Monday, 11 February 2013

Who will play Australia?

Australia's convincing win over the potential banana skin team of the tournament, Sri Lanka, means that they are confirmed as World Cup finalists, yet again.

Having won the toss Australia duly inserted Sri Lanka, and despite the fact that Ellyse Perry was once again missing (although her stomach bug had become an ankle injury) the Aussie seam attack of Megan Schutt, Julie Hunter and Holly Ferling soon had Sri Lanka in trouble at 41/4. Only Rasangika (43) of the top order batsmen stood firm, but when she too departed with the Sri Lanka score on just 90, the writing was on the wall for the Sri Lankans. Aussie spinners Lisa Sthalekar (2/26) and Erin Osborne (3/9) mopped up the last five wickets between them as Sri Lanka struggled to 131 all out. Australia never looked in trouble in reply as they knocked off the runs for the loss of just one wicket, with Lanning (37), Haynes (71no) and Cameron (22no) all getting some decent practice in.

The simple question then is who will the Aussie's meet in the final? Unfortunately the answer is not quite so simple. In fact it is very complicated and is unlikely to be answered until the last ball of the Super Sixes has been bowled. Three teams are still in with a shout.

England's demolition of South Africa put their name in the frame. England chose to bowl first against the Saffers, deciding that they would play to their strength, rather than trying to accumulate a huge score and potentially increase their NRR by a greater margin. Anya Shrubsole (5/17) duly obliged taking her first 5-for as she destroyed the South African top order with her big inswingers. 42/5 became 77 all out as Danni Wyatt (3/7 off just 9 balls) helped herself to some confidence-boosting wickets. England knew they had to score the runs as quickly as possible to improve their NRR and they got them in just 9.3 overs, but not before Edwards, Wyatt and Taylor (with her third duck on the trot) had departed. Brindle (28) and Greenway (25) though saw England through to a crucial win and an increase in their NRR.

The other two teams in the frame are New Zealand and the West Indies, who met each other today. New Zealand won the toss and did the first bit right by keeping the West Indies to 207 in their 50 overs. Morna Nielsen claimed 3/27 and Stafanie Taylor (49) again starred with the bat for the Windies. But in reply the West Indies, aided by some truly appalling umpiring decisions (four bad lbw decisions), managed to bowl New Zealand out for 159 to record their first ever victory over the White Ferns. Tremayne Smartt was the main beneficiary of the umpire's largesse with 3/39, and Dottin claimed 2/11, as the New Zealanders fell to a 48 run defeat.

All of which means that if the West Indies beat the Aussies in their last game, they will meet the Aussies again in the final on Sunday. If they lose then it will be between themselves and the winner of the England v New Zealand day/night game to see who qualifies on NRR. The table as it stands at the moment looks like this:-

Super Six stage

2West Indies43100+1.1366
4New Zealand42200+0.9524
5Sri Lanka41300-2.6362
6South Africa40400-2.1570

How Australia will approach their final game is of course a matter of conjecture. They do not need to win. Would they prefer to play West Indies in the final, rather than New Zealand or England? At the start of this tournament the answer would probably have been "yes", but the reality is that they probably do not care, and I would suggest they will end the West Indies' hopes with a big win.

That will leave England and New Zealand to scrap it out. England's batting has been poor, but their bowling is strong. New Zealand seem to have a lack of self-confidence rather than a lack of talent. Both teams will be desperate to make it to the final, but I would suggest England may just have enough nous to win and get through. Almost any win will be enough provided West Indies loss to the Aussies is not by the narrowest of margins.



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Sorry for duplicate, wrong username - I doubt the Aussies will lose on purpose, especially when they could go through unbeaten and retain momentum. England vs NZ is a complete toss up, my money is on New Zealand, but then again, I would say that being a Kiwi fan.