India, the side who has proved everyone wrong after their dominant victory against the present world champion, will face the same side in the final of the Tri-Nation series. This series gave the teams to experiment with their line ups to find the right combination and momentum before the most coveted World T-20.
Both the teams have won two matches each, while their last victories have guided them to secure their place in the final. Both the teams have faced each other 17 times and Australia turned out to be victorious 12 times. India’s latest victory came in the last group match where they have thrashed the Aussies by 7 wickets.
Both the openers, Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana helped the visitors to put up a partnership of 85 runs within 9 overs to clinch the victory. Indian openers have scored useful runs in all the four matches they have played in the group matches. Smriti (150 runs in 4 matches) is in touch and in has played her part.
Recently Indian Coach W.V. Raman instructed her to stay at the wicket till 12/13 overs and in the last match that turns out to be fruitful. While Shafali Destroyed the bowling attack at the one end, Smriti calmly progressed her innings. It would be noteworthy to see if India continue these tactics in the World Cup or not.
Shafali, who initiated the destruction has scored 92 runs in 4 matches and will look forward to carrying on her purple patch. She is going to be the key for India in the final and the World Cup as well. She has the best strike rate among the 6 openers who have played in this series. In a fragile Indian middle order, a lot will depend on Jemimah and Harmapreet to guide towards victory.
In recent times Harmanpreet’s strike-rate has drastically decreased. One can understand that most of the time she came into bat when India has lost two quick wickets and she wants to stay till the last, as India doesn’t have any pinch-hitter. The two matches India won, chasing, Harmanpreet was there till the last.
In the last matches, they have put Deepti Sharma up p the order and she can be an option to bat at number 5 and she has picked up 5 wickets in this series. Indian middle is still the Achilles hill and the highest run for India in this series at the number (5-11) comes from the blade from Deepti Sharma against England in their first match.
Indian spinners have picked up 18 scalps, almost half of which have been picked up by Rajeswari Gayakwad (8 at an average of 11.75). Gayakwad, who is also the highest wicket-taker in this series, has performed whenever the ball was thrown to her. India will again look up to her to pick up wickets in the initial overs.
Like the previous edition where all the teams have faced problems to tackle the India spin web, Indian spinners have projected the same potential this time as well. Indian seamers have delivered fewer overs compared to their Australian counterpart. Fitness of several players like Richa Ghosh, Poonam Yadav and especially Pooja Vastrakar will be the thing that Indian management will try to monitor. Pooja Vastrakar is handy with the bat at down the order, along with her pace.
Australia who looked invincible before this tournament have found their problems too. Healy was in sublime form in the previous edition, has failed to score runs in all the four matches. Though Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, and Gardner helped the team to win the matches, Healy’s form will keep the management in anguish.
Another area of concern for the Aussie team management will be the fact that they look wayward when the bowling attack faced severe attacks from the opposition. It was evident in the last 10 overs of their first match against England and their last match against India, both of which they have lost eventually.
Along with Ellyse Perry, who has won the Belinda Clerck Medal and Megan Schutt, seam bowling will be dependent upon Anabel Sutherland, who has made her debut in this tournament and has almost snatched the victory from the jaws of defeat in her first match in Green and Gold.
Tayla Vlaemnic has impressed once again with her pace. The seamer who has picked up 4 wickets at an average of 6.2 is a talent to reckon with. Aussies will depend on Molineux who has picked up 3 wickets in the last match along with Wareham and Jess Jonassen. It will be worthy to watch if India can turn the table to clinch their 6th victory or the rejuvenated Aussie side, who came back from the verge of elimination, lift the trophy.
Australia: Alyssa Healy (WK), Beth Mooney, Ashleigh Gardner, Meg Lanning (C), Ellyse Perry, Rachael Haynes, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham, Megan Schutt, Nicola Carey, Sophie Molineux, Erin Burns, Tayla Vlaeminck
India: Shafali Verma, Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur (C), Veda Krishnamurthy, Taniya Bhatia (WK), Deepti Sharma, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Radha Yadav, Richa Ghosh, Arundhati Reddy, Harleen Deol, Nuzhat Parween, Poonam Yadav