Hosts Australia will take on India in the final of 2020 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday (March 8th). While Group A winners India qualified for the summit clash (since they were the Group A winners) after their semi-final clash against England was washed out due to rain, the Meg Lanning-led Australian side reached the final having defeated South Africa by 5 runs (by DLS method) at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday.
For the Women in Blue, this will be their first-ever T20 World Cup final appearance having lost in the semi-finals on three occasions earlier- 2009, 2010 and 2018. Meanwhile, the hosts who are the most successful team in the history of Women’s T20 World Cup with four titles (2010, 2012, 2014 and 2018) will be looking to defend their title at Melbourne.
With these two top teams making the grand-finale one thing is for sure- we are in for a cracker of a contest in which the excitement and quality of cricket will be at a different level at the MCG. But it looks like the Indian Women’s team will lay hands on the trophy for the first time this year.
On that note, let us look at three reasons why India will win the 2020 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup by defeating hosts and favourites Australia in the final.
1. The winning momentum
The last time when these two sides met each other in the tournament opener at the Sydney Showground Stadium on February 21st, the Women in Blue emerged victorious by 17 runs. Despite managing just 132 runs, India managed to defend their modest total- thanks to a splendid display of bowling. That win gave them the much-needed momentum going forward.
They followed it up with an 18-run win over Bangladesh at the WACA, Perth in their next game. After two successive wins, India, however, were put to test against New Zealand at the Junction Oval in Melbourne. Having scored 133-8 after being invited to bat first, India eventually won the contest by just three runs restricting the White Ferns to 130-6 in 20 overs. A convincing seven-wicket win in their last group fixture against Sri Lanka helped India secure the pole position in Group A before heading to the knockouts.
With the semi-final against England abandoned without a ball being bowled, Harmapreet’s girls who are still unbeaten in the tournament will be determined to go all the way by maintaining their winning momentum. Having defeated Australia already in the group stages, the Indian women will be confident of continuing their perfect winning streak at Melbourne on Sunday.
2. Quality batting and bowling units
India’s teen batting sensation Shafali Verma has grabbed the eyeballs with her exploits with the willow throughout 2020 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. The immensely talented opener has been exceptional for India with her fearless strokeplay and quickfire innings (29, 39, 46 and 47 runs respectively) at the top-of-the-order in all four matches the team has played so far.
The 16-year-old Rohtak-girl who has amassed 161 runs in the tournament at a whopping strike-rate of 161.00 recently rose 19 places to claim the top spot in ICC Women’s T20I ranking for batters. Although other batters haven’t been consistent or made much of an impact so far, the experience of Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Smriti Madhana can make a huge difference in a high-pressure game like the T20 World Cup final.
India’s bowling has been top-notch throughout the tournament with spinner Poonam Yadav, the highest wicket-taker with nine scalps being the major talking point. While medium-pacer Shikha Pandey has also been exceptional with seven wickets to her name, other bowlers including Radha Yadav, Deepti Sharma, Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Arundhati Reddy have equally contributed in restricting the oppositions. Overall, the batting, as well as the bowling units, look formidable going into the finals.
3. Massive support at the colossal MCG
Though India will be up against mighty Australia in their own backyard, we can expect massive support for them at the colossal Melbourne Cricket Ground. So far, the Indian Women’s team has got tremendous support from the passionate Indian fans who have thronged the stadiums across Australia to witness the Women in Blue in action.
Thanks to the Indian supporters, every game has been like a ‘home match’ for Team India. With a world record attendance for a women’s sports fixture likely to be set during the summit clash on March 8th (International Women’s Day), it couldn’t get any better for both these teams who will be battling it out for the title in front of a packed stadium.
Australia might succumb to the pressure of playing in front of the home crowd in a high-octane game like a World Cup final- the perfect example being their batting collapse in the tournament opener. Hence, India under the leadership of the inspirational Harmanpreet Kaur holds the upper hand in this aspect and will be looking to make the most of it in the final.
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