Pad up with cricket tips for the Women’s T20 World Cup final between India and Australia at the MCG.
18:00 (AEDT), Sun 8th Mar @ Melbourne Cricket Ground
Last meeting: February 21, 2020: India d Australia by 17 runs at Spotless Stadium
Final Thoughts: After an incredibly nervous passage through the semi-finals, Australia lines up against undefeated India in the 2020 Women’s T20 World Cup final.
Host nation Australia had already survived a nail-biting, must-win group stage clash with New Zealand, prevailing by four runs.
They lost superstar all-rounder to injury, but the weather was a bigger hurdle in their semi-final showdown with South Africa. A washout would have seen Australia knocked out of the tournament but they were saved in the nick of time.
Australia scored 5/134 from their 20 overs with captain Meg Lanning (49* off 49) holding the innings together. South Africa were set a revised target of 98 off 13 overs but fell five runs short. Megan Schutt (2/17) and Delissa Kimmince (1/16) came up big for the Aussies.
India won all four group matches, before progressing to the final after their semi against semi was washed out. Shafali Verma has been their standout batter with 161 runs at 40.25.
Poonam Yadav is the equal top wicket-taker at the tournament (9).
Australia’s dominant force status under threat
Defending champs Australia have won four of the five Women’s T20 World Cups since 2010 and were the beaten finalists in the other. India reached the semis in 2018 for the first time in eight years; this is their first final.
These sides are well-acquainted with each other, having competed in a T20 Tri-Nations series along with England last month. Australia and India split their round-robin encounters one win apiece. They both progressed to the final, where Australia got up by 11 runs. Player of the Tournament Beth Mooney (71* off 54) spearheaded Australia’s solid total of 6/155. Smriti Mandhana’s 66 off 37 gave India a sniff, before Jess Jonassen’s sensational 5/12 swung the decider.
India turned the tables in the T20 World Cup opener, however. Deepti Sharma (49* off 46) top-scored as the underdogs posted a competitive 4/132. Alyssa Healy (51 off 35) and Ash Gardner (34 off 36) gave Australia’s chase a fighting chance, but no other batter managed more than 6. Player of the Match Poonam Yadav finished with 4/19 as Australia crumbled to 115 all out.
Mooney and Healy both have two half-centuries at this World Cup and are among the tournament’s top five run-scorers. A strong start at the top of the order is crucial for Australia, who are pronounced $1.54 favourites.
Ultimately, Australia’s big-game experience should get them over the line against the first-time finalists. And as far as big-game players go in women’s cricket, they don’t come much bigger than Healy.