New Delhi: Unbeaten in the group stage, England will be hoping to get third time lucky against Australia when the two teams renew their famous rivalry in the first semifinal of the ICC Women's World Twenty 20 in New Delhi on Wednesday.
The familiar foes are used to playing each other in the finals of an ICC event but Australia finishing second behind the ominous looking New Zealand meant they run into England in the semis for the first time since the inaugural edition in 2009, when the English emerged on top.
The players are used to playing each other and the familiarity has only increased with the England cricketers' participation in the Women's Big Bash League. It is set to increase with Australians likely to take part in the ECB backed Women's Super League to be held in the English summer.
England captain Charlotte Edwards and Australian counterpart Meg Lanning were reluctant to wear the favourites tag on the eve of the high pressure match. Australia have a bit of an advantage going into tomorrow's game, having played their last two matches at the Feroz Shah Kotla.
Another thing on the mind of the English will be their loss to Australia in the last two World T20 finals. Overall, England won the inaugural title in 2009 before Australia stamped their authority in the format with a hat-trick of titles from 2010 to 2014.
Edwards, who herself has been in good form at the top of the order, is confident that her team will end Australia's winning streak in the title clash.
"We have been in the finals the last two times. Lets hope its third time lucky for us. The good thing is that we have not put not too much pressure on ourselves this time. It is a great rivalry, both teams know a lot about each other so there will be no secrets out tomorrow," said Edwards.
Manning too played down the favourites tag before saying her team team will be aggressive from the word go.
"I am not sure about if we are favourites. England were unbeaten and we finished second in our group. It is always close in the World Cups. We usual play each other in the final but this time we meet in the semis. The rivalry has been built up for a long time and I am pretty it will be a close game," said Lanning.
Australia's top order has been doing the job for the team and captain wants the trend to continue.
They, however, will be wary of in-form England openers Edwards and Tammy Beaumont. The England captain has been the team's leading scorer with 171 runs from four games at an average of 57.
Lanning too has led from the front, with 94 crucial runs including a 56 not out against Sri Lanka.
Both captains were a bit critical on the nature of wickets in the tournament, with most being on the slower side.
"We did not play that well in the group stage (despite winning the group). The wickets have not been conducive to strokeplay for women's cricket. We might have a similar pitch tomorrow," said Edwards.
Lanning said the top-order will hold the key for both sides.
"Top order runs will be key for both sides. The pitches has been indifferent around the country. No doubt we are going to aggressive. There is a fair bit of banter that goes on with the players. The Women's Big Bash has added another dimension to the rivalry. We are really looking forward to taking them on," said the skipper.
Asked more the on pitches used in the tournament, Lanning added: "Last couple of games we have played good cricket. It has been low scoring affairs but both scenarios can get you good games. We have seen that in men's and women's competition. All we really want is a contest. Hopefully it is the same tomorrow".
England: Charlotte Edwards (captain), Katherine Brunt, Tash Farrant, Rebecca Grundy, Amy Jones, Laura Marsh, Anya Shrubsole, Danielle Wyatt, Tammy Beaumont, Georgia Elwiss, Lydia Greenway, Jenny Gunn, Heather Knight, Natalie Sciver, Sarah Taylor.
Australia: Meg Lanning (captain), Alex Blackwell, Kristen Beams, Lauren Cheatle, Rene Farrell, Alyssa Healy, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Elyse Villani, Nicola Carey, Sarah Coyte, Holly Ferling, Jess Jonassen, Erin Osborne, Megan Schutt.
Firstpost is now on WhatsApp. For the latest analysis, commentary and news updates, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Firstpost.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.
Updated Date: Mar 30, 2016 13:30:07 IST