The on-going Tri-series in Australia has come to its final stage where Meg Lanning led Australia will take on Harmanpreet Kaur led India in the final at the Junction Oval in Melbourne on Wednesday (February 12). While it was not a surprise to see Australia in the final before starting the series because of their dominance in the World Cricket, India's reach to the final was no sort of a surprise.
England were on the verge of reaching in the final but a determined Australia sealed the deal at the last minute. Both the teams have won two matches each so far, where their last league games secured their place in the final.
For India, it was their bowlers who helped India win against England by restricting the opponents before the batters showed a great performance in the chase of 174 against Australia in the final game. But that too came on the back of the openers only. India's batting is a major concern not only for the final but also for the upcoming mega event.
Harmanpreet Kaur’s stable knock in the first game and Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma’s flying start in the final league game were the reasons for their win alongside the spinners' spell. Their middle-order woes remain the same and their over-dependence on the top-order might become an issue as well.
The hosts, Australia, on the other hand, failed to show their usual dominance in the series so far. While their in-form opener Alyssa Healy failed to score big, vice-captain Rachael Haynes also failed to show her authority in the game. Their forms are certainly a concern for the side.
But there are a few positive points as well. They have handed over the cap to Annabel Sutherland whose heroics took the side to a tie in the first game against England. Alongside her, quick bowler Tayla Vlaeminck dismantled India with the pace. Later, Sophie Molineux made her presence felt with a beautiful spell.
Not only bowlers, their number 3 batter Ashleigh Gardner has been in a red hot form. Australia up the huge total in the last league game on the back of her only, although that cam for a losing cause.
Indian spinners have picked up 18 wickets so far where Rajeswari Gayakwad picked up 8 at an average of 11.75. Gayakwad, who is also the leading wicket-taker in this series, has proved the key player of India and they will again bank on her to pick up wickets in the powerplay once again.
Although Australia are not in their best forms, they will be favourite in the final because of their few players, especially Ellyse Perry whose all-round ability has already pulled off the game against India in the league.
Both the teams have made some changes in the playing XI so far as this series has given them ample time to experiment with them before the final. It will be interesting to see who will have the last laugh.
Australia: Alyssa Healy (wk), Beth Mooney, Ashleigh Gardner, Meg Lanning (c), Ellyse Perry, Rachael Haynes, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham, Megan Schutt, Nicola Carey, Sophie Molineux, Erin Burns, Tayla Vlaeminck.
India: Shafali Verma, Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Veda Krishnamurthy, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Deepti Sharma, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Radha Yadav, Richa Ghosh, Arundhati Reddy, Harleen Deol, Nuzhat Parween, Poonam Yadav.