After beating South Africa by 137 runs, England will look to stop six-time winner Australia from winning the 7th title of the Women’s World Cup (WCC) 2022. Australia will be out to underline their credentials and strive for it to aim for the title for the seventh time when it takes on England in the ultimate showdown on Sunday in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Both England and Australia are marching to the big day in their own way and will face each other in an ICC World Cup final for the first time in 34 years. The two sides started their campaigns together in Hamilton almost a month ago.
Defending champions England are determined not to give up the trophy easily and captain Heather Knight hopes the experience gained from winning the 2017 WCC can help her team beat hot Australia for this year’s title.
Four-time champions England, who have struggled since losing their first three games, stormed into the semi-finals with a resounding victory over Bangladesh. They defeated second-ranked South Africa by 137 runs to reach the final for the sixth time.
“We’ve been mistreated a few times in the last few months, but being here in a World Cup final is amazing. We’re going in as an underdog, which is certainly fair (but) what a story has been written for us as we’re going to beat them on Sunday. We’re going in as equals. There’s a clean slate. There’s no pressure at all on us to get it right,” skipper Heather Knight told the BBC.
England know they will have to put in a stellar performance when they return to Hagley Oval on Sunday to face Australia, who they have failed to beat in their last seven one-day games.
While Danni Wyatt clocked in 129 runs from 125 deliveries to help set an impressive victory target for the South Africans, spinner Sophie Ecclestone finished the job 6-36.
Australian all-round star Ellyse Perry is on track to take her place in the showpiece. She missed the team’s last two games in New Zealand with a jersey number. Perry suffered back cramps in their penultimate round robin match against South Africa and underwent two crunch training sessions in Christchurch ahead of the final.
Since losing to India in the 2017 World Cup semi-final, Australia has lost only two ODIs, including a record 26 consecutive wins. With Beth Mooney, Meg Lanning and Alyssa Healy leading the way and Jess Jonassen and Megan Schutt leading the way, Australia will be tough to beat for England.
Spinner Jonassen, who is only behind Ecclestone in the world bowling rankings, said: “It’s the Ashes in something I think is even more prestigious. A World Cup final against England, it doesn’t get much bigger.”
(With input from Reuters)
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