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India's record run chase against Australia followed by an Aussie win in a low-scoring encounter between Australia and England has setup the series for an enticing finish with a final between India Women and Australia Women. It was a closely fought league stage and England missed out on the final spot on net run-rate as all three teams finished with four points each to their name. Despite being the hosts and placed at the numero uno position on the points table, the Australians haven't really played to their potential in the tournament so far. On the contrary, the Indian women have punched above their weight and will be pumped after reaching the finale of this tri-series. The grand finale of the series is set to be played at Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne.
Australia Women rose to the top of the table after a 16-run win over England Women in a closely fought encounter. They finished with four points to their name coupled with a net run-rate of 0.238. Although the numbers suggest otherwise, their road to the finale wasn't easy. They lost their opening encounter of the series, then defeated India in a messy chase, lost to India again, and then defeat England by a fair margin to make a place for themselves in the finale.
While their batting did a superb job against Indians, it failed to put up a par score against England. Defending a total of 132, Australia needed an extraordinary bowling performance and the likes of Sophie Molineux and Tayla Vlaeminck did exactly that. While Vlaeminck broke through the English top-order with her two wickets, Sophie Molineux extended the damage with an excellent spell as she returned with the figures of 3 for 19 in her four overs. Not only did Australia defeat England, they also kept England to a score of less that 124, which England needed to get ahead of India on the net run-rate and qualify for the playoffs.
Earlier with the bat, it was Beth Mooney's innings that kept Australia in the business. Quite unlike of them, they kept losing wickets throught the innings and the absence of Elysse Perry in the middle-order didn't help their cause. Beth Mooney anchored their innings and scored a brilliant fifty to guide them to a total of 132. She was ably assisted by Rachel Haynes towards the end of their innings as Haynes scored a quick-fire 24.
Australia have a fantastic lineup on paper, but most of their players haven't shown the kind of form they showed before the Big Bash League - Women. Alyssa Healy has been a major disappointment for them and will be keen to get some runs under her belt before heading into the ICC Women's World T20, which is to be played later this year.
All in all, the Aussies weren't at their best in the league stage and still finished at the top of the ladder and that speaks volumes about their strength. Over the last two years, Australia have been near-invincible, losing just five matches since the beginning of 2018. Regardless of how they've done in the series so far, beating them isn't going to be easy, even for the high-flying Indian team.
Alyssa Healy, Beth Mooney, Ashleigh Gardner, Meg Lanning, Ellyse Perry, Rachael Haynes, Nicola Carey, Annabel Sutherland, Jess Jonassen, Megan Schutt, Tayla Vlaeminck.
Just two matches ago, not many anticipated India playing in the finale of the Women's tri-series. A superb performance followed by a bit of luck ensured their semi-final clash against Australia. It is not going to be easy for India and they would have to produce a performance similar to the one they produced against the Aussies a couple of days ago.
As the series has progressed, Indian batsmen have grown in confidence. It was well and clearly apparent against Aussies in the previous match wherein India chased down a total of 176 with considerable ease. Shafali Verma missed her half-century by one run, but his innings ensured a flying start for India, a start which kept the visitors in the hunt. Shafali scored 49 off just 28 deliveries as she and Smriti Mandhana got India off to a flying start. Mandhana played a uncharacteristic innings as she scored 55 runs of 48 deliveries.
After India's opening pair got them off to a terrific start, the likes of Jemimah Rodriques, Harmanpreet Kaur, and Deepti Sharma sealed the deal with small yet useful cameos. Earlier with the ball, there wasn't much Indian bowlers could do as Ashleigh Gardner batted beautifully to take Australia to a commanding total. Gardner scored 93 off just 57 deliveries.
Shafali Verma, Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur, Taniya Bhatia, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh, Shikha Pandey, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Arundhati Reddy, Radha Yadav.
Check out Dream11 fantasy lineup for the Women's T20 Series final, which is to be played between Australia Women and India Women
An out-of-form Australian unit and an Indian unit punching above it's weight is a perfect setup for a cracking contest. Despite not being at their best, Australians cruised to the finale of the tournament. They are likely to be without Elysse Perry and that would be a huge set-back for the hosts. India, on the other hand, pulled off a superb chase in their last encounter and will be brimming with confidence. Having said that, Australia are playing at home and that should be of considerable advantage in this high-stakes encounter. Comparing the two sides on paper, Australia are a slightly better balanced unit, at least on paper. For those reasons as well as the ones mentioned above, betting on an Aussie win will be the way to go in this upcoming match.
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