Kolkata, April 2 (IANS) A confident looking West Indies will need to be at the top of their game if they are to outdo three-time defending champions Australia in the final of the Women’s World Twenty 20 at the Eden Gardens here on Sunday.
The Australian team, popularly known as the Southern Stars, have been unstoppable since their inaugural win in 2010. On their road to the final, Australia escaped a scare from arch-rivals England and managed a five-run victory in the semi-finals.
Their captain Meg Lanning has been their leading run-scorer in the competition with 149 runs. She played a crucial role in the semis with a 50-ball 55 to take Australia to a competitive total of 132/6.
What was impressive for Australia was the fact that other players chipped in too. They were provided a strong start from the openers as Alyssa Healy and Elyse Villani knit a brisk 41-run partnership.
“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 had told the media here.
“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.”
The wicket at the Eden Gardens is likely to spin, and, therefore, leg-spinner Kristen Beams will look to be at the top of her game here along with left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen. The duo can easily have the West Indies under pressure if the wicket does offer purchase.
Megan Schutt and Rene Farrell with their slower deliveries may also be a handful in such conditions.
West Indies, on the other hand, have nothing to lose. This is their first time in the final and they are going into it a confident side.
“We are very excited. It is our first final. So we need to stay focused and be calm. We will have to go out there and fight it out,” West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor said at the pre-match media conference.
Taylor with 187 runs from five matches has been the consistent performer for the Windies and her side will again look up to her to deliver in the finals.
Deandra Dottin, Healey Matthews, and Shaquana Quintyne have also come good in the ongoing tournament and skipper Taylor will hope the team plays to their potential and delivers against the inform Australians.