Women's Cricket World Cup Final: Healy and Perry to shine
Two very one-sided semi-finals weren't much fun to watch and Australia could beat England pretty easily in the final, says Jamie Pacheco.
"These are Australia’s two star performers and have been for a while now: one with bat, the other with ball. It could prove to be a smart strategy to spread your money across the pair of them."
Aussies come good when it matters
I must admit I was always of the view that Australia were a little short to win this tournament. Before it began when they were about 6/4 and then again going into the semi-finals after they'd lost to India and were just 10/11 by that stage. But I guess I was wrong.
They had an off day in that defeat to India, fair enough. But they came good when it really mattered, outplaying the Windies in all three disciplines and quite frankly, whooping them.
With the bat, Alyssa Healy was excellent once again. Her 46 came off just 38 balls on what was a slightly slow wicket and included four fours and a six. Rachel Haynes' 25 off 15 will be quickly forgotten because of the margin of defeat but on another day could have made all the difference.
With the ball, Elyse Perry was brilliant, returning figures of two for two off, yep, two. Delissa Kimmince and Ashleigh Gardner also took two wickets with both going for less than 4.5 an over though in truth those figures have as much to do with the Windies' brainless batting than anything they did out of the ordinary themselves.
Hard to figure out this England side
Let's start by addressing the elephant in the room. India's decision to drop their most senior, in-form and prolific player in Mithani Raj against England in the semis, was ridiculous. This is what Raj's manager had to say about it and more precisely skipper Harmanpreet Kaur (presumably heavily involved in the decision): "manipulative, lying, immature, undeserving captain...the women's team believes in politics and not sport."
Who knows what's going on there but it's hard to see how a player who has scored two fifties in two knocks at this World Cup was undeserving of a place.
Her absence made it pretty easy for England, restricting India to just 113 and chasing it with minimum of fuss. The wickets were shared between Heather Knight, Kirstie Gordon and Sophie Ecclestone and the experienced duo of batsmen/housemates Amy Jones and Nat Sciver formed a partnership that made the chase little more than a procession.
There's been a little bit of everything this tournament from England: a washed-out game, a couple of iffy wins, a bad day at the office against the Windies in the last group match and a thoroughly professional performance here. Which England will show up in the final?
No surprises in the prices here. Aussies strong favourites at 4/7, England out at 11/8.
Can we make a case for England? Not easily. Only one England player - Amy Jones - has broken the 100-run mark from four knocks, which is pretty poor. Even more worrying when you consider that if anything, it's in the batting department that England are normally best equipped to compete with the Aussies.
One or more players are going to have to have to stand up with the bat here and with the possible exception of Jones or Nat Sciver, it's hard to see who that might be.
England admittedly showed great guts and determination in winning that 50-over final last summer from a losing position but it's hard to imagine these battle-hardened Aussies folding like a pack of cards the way the Indians did that day.
You'll see worse 4/7 shots this weekend but if you prefer to back outsiders, you're probably better off keeping your money in your pocket for this one.
Alyssa Healy is a pretty obvious candidate to win the Player of the Tournament award. In four times she's batted (she was concussed during that defeat to India and didn't bat) she's scored 48, 56, 52 and 46. On each of those four occasions she picked up the man-of-the-match award. Had she got it in that match against India as well and made it five in a row, it will surely have been some sort of world record. Healy is 9/2 to get it again here and holds all the trump cards: plays for the favourite, opens the batting, is in the form of her life.
But let's not forget about Elyse Perry. You can see why she didn't get MOM last time out: she only bowled two overs. But let's recall they only went for two runs and yielded two wickets. Had she been given another couple of overs earlier on or had the Windies batted a little longer, she would surely have picked up at least one more wicket and the gong would have been as good as hers.
In a game where spin and subtle variations of pace are normally what cause batsmen trouble, she's a rare example of express pace getting wickets. England will have seen plenty of her over the years but knowing what's coming next and being able to deal with it are two very different things. At 28 and with more than 200 international limited-overs matches under her belt, she's seen it all before and will be desperate to make her mark when it really matters.
These are Australia's two star performers and have been for a while now: one with bat, the other with ball. It could prove to be a smart strategy to spread your money across the pair of them.