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We are into that stage of the Women's World T20 where every match can govern the qualification scenarios. While things appear to be pretty certain in Group B, the competition is strong to occupy the second spot in Group A. The result of the match between Australia and New Zealand will decide the two teams finishing at the top of the table. Both the sides are coming off from losses at the hands of India in their respective matches and are in a do-or-die situation. Historically, Australia have been the better of the two sides, but going by the performances in the series so far, it's hard to separate the two sides. The two teams are set to meet each other on 2nd March at Junction Oval, Melbourne.
Australia's win against India's acted as a wake-up call and they have played stupendous cricket ever since. Compared to the matches that they won, the pressure will be immense in this match considering that this is a virtual quarterfinal.
On paper, Australia are in a pretty good position. The form of Alyssa Healy was a cause of concern for the Aussies before the tournament began, but she announced herself with brilliant fifties in the past few matches. However, the form of Elysse Perry as well the fact that she is doubtful starter for the upcoming match is a cause of concern for the Aussies.
In the run-up to this virtual quarter final, Australians have done reasonably well. They defeated Sri Lanka and Bangladesh by reasonably good margins and have the momentum. Beating them is not going to be easy for the Sri Lankans.
Alyssa Healy, Beth Mooney, Ashleigh Gardner, Meg Lanning, Rachael Haynes, Ellyse Perry, Annabel Sutherland, Jess Jonassen, Nicola Carey, Georgia Wareham, Megan Schutt.
New Zealand Women have had a fate similar to that of Australian Women in the tournament so far and only the order has been different. They got off to a rather shaky start against Sri Lanka, but picked themselves up in the same game and haven't look back since then.
They played well against the Indians only to eventually lose the match by a margin of mere three runs. Against Bangladesh, they bounced back with a superb show with the ball, winning the match by 17 runs.
Up until now, New Zealand have followed a clear pattern to perform in the series. They have been terrific with the ball, but their batting has been a bit too over-reliant on Sophie Devine and to an extent on Amelia Kerr. Going into the second match, Suzie Bates' form would be a concern for their management.
Sophie Devine, Rachel Priest, Suzie Bates, Maddy Green, Hayley Jensen, Katey Martin, Amelia Kerr, Anna Peterson, Leigh Kasperek, Lea Tahuhu, Rosemary Mair.
On the basis of recent performances and the teams on paper, it is difficult to pick between the sides. While Australia have been a better side historically and enjoy a terrific record over the Kiwis, the Kiwis are coming off a superb run in their last few matches. The absence of Elysse Perry only adds to the Aussie woes. Having said that, Australia still have more depth available in their lineup, are playing at home, and have the psychological advantage over the visitors. Betting for an Aussie win would be the way to go in the upcoming encounter.
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