Colombo, Oct 7: In a mouth-watering rematch, reigning champions, Australia, will face 2009 champions, England, in the final of the ICC Women's World Twenty20 at R Premadasa Stadium today (Sunday, October 7). The two teams met in the final group match of the women's event in Galle, with England beating Australia by seven wickets with 11 balls remaining.
England has been undefeated throughout this tournament, posting decisive wins in its group matches and in the semi-final, played against two-time runner up New Zealand. England beat the White Ferns by seven wickets to reach its second ICC World Twenty20 final in three years.
Australia advanced to the final after beating a spirited West Indies side by 28-runs in the second semi-final. Australia has lost only one match in the tournament, having beaten India and Pakistan in the group stage in Galle.
In the first semi-final played on Thursday, England's spin bowlers restricted the White Ferns to 93 for eight off 20 overs on a slow wicket. Danielle Wyatt and Holly Colvin finished with two wickets each. Colvin is the leading wicket-taker for England, and is the third-highest wicket-taker of the tournament, with seven.
In addition, three out of the top five run-getters in the tournament are from England, with Edwards the leading run-scorer, Sarah Taylor third and all-rounder Laura Marsh fifth.
In Friday's second semi-final, it was again the bowlers who sealed victory. Australia's Julie Hunter took the only five-for in the women's tournament so far, taking 22 for 5 in her four overs. Hunter is currently the leading wicket-taker of the tournament, with nine scalps.
While no Australian batter has scored a half century in the tournament to date, three Australians are in the top ten run-getters of the tournament, with Meg Lanning fourth, Jess Cameron sixth and Lisa Sthalekar ninth.
"It's been a great tournament," said Fields. "England have played well right through. In our match against them, we weren't that far off the mark. We just weren't quite disciplined enough. Tomorrow, we'll need to be disciplined 100% of the time. That'll keep us in good stead."
For Fields, the priority is to not relinquish Australia's hold on the trophy. "Going out tomorrow, both teams will be very competitive," she said. "We want to win that trophy, going in as defending champions."
However, Fields is not taking England lightly. "England are a top-class side. They've been playing well for a number of years now. Lottie (Charlotte Edwards) and Sarah Taylor are world-class players. But I think you have to make sure you plan well for all the players in the team. If we come out tomorrow and focus on our game, and what we can do well, we could have a successful match."
For her part, Edwards was relaxed and confident ahead of a contest that sees both teams seeking a second World Twenty20 title. "What we've talked about a lot in team meetings so far is to keep doing the basics well," said Edwards. "We need to keep it as simple as possible tomorrow. We all know it's a World Twenty20 final but it's still important that we do the basics well and execute our plans. If we do that, we know we can win this trophy."
The poor tournament that England had in 2010 is also an incentive to go all the way. "We're not getting too focused on that," said Edwards. "Two years ago, it was a really disappointing tournament for us. I'm really proud of the way the girls have come back. We're peaking at the right time."
Having started playing for England as a 16 year old, Edwards has seen the women's game evolve from amateur status. "I think the game's unrecognisable from the one I started playing nearly 17 years ago," she said.
"I'm very proud of where the game's come to now - the fielding, the power, the bowling's faster now. Hopefully, that will all be on show tomorrow. We're very lucky that we've got the two best teams in the tournament in the final. Hopefully, we can put on a good spectacle for the women's game, which is really important when we have these double-headers."
England: Charlotte Edwards (captain), Tammy Beaumont, Arran Brindle, Katherine Brunt, Holly Colvin, Lydia Greenway, Jenny Gunn, Danielle Hazell, Amy Jones, Heather Knight, Laura Marsh, Anya Shrubsole, Sarah Taylor, Danielle Wyatt
Australia: Jodie Fields (captain), Alex Blackwell, Nicola Carey, Lauren Ebsary, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Julie Hunter, Jess Jonassen, Meg Lanning, Erin Osborne, Ellyse Perry, Leah Poulton, Lisa Sthalekar
Umpires: Billy Bowden (New Zealand) and Marais Erasmus (South Africa)
Third umpire: Tony Hill (New Zealand))
Fourth umpire: Nigel Llong (England)
Match Referee: Graeme La Brooy (Sri Lanka)
Match starts at 2.30 PM IST