A rivalry that dates back as far as cricket itself will unfold once more as Australia and England clash in the final of the renamed Women’s T20 World Cup at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua tonight.
Both teams have won the tournament, Australia three times and England once. Head to head they’ve played each other 31 times in the format with England having the upper hand with 17 wins and as such, their captain, Heather Knight suggests it will be a close contest once again.
“You can’t really ignore the old rivalry, probably the two best teams in the world historically over the last two years and we had some amazing games of cricket recently with the Ashes series and T20 series which we won 2-1 so all history suggests it’s going to be a really tight game and another brilliant game of women’s cricket.” Knight said
The current 50 overs champion will want to replicate their 2009 feat where they completed the double, however, according to Knight the journey has not been smooth so far.
“Hopefully tomorrow’s final isn’t as close as the last one, we’ve not had the smoothest ride but we are here and (it would be) special if we could be double white ball champions”, the England captain said.
Similarly, Australia’s skipper, Meg Lanning expressed her happiness at being in the final once more, particularly coming up against England. Lanning’s team ousted the home crowd team, the West Indies in the semifinals.
“We are really excited ahead of the finals, we feel like we played well last night [ Thursday], we came to play off in this finals and we have given ourselves the opportunity to win and coming up against England is always going to be a great game and extremely tough,” Lanning said.
Australia have been to the finals four times, only losing to West Indies in 2016 while England have been there three times, losing twice to Australia in 2012 and 2014 but defeating New Zealand in the first edition.
Lanning stated that the familiarity between the two sides has an advantage and a disadvantage since both teams know the players so well but with the youngsters in the Aussie side, that can prove to be a slight advantage for the girls in yellow.
The Australian debunked any thoughts of her side being dependent on Alyssa Healy who has so far won the player of the match in four of their five matches, equating to a win every time she bats.
Lanning said that her side is well-rounded and any player can step up at any time but
it was just about keeping to the basics and who can remain disciplined longer than the opposition.
Knight said there was no way to single out one threat in the side.
Both teams have shown dominance with Healy being the leading run getter and the only player to 200 runs, with her opening partner Beth Mooney also showing consistency.
However, Amy Jones has been England’s highest scorer with 103, 53 of which came in the semifinals. With the ball, Ellyse Perry is second on the table with eight wickets, needing one more to reach 100 wickets in the format. Megan Schutt also has eight wickets along with Kristie Gordon from England while her teammate, Anya Shrubsole has seven along with Australia’s Delissa Kimmince and Ashleigh Gardner.
The spinners have dominated but according to a source at the venue, the change of wicket is expected to favour seam a bit more as both captains took notice of the dew factor with the match beginning at 8 pm.