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There have hardly been any cricketing events in recent times that have been as much followed as the final between Australia Women and India Women in ICC Women's T20. 50000 tickets were sold even before the finalists were decided and with India and Australia playing against each other, we expect the finale to be a sell-out. Considering the hype surrounding this event, it certainly shapes to be one of the seminal events in the recent history of the cricket in Australia or World Women's Cricket in general. India qualified to the playoffs on the back of a terrific performance in the group stage as their semi-final match, which they were to play against England, was washed out due to rain. Australia, on the other hand, survived a scare as they defeated South Africa in a close rain-hit encounter. The grand finale, the match which all the teams in Women's Cricket have been preparing for at least a couple of years, is to be played at the iconic venue of Melbourne Cricket Ground, on 8th March.
Before the tournament began, India looked set to qualify for the playoffs, but never were they favorites to qualify for the finale. A walkover in the semifinal against England did help them, but they earned it by playing some terrific cricket in the league stage.
Shafali Verma, their youngest women has been instrumental in their journey so far. While she hasn't scored big, yet, the rate at which she has scored has been fascinating. Indian bowlers, too, have done well so far and the spell that Poonav Yadav bowled in the opening match would still be fresh in the minds of Australian batsmen.
Shafali Verma, Smriti Mandhana, Richa Ghosh, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Deepti Sharma, Shikha Pandey, Radha Yadav, Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad.
Perceived as the title favorites before the tournament began, Australia haven't really put in the performance that was expected of them. They had a pretty bumpy ride until the got qualified for the playoffs and can consider them a bit fortunate that they were able to qualify without putting in their best.
The injuries to Tayla Vlaeminck and Ellyse Perry didn't help their cause and left their middle-order a little fragile. This was telling in their match against India and South Africa as they slipped in the death overs as they lost wickets in chunks.
Despite the absence of their two regular players, Australia have a solid team, at least on paper. Ayssa Healy's return to form is being rejoiced by many and with Meg Lanning and Beth Mooney scoring runs for fun, Australian batting looks good. Having said that, they all looked vulnerable against Indian spinners in their opening contest of the tournament and will be wary of the same.
In the tournament up until now, there bowling has done pretty well. Megan Schutt, Sophie Molineux, Delissa Kimmince, and Jess Jonassen were brilliant against the Proteas and would be looking to put in a similar kind of performance.
Alyssa Healy, Beth Mooney, Meg Lanning, Jess Jonassen, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Nicola Carey, Sophie Molineux, Georgia Wareham, Delissa Kimmince, Megan Schutt.
While the Indian Women have done better than Australian Women in the tournament so far, the pressure of playing in the final will be immense. Considering that as well as the fact that the Aussie women are a better side, at least on paper, places them ahead. Betting on an Aussie win should be the way to go in this most-important match of the tournament.
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