Thursday, 30 October 2014

Aus v Windies - mouth-watering series

Sunday sees the start of a truly mouth-watering series between Australia and the West Indies. The tour matches start with four T20s, followed by the three ICC Women's Championship ODIs, and then an extra ODI just for good measure.

There is little doubt that Australia are currently the team to beat in world cricket. They hold the T20 and 50 over World Cups and have probably the strongest batting line-up in women's cricket. The Windies are a team on the up, with some of the most explosive players in women's cricket - Deandra Dottin and Stafanie Taylor to name just two. They also come to Australia on the back of a comprehensive 3-0 thrashing of New Zealand in the first round of the ICCWC in the Caribbean in September, which sees them currently sitting pretty in top spot in the ICCWC points table.

Will the Aussies fear them? Probably not. It is not really in their nature to do so. Should the Aussies fear them? Probably yes. The Windies have a swagger about them and they now have some batting to back up the mercurial Dottin and the world class (if fit) Taylor. Shanel Daley and opener Kycia Knight are growing into their roles with the bat in the team and 16 year old Hayley Matthews looks like an exciting young batting talent too. Their bowling too looks in better shape than it has done in the past. They have no great pace in their attack, but medium-pacers Smartt, Selman, Dottin and Daley have become more accurate and they have depth in their spin options with Mohammed, Quintyne and Taylor.

The Windies bowlers will have their hands full though with the Aussie batting line-up. Unlike most teams Australia have a host of batsmen that can take the game away from their opponents, rather than just one or two - Meg Lanning, Jess Cameron, Elyse Villani and Ellyse Perry are all potential match-winners with the bat, and they have the steadying influence of Alex Blackwell, Nicole Bolton, Delissa Kimmince and Jess Jonassen when they need it.

With two strong batting line-ups and some decent wickets this could be a very high-scoring series. The question for me is how strong is the Aussie bowling? Holly Ferling is still out injured and Ellyse Perry is coming back from yet another injury (this time a knee). She deserves her place in the team as a batsman and this may well be her future in cricket. Support seamers Rene Farrell, Julie Hunter and Sarah Coyte do not look that threatening and will have their work cut out. Their repetitive length and line may just be up Dottin and Taylor's street. Spinners Erin Osborne and Jess Jonassen can get rattled if the attack is taken to them, which you would guess the Windies girls will do. Leg-spinner Kristen Beams will also need to be at her most accurate, if selected in the T20 games, as she may well be.

This will be a good test for both teams and I can see the Windies giving the Aussies a real run for their money. If they hit their straps then they might even sneak the ODI series and could easily win the T20 series. Fasten your seatbelts this could be a bumpy ride!


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