Australian eves counter Windies might in way of fourth title


Kolkata, April 2: A spirited West Indies women’s team, in their bid to make it a ‘Dream Double’ for the assortment of islands, will come out all guns blazing to stop the juggernaut of the three-time defending champions Australia in the final of the ICC World Twenty20, here on Sunday.

The Southern Stars as the Aussie women team are known in the cricketing circuit, have been on a roll since winning the second edition of the Women’s World Twenty20 in 2010. The Meg Lanning led Australian women’s side choked arch-rivals England’s 133-run chase with a five-run victory in the semifinal. Lanning has been their leading run-getter with 149 runs and against England her 50-ball 55 on a slow Kotla deck was the cornerstone to their winning total of 132/6.

More than Lanning’s effort it was inspiring with the way Australia prevailed in small contributions from the top order to inflict their killer instinct on England. They were provided a strong start from the openers Alyssa Healy and Elyse Villani with a 41-run stand, their highest of the tournament.

Under criticism for over dependence on Lanning, Alyssa took the attack to the English pace spearhead Katherine Brunt, that really set the tone as they could muster a fine Power play performance. “We’ve been pleased with our squad of 15 and our overall performance. I disagree that we relied heavily on one player. We’ve chased low totals. We’ve really benefited from the way Elyse Villani has kicked into gears and taken the  game away in the opening overs,” Australian vice-captain Alex Blackwell said.

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“You can’t ignore the impact of someone like Alyssa Healy and the way she took on Katherine… Small contributions can really be of high impact. Obviously Meg Lanning has been a real rock for us throughout. We’ve got plenty of players around. Ellyse Perry has been instrumental in our batting order in the recent years.” In the spin-friendly and slow conditions of Eden Gardens their leg-break bowler Kristen Beams will look to make a potent force with left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen.

Megan Schutt and Rene Farrell with their change of pace and the accuracy will be key to their pace bowling as they aim to win an unprecedented fourth successive title. From their perspective, the Southern Stars will hope that Blackwell return to form and display her array of strokes which may prove to be the difference.

The West Indies women on the other hand living a dream after Britney Cooper’s maiden T20I half-century enabled them progress to their first ever final as they would look to win the silverware to inspire Darren Sammy and Co later in the day as they will be eyeing for a double in the World Twenty20.


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