It was January, the 28th. The first warm-up tie of the Women’s World Cup was about to begin at Mumbai’s MIG Ground. West Indies and Australia looked all geared up to start their campaign on a positive note.
Seven hours later, what transpired was a sight to behold!
The Aussies had made a mockery of the Caribbean side by handing them a 135-run defeat. After being battered black and blue, exhaustion got the better of the West Indian outfit, forcing them to call off their second warm-up game. Even an extreme optimist wouldn’t have expected these two teams to fight it off for the world title, two weeks later.
But cricket being as unpredictable as it is, Merissa Aguilleira & Co defied all odds to make a grand entry into their maiden World Cup final. ‘Grand’, because they beat this very Australian team by eight runs in their final Super Six encounter to qualify, putting an end to Australia’s unbeaten run in this tournament.
On Sunday, when these two sides lock horns for one last time at the Brabourne Stadium, it will be a battle of the bold versus the beautiful, underdogs taking on five-time champions.
Aguilleira, however, feels they have an upper hand following Wednesday’s win. “We will have a psychological advantage over them. In the previous game, everything went wrong for us with players falling ill and getting injured. I think it was God who saw us through that game and we are really thankful for it. It’s a big accomplishment for us and we have to grab hold of it,” she said.
With Deandra Dottin in the form of her life, having scored 204 runs besides picking up nine wickets, the Windies cannot be underestimated. Aussie skipper Jodie Fields seconds that. “Deandra is a powerful stroke maker and has played well. But you can’t just worry about one person in the team. The whole West Indies line-up is a very competitive team,” she said.
Yes, the women from Down Under are strong favourites to lay their hands on the coveted trophy for a sixth time in ten editions.
But expect the West Indies to rewrite history. While Darren Sammy’s team went gaga with ‘Gangnam’ style when they won the T20 World Cup in 2012, the women, in Aguilleira’s words, will look to go Waka Waka. Either ways, it shall be a treat!