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England vs Australia, once again

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And then there were four. New Zealand, England, Australia and the West Indies are the teams left standing after the group stages of the Women's World Twenty/20.

In an up and down tournament, none of the teams have performed as well as they would have liked to. The Cricket pitches here have certainly not assisted teams in scoring freely, unhindered by the pressure of representing your nation.

ICC_T20_World_Cup_2016_India_WorldT20_cricketThe shortest format of the game has relied heavily on power and athleticism as the key ingredients to success. Whereas in this T20 World Cup, successful teams have had to use their minds more than ever to unlock the secrets of accumulating runs on dust bowls that don't offer a lot of pace or bounce, but instead makes the ball turn at right angles.

In the first semi final to be held in Delhi, England, who are the number one team in Group 2, will take on their arch rivals Australia. Although England sit on top, two of their wins have been nail biting affairs against India and West Indies in Dharamsala. In both encounters the top order looked strong and showed positive signs that things were clicking for them. But as soon as one wicket fell, it soon turned into eight for nothing.

The positive for England is that they came through those games, with the confidence gained from knowing that they got across the line.

England's main spinner, Danielle Hazell has returned home with a calf injury. Her replacement, Laura Marsh, will be raring to go against some of her Sydney Sixers teammates. While Marsh didn't play the entire season in the Women's Big Bash League, as she was an International replacement player (therefore only allowed to play when any of the five international players were unable to play), when she did play she was extremely successful with her dart-like off breaks.

Australia had a scare against South Africa in their first match, were beaten convincingly by New Zealand in their second encounter, and have only found some form in their last two games. Going for an unprecedented fourth title in a row has meant that the Australians are still the hunted.

Having lost two T20 series (against India and New Zealand) in the build up to this T20 World Cup indicates that the team hasn't quite gelled together yet, with the top order unable to produce good performances. In the last two matches, Elyse Villani and Meg Lanning have found some form, but they will need all their top six to chip in with a good 20 or so each, with one notching up a half century, if they want to make it to their fourth consecutive final.

The head to head in T20 World Cup has Australia in front by one victory, and they have beaten England twice in the Final. Therefore, you would expect them to hold a psychological edge heading into this semi final; if the Southern Stars get themselves into an advantageous position during the match, expect them to exert the full effect of their psychological edge.

However, don't discount the English. They are a gritty team that finds ways to win cricket games, even though the risks they take can ruin their own chances. Sarah Taylor is the key, for me. If she finds the destructive form she displayed for the South Australian side that won the Women's National Cricket League (the Australian women's 50 over domestic competition), then England will be playing their third T20 World Cup final.

My prediction is that Australia will win, due to the depth of their squad and the experience they have shown in this tournament, though it may very well go down to the wire.

 


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An all-rounder who retired from International Cricket in 2013, Lisa made her debut for Australia in...

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