On Sunday evening in Antigua, England will go toe-to-toe with Australia for the Women’s T20 World Cup. It is familiar territory for both teams; Australia can claim an unmatched three titles from the tournament’s history, with England’s sole victory coming in the inaugural 2009 edition. Appearing in the final twice since, England have finished runners up in 2014 and 2016, both times losing to Australia. It seems there are scores to settle. Here are our key battles in Sunday’s T20 World Cup final.
England top order v Australian opening bowlers
England’s top order has found things tough in the West Indies, and not one player has been able to score consistent runs to this point. The semi-final against India saw Amy Jones and Natalie Sciver kick into gear, each making 50 out of the three and four batting spots respectively. Openers Dani Wyatt and Tammy Beaumont have struggled to lay strong foundations at the start of an innings, and Australia are likely to choose economical bowlers to attempt to frustrate the pair.
England's hard-hitting tail v Australia's bowling attack
Further down the order, Australia will need to finish England off when they get the chance. In England’s group stage defeat to the West Indies, a floundering innings at 50-6 was salvaged by Anya Shrubsole and Sophia Dunkley, who took the game to the Windies and added a swift 64. Capable of clearing the boundary, Australia can’t give England a chance to add valuable runs to the score, should they be reduced to their more inexperienced batters.
Alyssa Healy v everything England can throw at her
Opener Alyssa Healy will be top of England’s hit-list. Despite struggling with injury, Healy has been destructive when she has come to the crease in this tournament. The 28-year-old will be a threat to put a score on the board at the start of the match, or keeping the tempo high in a run chase. Stem the run flow at the top of the innings, and Healy may play her way into a mistake. England can but pray.
Rachael Haynes v Anya Shrubsole
Rachael Haynes is a lethal number six. Able to score runs terrifyingly quickly, an advantageous position in the match can be turned around in a handful of deliveries by the Victoria star. A flash of the willow, and your ‘lead’ as a bowling side can have vanished. It’s likely, then, that England will choose to deploy Wonder Woman Anya Shrubsole against Haynes. The heroine of England’s World Cup win a year ago, Shrubsole has already made her mark on this tournament with a hat-trick against South Africa. If these two are facing off, the game will be on the line.
Heather Knight v Meg Lanning
The captains will be waging psychological warfare on Sunday night. Knight will have to decide at what part of the innings she wants to slow things down and bring on her economical bowlers. Lanning will have to determine how she wants to set up her batting order, and where she’ll keep ‘insurance policies’ to perhaps salvage a wayward innings. Field placings, bowling changes, it’s got the lot this one!