Australia face England in hunt for Women Twenty20 hat-trick

AFP

DHAKA: It is two well-acquainted foes who will go head-to-head for the women’s Twenty20 title. As Anya Shrubsole said on Friday, there is little they do not know about each other: since August last year Australia and England have contested 14 matches. Those games came during the multi-format Ashes. While England retained the ultimate prize in Australia - largely thanks to their Test win in Perth - it was the hosts who prevailed in both shorter formats on home soil, taking the ODIs and T20s 2-1.
With two months having passed since those matches they may not mean an awful lot, but Australia will go into the final knowing they have had the better of England in the format recently. Australia are aiming for a hat-trick of titles following their triumphs in West Indies (2010) and Sri Lanka (2012) while England were the champions at the inaugural tournament on home soil in 2009. These two sides slugged out the final in Colombo last time where Charlotte Edwards’ team came up four runs short in a tense finish.
Women’s cricket is becoming more competitive by the year, but there will be a familiar name on the trophy. The knees may be a bit painful these days, the fielding hard work and the running between the wickets not as brisk as it was, but Charlotte Edwards remains a player for the big occasion. She secured the Ashes with an unbeaten 92 in Hobart having, earlier in the tour, battled the pain of a knee injury to make a crucial 56 in the Test at the WACA. The previous World T20 final brought heartbreak and Edwards will be desperate to atone.
Her opposite number, Meg Lanning, has enjoyed an impressive tournament. She has scored 213 runs - boosted by the record 126 against Ireland - but it is the strike-rate which stands out: her figure of 161.36 is the highest of any batsmen to have faced more than 50 deliveries at the event (it helps Australia that the next on that list is opener Elyse Villani). Lanning hit 29 off 22 balls in the semi-final and could have a telling impact on the final in a short space of time. Batting at No. 3 means she has a good chance of facing the prolific Shrubsole: that could be a wonderful contest.
Probable squads:
Australia: Elyse Villani, Jess Jonassen, Meg Lanning (capt), Ellyse Perry, Alex Blackwell, Jess Cameron, Alyssa Healy (wk), Erin Osborne, Sarah Coyte, Rene Farrell, Julie Hunter.
England: Sarah Taylor (wk), Charlotte Edwards (capt), Heather Knight, Lydia Greenway, Nat Sciver, Amy Jones, Tammy Beaumont, Jenny Gunn, Danielle Hazell, Anya Shrubsole, Rebecca Grundy. 

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