tumbling in quick succession. Ashleigh Gardner (34) was the only one who put up a fight while the remaining batting line-up failed to make any sort of impact.
For the Indians, it was leggie Poonam Yadav who bamboozled the batters, finishing with a match-winning spell of 4-0-19-4. Later, she also bagged the Player of the Match award. Yadav was ably supported by senior seamer Shikha Pandey, who chipped in with three wickets.
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