The stage is set for the Women's World T20 final as India and Australia will face each other on March 8 to claim the coveted trophy. Australia, who are the defending champions, were the true favourites before the tournament started, but the tide has shifted a little bit into India's direction with their dominant show in the tournament.
India entered the final of the tournament after the semifinal against England was washed out on Thursday in Sydney. Meanwhile, Australia proved their supremacy over South Africa to enter the business end of the tournament with a 5-run win (via DLS).
The tournament has come to his full circle as it is ending with the match which opened it i.e India vs Australia. In the opening clash, India emerged victorious over Australia on February 21. Despite putting up a moderate total of 132 on the scoreboard after being asked to bat, Indian bowlers were at the top of the game. Poonam Yadav spun a web around Aussie batswomen and scalped 4 wickets to guide her team to a 17-run victory.
Australia have been a dominant side when it comes down to World T20 as they won the title four times out of five. On the other hand, Team India entered the ICC women's tournament as the underdogs and this time within the David vs Goliath battle, the Women in Blue are ready to give their all.
Players to watch out from India and Australia
Shafali Verma (India)
The rockstar of India's women team - Shafali Verma has turned out to be one of the most explosive batswomen in the tournament. Throughout the tournament, she has been the center of India's batting line-up. Shafali has hit the most number of sixes in the tournament - 9 and scored 161 runs in 4 games at an average of 40.25. She might not be on the top of highest run-scorer of the tournament but the way her attacking mindset in the powerplay overs gave a boost to Team India is commendable. Her rise in the tournament also helped the young talented batswoman in latest ICC Rankings. Shafali became the second Indian player to achieve 1st rank in ICC Women T20 Rankings of batswoman.
Australia's strike bowler Megan Schutt has also heaped praises on Shafali and his opening partner Smriti Mandhan. She said the two opening batswomen have got her covered.
"I just hate playing India -- they've got the wood on me. Smriti and Verma have got me covered. That six in the tri-series was probably the biggest one I've ever been hit for," she said.
Alyssa Healey (Australia)
In the absence of Ellyse Perry who is ruled out of the tournament due to injury, the responsibility on star player Alyssa Healey shoulders will double-up. Healey is an attacking opening batswoman, who can change the turn the game in her team's favour in few overs. She has scored 161 runs in 4 matches at a strike rate of 143.75. Healey alongside her opening partner Beth Mooney, who is also in a brilliant touch, is one of the most deadly pairs in world cricket. Healey and Mooney batting approach is quite contrasting in nature, which makes the opening duo even more balanced and lethal.
Healey has scored two fifties in the tournament and one of which came against India in the opening game. Australia batting line-up is top-heavy in Perry's absence and Healey needs to give them a good start if they want to put pressure on India.