England aim to complete miraculous turnaround in first title clash against Australia since 1988
And then there were two: Australia and England.
The women’s game has come a long way since – in terms of discarding that questionable sartorial choice as well as other teams making gradual strides towards (occasionally) challenging the supremacy of Australia and England. What has remained largely unchanged, though, is the two teams’ hold on the Cup: Australia have six in their bag whereas a triumph in Sunday’s final at the Hagley Oval would hand England, who have never successfully defended a 50-over world title, their fifth.
Australia WWWWW (Last five completed matches; most recent first)
In the spotlight
England have a full squad at their disposal while Australia will wait on Perry’s fitness to decide their final XI. If picked, she will slot in as a specialist batter, Lanning said on Saturday, given she hadn’t bowled since back spasms forced her off the field in the league fixture on March 29. Averaging over 50 in the format with the bat, with two successive Player-of-the-Match awards in this World Cup to boot, Perry’s reintegration into the XI might have to come at the expense of pace-bowling allrounder Annabel Sutherland, who had filled in for her against Bangladesh and in the semi-final.
Australia (possible): 1 Alyssa Healy (wk), 2 Rachael Haynes, 3 Meg Lanning (capt), 4 Beth Mooney, 5 Tahlia McGrath, 6 Ellyse Perry/Annabel Sutherland, 7 Ashleigh Gardner, 8 Jess Jonassen, 9 Alana King, 10 Megan Schutt, 11 Darcie Brown
England (possible): 1 Tammy Beaumont, 2 Danielle Wyatt, 3 Heather Knight (capt), 4 Natalie Sciver, 5 Amy Jones (wk), 6 Sophia Dunkley, 7 Katherine Brunt, 8 Sophie Ecclestone, 9 Kate Cross, 10 Charlie Dean, 11 Anya Shrubsole
Pitch and conditions
Under lights, the ball is likely to skid on a tad more, and dew, Lanning said, could be a factor in the latter half of what is expected to be a (mostly) rain-less encounter.
Stats and trivia
[It was] just [about] trying to keep everyone happy really, everyone positive. And I think the girls did that brilliantly. Sometimes you have to force it a little bit when, obviously, you’re in a bad situation. But I think that we are very close as a group, I’m very proud that we really stuck together.”
Heather Knight on what triggered her team’s phenomenal turnaround
“[There is] a bit of everything, to be honest. Some nerves around. I think it’d be crazy if you weren’t nervous heading into a World Cup final, so it’s a good thing. But there’s a lot of excitement. It’s a great opportunity for our team to go out on a big stage and play really good cricket. We know that it’s going to be tough. England always provide a great contest.”
Captain Meg Lanning on the mood in the Australian camp on match eve
Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ghosh_annesha
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