Kolkata : Buoyant and formidable West Indies stands in the way as Australia bids to win a fourth successive World Women’s Twenty20 title when the final is played at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday.
The Southern Stars won all three finals it has featured in during the 2010, 2012 and 2014 editions, while the West Indies has made it to its first-ever title round after being knocked out in the semi-finals on the last three occasions.
Stafanie Taylor’s Caribbean stars have already assured themselves a place in history as the first team other than Australia, England and New Zealand to qualify for a women’s World T20 final.
If records alone mattered, Australia would be the overwhelming favourite to win on Sunday, having beaten the West Indies in all their eight previous T20 Internationals.
During a warm-up match in Chennai last month – the most recent meeting between the two -Australia cruised to a 43-run win by scoring 139 for three and then bowling the West Indies out for 96.
But Taylor’s side has shown enough resilience during the tournament to suggest it will not be a cakewalk for the world champion Southern Stars, who are led by the world’s leading batter Meg Lanning.
The fifth-ranked West Indies squeezed past Pakistan by four runs in its opening match before comfortably beating Bangladesh by 49 runs. It endured a heart-breaking last-ball, one-wicket loss to England before bouncing back to beat India by three runs to seal a place in the semi-finals.
It was in the semi-final against New Zealand in Mumbai on Thursday that the West Indies played its best cricket to secure a six-run win over a side that had emerged unscathed in the league.
The tall Britney Cooper, who was brought in for the semi-final, justified her selection with a 48-ball 61 that set up the West Indies win.
Skipper Taylor has proved an inspiration with both bat and ball, her 187 runs in the tournament – second only behind England captain Charlotte Edwards – coming on top of her eight wickets.
In Deandra Dottin, the West Indies has one of the most power-packed all-rounders in the women’s game who has scored 111 runs and claimed seven wickets.
Australia, meanwhile, has peaked at the right time after losing to New Zealand in the league and displayed its prowess with a five-run win over old foe England in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Lanning’s 55 off 50 balls against England showed the Australian captain had recovered from a stomach bug and will be expected to once again lead from the front at the Eden Gardens.
The West Indies will also be wary of medium-pacer Megan Schutt, who claimed two for 15 against England and is her side’s leading bowler with seven wickets. (ANI)