KOLKATA: A spirited West Indies women's team, in their bid to make it a 'Dream Double' for the assortment of islands, will come out all guns blazing to stop the juggernaut of the three-time defending champions Australia in the final of the ICC World Twenty20, here tomorrow.
The Southern Stars as the Aussie women team are known in the cricketing circuit, have been on a roll since winning the second edition of the Women's World Twenty20 in 2010.
The Meg Lanning led Australian women's side choked arch-rivals England's 133-run chase with a five-run victory in the semifinal. Lanning has been their leading run-getter with
149 runs and against England her 50-ball 55 on a slow Kotla deck was the cornerstone to their winning total of 132/6.
More than Lanning's effort it was inspiring with the way Australia prevailed in small contributions from the toporder to inflict their killer instinct on England.
They were provided a strong start from the openers Alyssa Healy and Elyse Villani with a 41-run stand, their highest of the tournament.
Under criticism for over dependence on Lanning, Alyssa took the attack to the English pace spearhead Katherine Brunt, that really set the tone as they could muster a fine Powerplay performance.
"We've been pleased with our squad of 15 and our overall performance. I disagree that we relied heavily on one player. We've chased low totals. We've really benefited from the way
Elyse Villani has kicked into gears and taken the game away in the opening overs," Australian vice-captain Alex Blackwell said.
"You can't ignore the impact of someone like Alyssa Healy and the way she took on Katherine... Small contributions can really be of high impact. Obviously Meg Lanning has been a real rock for us throughout. We've got plenty of players around. Ellyse Perry has been instrumental in our batting order in the recent years."
In the spin-friendly and slow conditions of Eden Gardens their leg-break bowler Kristen Beams will look to make a potent force with left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen.
Megan Schutt and Rene Farrell with their change of pace and the accuracy will be key to their pace bowling as they aim to win an unprecedented fourth successive title.
From their perspective, the Southern Stars will hope that Blackwell return to form and display her array of strokes which may prove to be the difference.
The West Indies women on the other hand living a dream after Britney Cooper's maiden T20I half-century enabled them progress to their first ever final as they would look to win
the silverware to inspire Darren Sammy and Co later in the day as they will be eyeing for a double in the World Twenty20. The Southern Stars may just be the heavyweights but on form the West Indies Women team stays ahead with their swagger and substance.
Fresh from her matchwinning 48-ball 61 against in their win over New Zealand Women in the semis at the Wankhede in Mumbai, Cooper will be a dangerous proposition at No 3 for the Southern Stars.
Ahead of her, skipper Stefanie Taylor who is their leading scorer with 187 runs from five outings will look to provide the start with Hayley Matthews.
Boasting eight wickets with her best of 3/13 Stefanie will also relish the Eden conditions and will look to play a role with her offbreaks.
Stefanie's double-strike in the 17th over to dismiss Amy Sattherthwaite and Sara McGlashan had subsided New Zealand's challenge.
The Windies are also far from being a one-woman side as in Deandra Dottin down the order has played her role in infusing the intensity as and when required. It's a team of utility players and the Windies will benifit heavily with Deandra chipping in with her gentel medium pace that has so far fetched her seven wickets giving regular breakthroughs.
Deandra's sharp fielding is also noteworthy as her direct throw from point to dismiss dangerous looking Sophie Devine was crucial in restricting New Zealand to 137/8 in their chase of 144.
As for the stats, it's heavily tilted in favour of the Australian women have never lost to their opponents from the West Indies with an 8-0 win-loss record in T20Is and 8-1 in ODIs.
It will however remain to be seen how the spirited Windies live up to the experienced challenge from the Australia Women who have been a force to reckon with since the days of Belinda Clark.
Australia Women: Meg Lanning (c), Alex Blackwell, Kristen Beams, Lauren Cheatle, Rene Farrell, Alyssa Healy, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Elyse Villani, Nicola Carey, Sarah Coyte, Holly Ferling, Jess Jonassen, Erin Osborne, Megan Schutt.
West Indies Women: Stafanie Taylor (C), Shakera Selman, Marissa Aguilleira, Shemaine Campbelle, Shamilia Connell, Britney Cooper, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Stacy Ann-King, Kycia Knight, Kyshona Knight, Hayley Matthews, Anisa Mohammed, Shaquana Quintyne, Tremayne Smartt
Match starts: 2.30pm IST.