Even as one may not be able to see an outrageously passionate rivalry between England Women’s and Australia Women’s team, of a kind that charges their respective men’s side, there exists a very healthy state of competition between the two. The teams have a go at one another but only sticking to their respective cricketing strengths. Two of the most sought after T20 outfits, England Women’s and Australia Women’s team add a dash of style and flair to a contest where it’s not always the might of the bat prevailing over the cunning of the ball, it could be said, England would want to inflict a mighty blow to their Aussie counterparts in a final T20 contest that sees them locking horns in a neutral venue, India.
This is precisely because it was England who fired the opening salvo, smashing Australia for 8-wickets in the series-starter.
From thereon, even as England has been able to thud aside India, their manner of defeat against Australia, a few hours ago, speaks volumes as to why they need to come up with their A-game in the final. It’s neither an everyday sight nor the most promising one to find your side bowled out under 100 in a T20 contest where putting bat to ball is as vital as exercising lungs for breathing.
So which are the 5 key English players who need to come to the party during the England Women’s and Australia Women’s T20 finals?
1. Heather Knight
For someone who is the leader of a promising outfit, Knight the batswoman hasn’t exactly been the shining armour for her team in recent outcomes. A strong middle order batswoman, Knight’s hapless duck in the last contest against the Aussies doesn’t particularly justify her talent. She can do a lot more. But she hasn’t really been among runs. From the current series, Knight’s personal best stands at 8 not out. Where have the runs dried up? Perhaps it may be time to rise up and take the fight.
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2. Jenny Gunn
Not the easiest of bowlers to score of, Jenny Gunn is someone who reminds viewers of a similar kind of daunting action that the likes of Sohail Tanvir riles up his opponents with. Jenny Gunn is also implicit to England Women’s chances of containing their opponents’ runs. But has that really happened thus far? Apart from taking a vital 3-for against Australia in her team’s opening T20 contest, Gunn has failed to fire and has gone wicketless from the other two contests. It is paramount that she not only strikes some vital blows but also contains runs. It didn’t make for a particularly pleasing sight when the Indians sliced her apart in scoring 49 from her 4 overs.
3. Natalie Sciver
One of England’s most reliable and prodigious talents. An outstanding cricketer, full of promise and intent, Natalie Sciver is today an irreplaceable part of the English set-up. She’s been on the ball in the current series utilising her twin-talents of contributing from both bat and ball. A stable unbeaten fifty against Australia ensured her bat was raining runs, collecting them quickly so and she’s also been among wickets, if not scalping the lion’s share. But despite being in form, Sciver will be expected to keep up the momentum and save her best for the finals, a bright opportunity for England to castrate Australia on a neutral venue. Also, an enormous responsibility on the likes of Gunn and Sciver herself, particularly in the absence of Katherine Brunt.
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4. Sophie Ecclestone
Experience may not necessarily be her biggest strength but from the little the world has seen of this slow left-arm orthodox bowler, it appears Sophie Ecclestone boasts of the potential to go the long way, particularly in the briefest format. But thus far, she’s had a rather ordinary run, falling well below the standards expected from a slow left arm on wickets that aren’t the easiest to score runs. Also, competing on the same turfs where the likes of Jess Jonassen have been enjoying a dream run. She’ll have to trouble the Aussie batswomen in a contest which is all to play for.
5. Danielle Wyatt
When Danielle Wyatt struck a career-best 124 in the game between England Women’s and India Women’s, the fastest and best English score in a T20 run chase, the pup-eyed talent literally rescued her game, having fallen into a series of obscurity where runs weren’t coming necessarily from her promising blade. That said, a failure from the bat in the immediate next game resulting in just 6 runs seemed rather strange. It is vital that an in-form Wyatt comes to the party in spoiling Australia’s chances in what is expected to be a keenly-followed T20 final.