Women's T20 WC India v Australia Final Preview: Packed MCG, good weather awaits Kaur's spinners and Lanning's all-rounders
A full house at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, interest of the global sporting community, abundance of slow spinners and all-rounders aplenty. What more can you ask for from a final?
Venue - Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
Start time - 07:00 AM GMT | 06:00 PM LOCAL
Head to Head record in T20Is - Australia: 13 India: 6 No result: 0
Weather - Partly cloudy, 19°C, Precipitation: 20%, Humidity: 71%, Wind: 18 km/h
A world record on the cards
More than 75,00 tickets of the ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020 final scheduled to be held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on International Women’s Day (March 8) have already been sold as of March 6. The organisers are hopeful that the final will break the record for the highest turnout at a women’s sporting match — currently held by the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, which hosted 90,185 people for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final between USA and China in 1999.
Whether that happens or not, the fact that we are in a situation to have a realistic chance at that says something about the efforts of the organisers, the fans, and most importantly the players. For once, we can resist bashing the administrators and applaud the success that has been the World Cup.
One out of Australia and India will end their campaign with wide grins, the other with tears. One out of Meg Lanning and Harmanpreet Kaur will hold the trophy aloft at the MCG and the other will be inconsolable in a corner far away.
Be that as it may, cricket - and women's cricket - will be the winner, to borrow a cliche.
Australia have all the ingredients, but can they make the recipe?
Coming to the specifics, the odds are stacked in favour of Australia. Their performance graph has been on an incline after the scare in the opening picture against India. Despite the unavailability of Tayla Vlaeminck and Sophie Molineux most through the tournament, the team has done a great job.
The form of Alyssa Healy, Beth Mooney and Meg Lanning is certainly a great sign for the hosts. If Jess Jonassen and Megan Schutt can back it up with the ball, it would be very tough for India to combat that.
But, funny things happen in cricket. And, this is the grande finale after all. Spectators, media, pressure. This pressure, you see, it makes you do funny things.
Can the Indian big guns fire?
For India, experienced campaigners Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana will expect to finally join the party, when it will matter the most. Apart from Shafali Verma at the top who has been sensational, Deepti Sharma and Jemimah Rodrigues have provided solidity and nothing different will be expected from them.
However, for the Indian batting unit to have a real impact, Veda Krishnamurthy needs to fire in the lower middle order. If she can add those extra 15-20 quick runs towards the end, it will be the deal breaker.
With the ball, spit it to win it, has been India's mantra throughout the tournament and that's what they will proceed with. Will spin click at the MCG? Well, only Poonam Yadav can tell.
Harmanpreet Kaur - It means a lot for us because it's our first final. As a team, we just want to go out there and play our best cricket. I feel that if we can play our best cricket, we will have a strong chance. We aren't thinking about whom we want to face and just focusing on our game. We're (Mandhana and her) looking positive in the nets, and looking to give our best. Unfortunately, both of us couldn't produce the results but it's good to see others stepping up.
Meg Lanning - India are a class side, they have been playing excellent cricket. We are going to have to play really well. We have been improving each day, it hasn't been an easy road. We wanted to give ourselves a chance of playing in the finals, and now we just need to enjoy ourselves. We are travelling to Melbourne [on Friday], train on Saturday and play on Sunday. I doubt there'd be much sleep happening [today].
Here's a look at the probable playing XI of both teams:
Australia- Alyssa Healy (wk), Beth Mooney, Meg Lanning (c), Ashleigh Gardner, Jess Jonassen, Rachael Haynes, Nicola Carey, Sophie Molineux, Georgia Wareham, Delissa Kimmince, Megan Schutt
India - Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana, Shikha Pandey, Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Veda Krishnamurthy, Deepti Sharma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Radha Yadav, Shafali Verma
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