England and Australia, the two powerhouse teams in women's cricket, have made it to the final of this year's T20 World Cup, and with the sides so closely matched, it promises to be a cracker.
The Aussies have won the last two tournaments, which includes beating England in the 2012 final in Sri Lanka. However, Charlotte Edwards' side have won the last two Ashes, which must give them confidence. Let's take a closer look at the sides.
Venue: Dhaka, Bangladesh
Date: Sunday, April 6, 2014
Start time: 2:30 p.m. local time, 8:30 a.m. GMT
Weather: Mixed bag expected in Dhaka with the usual searing heat being interspersed with possible rain showers: bbc.co.uk/weather.
TV Info: Sky Sports 2 (U.K.)
England's women emerged from their tour Down Under with Ashes victorious; however, that didn't tell the full story, as they lost both the ODI and T20 series 2-1. Fortunately, with the Test victory carrying more weight in terms of the points system the women have used for the last two Ashes, the visitors retained the urn.
Charlotte Edwards, who has scored over 9,000 international runs, continues to lead the side both officially and in terms of runs, but England's strength lies arguably with their bowling where the always-dangerous Anya Shrubsole (see below) is ably supported by the likes of Rebecca Grundy and Natalia Scriver to comprise a miserly attack that can keep their side interested in most games.
And it's the bowlers who will need to be on the game against, by far and away the biggest scorers in this year's World Cup. The Aussies have racked up three of the eight highest team scores so far, including a brutal 191 against Ireland in Sylhet.
Skipper Meg Lanning (see below) leads the way through sheer weight of runs, but Elyse Villani is also capable of scoring at a rapid rate. Alyssa Healy, niece of the legendary Australian wicketkeeper Ian Healy, has also made some decent contributions in the last couple of games.
Since defeats in their opening games, both sides have progressed serenely to this inevitable blue-ribbon finale.
Last Meeting and Head-to-Head Record
The sides contested a three-match T20 series in Australia a couple of months ago. England won the opening contest, chasing down a stiff target of 150 for the loss of just one wicket. However, the hosts won the next two games after Charlotte Edwards' women recorded first-innings totals of just 98 and 101.
T20 Form (Latest Left to Right)
Australia (from): Meg Lanning (C), Alex Blackwell, Nicole Bolton, Jess Cameron, Sarah Coyte, Rene Farrell, Holly Ferling, Alyssa Healy, Julie Hunter, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Beth Mooney, Erin Osborne, Ellyse Perry, Elyse Villani
England (from): Charlotte Edwards (c), Tamsin Beaumont, Kathryn Cross, Jodie Dibble, Georgia Elwiss, Lydia Greenway, Rebecca Grundy, Jenny Gunn, Danielle Hazell, Amy Jones, Heather Knight, Natalie Sciver, Anya Shrubsole, Sarah Taylor, Frances Wilson
Players to Watch
England's Anya Shrubsole has almost invented a new category of bowler with her "banana balls" being almost unplayable so far in Bangladesh. Her open-shouldered action produces prodigious swing at a decent medium pace, which has proved far too much for most team's top-orders. The Somerset player is the tournament's leading wicket-taker with 12 and will hope for a few more scalps against the Aussies.
The Australian's standout player is their captain Meg Lanning who is the highest-rated player in the ICC's Women's T20 rankings and the only batter to register a century in this year's competition. Coming in first wicket down, the 22-year-old is usually the key to the defending champions' habit of procuring big totals and needs just 18 runs to become the tournament's leading scorer.
It's about time England got one over on the Aussies right? But seriously, this one is very tight to call. England have marginally had the rub of the green over the ladies from Down Under over the last few years, but, like the men, the Australian women seem to raise themselves against their Ashes foes and could sneak this one.
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