While Australia are one step away from winning their sixth Women’s World Cup title when they take on West Indies in the final at the Brabourne Stadium in a day-night fixture today, the Caribbean side are eyeing victory in their first big tournament.
The Aussies will look to exact revenge against the Caribbean side that handed them their only defeat of the tournament in the Super Six stage. Ahead of the final, Australian captain Jodie Fields was wary of the threat the West Indies side posed.
“We didn’t play our best in the Super Six stage against West Indies. They, on the other hand, played really well. They have some really dangerous players like Dottin (Deandra). But hopefully tomorrow, the Australian team can come out and show why we are one of the best teams in the world.
“We are going into the match as favourites, but our focus is to play well. We have to put in good batting, bowling and fielding performances tomorrow to beat them,” Fields said. Five-time champions Australia will hope that pacer Megan Schutt (leading wicket-taker in the tournament with 13 scalps to her name) and 17-year-old debutant Holly Ferling (nine wickets in four matches) help them restrict the hard-hitting West Indies.
Windies have edge
Though Australia has won three of their four World Cup matches against West Indies, the Caribbean side holds a slight edge having defeated the team from Down Under in the Super Six stage.
After starting as underdogs, the Merissa Aguilleira-led side have emerged as the dark horses of the tournament. They stunned Australia to become the table-toppers in the Super Six stage. Stafanie Taylor who has scored 309 runs in the series so far and Deandra Dottin, the world record holder for the fastest 100 in T20s, will hope to help their team post a huge total in the final. In bowling, spinner Anisa Mohammed might be the pick of the bowlers.
“This tournament has been real roller-coaster ride for us. There have been lots of ups and downs. But I guess that’s where true spirit lies — when you are able to come back from a depth where you don’t feel you are able to see yourself through. I must say we stuck together as a team. We motivated ourselves,” said Aguilleira.
Aguilleira said the team is confident going into the final. “We have a psychological advantage over Australia tomorrow. It’s good to have the same opponents in the final as we have seen them play. It will be good for us to go out there and accomplish something for the people of the Caribbean as well. We need to play our ‘A’ game against Australia as they are a wonderful team. The difference between the last time we participated and this World Cup is that we were mere participants then and this time we are actually competing,” Aguilleira said.
Aussie coach cautious
Though the Australian captain Jodie Fields is confident of winning the World Cup for the sixth time, their head coach Cathryn Fitzpatrick said that the team needs to get its act together in the final. The coach was all praises for their opponents. “We cannot afford to take any of the West Indies players lightly, be it Dottin or Taylor. I am not surprised that West Indies have made it to the final as they have some power players and match winners in their side,” Fitzpatrick said.
Though the team from Down Under is the favourite to win today, the coach wants her team to tread carefully. “West Indies has got a lot of joy into this tournament. They have a lot of conviction in themselves. They may have exceeded their own expectations by reaching the final but they are a side full of energy and it’s infectious.
“The worst that could happen is that we would finish second. But once we go back, we will surely talk to the administrators back home and request them for a tour to West Indies,” she said.