Both captains banking on off-spinners to deliver in the summit clash
Confident West Indies will take on the five-time winner Australia in the ICC women’s World Cup final here on Sunday.
The growing belief in the Caribbean camp about the power of team work has earned the rival’s attention. At the same time, there is a sliver of doubt in the Aussie approach whether the West Indies bowling is better than it looks, going by its spirited defence of 164 in the Super Six, when the last time these two sides clashed before the final.
The 2013 World Cup final ceased to be a contest between a qualifier and the favourite in the wake of West Indies’ eight-run victory at the MIG. The less fancied team stepped up its game that day to book a first-time final place in the World Cup.
Australia slipped a bit to lose from a winning position even when a final berth was already reserved.
Australia is a seven-time World Cup finalist (runner-up in 1973 and 2000; winner in 1978, 1982, 1988, 1997, 2005) in the 50-over format.
The West Indies women, whose previous best is fifth in 2009, will enter a new territory. They take pride in their batswomen’s clean hitting to dominate the bowlers.
Deandra Dottin and Stafanie Taylor have asserted their class in different formats. Now the bowling has put on a cloak of confidence after becoming the first and only team in 2013 WC to defend a total against the awesome Aussies.
The West Indies started the last two games with spinner Shanel Daley delivering her slow turners from the second over. Tremayne Smart’s bounce, off-spinners Taylor and Anisa Mohammed’s restrictive line and Dottin’s consistency in tying down strokeplayers give the attack some teeth.
Australia’s batting line-up had not been tested in the league and Super Six phase, until it ran into the West Indies on a turner at MIG.
With the likes of Rachael Haynes, Meghann Lanning, Jessica Cameron, Alexandra Blackwell, Jodie Fields in the ranks, the squad has experienced batters capable of adapting to match conditions.
In cracking form
For Australia, any total is within its range whenever the opening left-right pair of Haynes and Lanning scores runs freely. Both were in cracking form against Sri Lanka at the Brabourne, where the pace off the track helped the batters hitting the balls on the rise.
Dottin displayed her superb batting form in the Super Six win at MIG. Stafanie is a big-match player and the final gives her an opportunity to deliver her explosive best. The common link between both the teams is the dependence on off-spinners for breakthroughs.
Stafanie teams up with Anisa in the Caribbean attack and the Aussies’ aces are off-break bowlers Lisa Sthalekar and Erin Osborne.
The West Indies captain Merissa Aguilleira has rated the Brabourne wicket as fast and the Aussie skipper Fields felt the track would be a sporting one, so runs are there for the asking.