Three times WWT20 winners Australia have added two players to the squad that demolished the Kiwis 3-0 in their recent T20 series to make up their WWT20 squad. Joining the 13 players (only 11 of whom actually played in the series) are spinner Jess Jonassen, assuming she is fit after having minor knee surgery in September, and left-handed opener Nicole Bolton.
The full squad for the WWT20 is :-
Meg Lanning, Nicole Bolton, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Warehem.
There is no place for Aussie contracted leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington, whose role has been taken by Georgia Wareham, and previously tried seamers Lauren Cheatle, Tahlia McGrath and Belinda Vakarewa are all overlooked in favour of the untested, and largely unproven, 19 year old quick Tayla Vlaeminck.
The Aussie starting XI looks pretty clear with the fire power of Healy, Mooney, Gardner and Villani up front, followed by the tactical nous of Lanning, Haynes and Perry for those tricky situations, and Kimmince and Molineux no mugs with the bat at 8 & 9. 10 and jack, Schutt and Wareham, will be hoping they never even need to get their pads out of their kit bags. If Jonassen is fit then she may step in for Molineux, although 20 year old Molineux may already have taken the left-arm spinner's mantle from her 25 year old compatriot, whose numbers in India in March were not that great. Bolton looks like cover for the currently out of sorts Mooney, who has struggled slightly with the bat of late, after her scintillating ton against England in the Ashes at the back end of 2017. I think Mooney will get the nod to start in the first group games against Pakistan and Ireland, with the Aussies hoping she can rack up some runs and get her mojo back before they take on New Zealand and India, in what should be tougher games.
With the top two in Group B going through to the semi-finals it is difficult to see the Aussies not waltzing into the play-off stages of the competition, which will be held in the Sir Vivian Richards' Stadium in Antigua. Conditions there may be very different to the Province Stadium in Guyana, where all the Group B games are being played. Four warm-up games at the Sir Vivian Richards' Stadium on 3rd and 4th November, including England v Australia, and five at the Province Stadium between 4th and 7th November will be good indicators of the type of pitches the girls can expect to face.
Whoever Australia meet in the semi-finals, which is likely to be one of England, West Indies or South Africa, they will back themselves to power on to the final two days later and then bring home the trophy for the fourth time in the six times it has been held. Only England and the West Indies (the current holders) have managed to prevent the Aussies from winning it more times. They will have their work cut out to try and do it again.