Australia Women and New Zealand Women have both defeated Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and have lost to India, who have already secured the top spot in Group A. This will make Match 18, at the Docklands, Melbourne, a virtual quarterfinal: the winner will qualify for the semi-final and take on the table topper from Group B.
Australia recovered well from their defeat against India in the tournament opener. They stuttered in a chase of 123 against Sri Lanka before thrashing Bangladesh by 86 runs. Alyssa Healy (83 in 53) and Beth Mooney (81* in 58) added 151 in 102 balls to help them put on 189/1 before Megan Schutt (4-0-21-3) and Jess Jonassen (4-0-17-2) bowled out Bangladesh for 103.
New Zealand, on the other hand, have looked far from comfortable. They were made to fight by Sri Lanka and lost to India by 3 runs before being bowled out for 91 by Bangladesh after they were 40/1, then 66/2. None of their last seven batters made it to double figures. Hayley Jensen (4-0-11-3) and Leigh Kasperek (3.5-0-23-3) then bowled out Bangladesh for 74 to set a new record: no team has defended a total this low in the T20 World Cup.
Despite their initial stutter against India (against whom they hold a 2-2 record this season), Australia have looked the better team this season.
Ellyse Perry (Australia Women): She has not been in great form (5 runs, 10-0-50-1), but like most champions, Perry – arguably the greatest cricketer in history – often reserves the best when it matters most. Count on her to lift her game in the crunch match.
Hayley Jensen (New Zealand Women): The pick of the New Zealand bowlers, Jensen (11-0-47-6) was named Player of the Match in both matches New Zealand have won this time. She will have to play key role against the traditional rivals.