No team has a better World Cup pedigree than Australia. Winners in 1978, 1982, 1988, 1997 and 2005, they also reached the final in 1973 and 2000.
Once again, in 2013, they are up there as one of the favourites, underlining that tag with a series win over New Zealand and thumping wins over the West Indies and India in their warm-up matches.
If you are superstitious and believe in patterns repeating themself, then Australia are the team to follow. They have won both previous tournaments to be held in India and two of their previous victories came following tournaments that England had won.
Australia’s finest dominate lists of World Cup records – from Belinda Clark scoring 229 against Denmark in 1997 to Lyn Fullston’s 39 career wickets and Karen Rolton’s career average of 74.92.
Aiming to bounce back from the disappointment of not even making the final on home soil in 2009, wicket-keeper Jodie Fields leads the side back to India, where they comfortably won a three-match ODI series in 2012.
Since then, they have retained their ICC World Twenty20 crown in neighbouring Sri Lanka and have both the players and the game to prosper in Indian conditions.
They have an abundance of batting talent. Meg Lanning goes into the tournament on the back of a string of high scores and is backed up by Jess Cameron, Rachael Haynes, Ellyse Villani, Sthalekar, Alex Blackwell, Alyssa Healy and Fields herself.
Spinner Jess Jonassen was ruled out at a late stage but the experienced Renee Chappell has quickly found her feet at international level in an attack led by one of women’s cricket’s brightest stars, Ellyse Perry. Perhaps the relative inexperience of Megan Schutt, Holly Ferling, Sarah Coyte and Chappell is Australia’s only weakness.
Even that is offset by Perry’s knack of delivering when it really matters and the presence in the squad of two players who have bags of experience in Julie Hunter and Sthalekar, for whom this is her third World Cup.
It may be stating the obvious, but it would be a huge upset if Australia were not to finish in the top four and something of a surprise if they don’t make it through to the final.
2012-13 Form (most recent match first):WWWLWWWWAA
19th December 2012: beat New Zealand by seven runs in Sydney
17th December: beat New Zealand by nine wickets in Sydney
14th December: beat New Zealand by four wickets in Sydney
12th December: lost to New Zealand by eight wickets in Sydney
16th March: beat India by five wickets in Mumbai
14th March: beat India by 221 runs in Mumbai
12th March: beat India by 30 runs in Ahmedabad
29th January: beat New Zealanad by nine wickets in Sydney
27th January: No result against New Zealand in Sydney
25th January: No result against New Zealand in Sydney
Previous Tournament Performances
1973: Runners-up to England, losing the final by 92 runs
1978: Champions, beating England by eight wickets in the final
1982: Champions, beating England by three wickets in the final
1988: Champions, beating England by three wickets in the final to complete an unprecedented hat-trick
1993: Third place - their first non-appearance in the final
1997: Champions, beating New Zealand by five wickets in the final
2000: Runners-up, losing to New Zealand by four runs in the final
2005: Champions, beating India by 98 runs in the final
2009: Fourth place, losing to india in the positional play-off at home
1st February v Pakistan in Cuttack
3rd February v South Africa in Cuttack
5th February v New Zealand in Cuttack
Jodie Fields (captain), Alex Blackwell (vice-captain), Jess Cameron, Renee Chappell, Sarah Coyte, Holly Ferling, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Julie Hunter, Meg Lanning, Erin Osborne, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Lisa Sthalekar, Elyse Villani
© Cricket World 2013
Open an account with bet365 today and qualify for up to £200 in free bets with our fantastic 100% Deposit Bonus.