England is the favourite, but New Zealand has been gaining strength as the ICC Women's World Twenty20 2012 has worn on
England are the clear favorites in the clash against New Zealand.
England and New Zealand will clash in the first semi-final of the ICC Women's World Twenty20 2012 at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Thursday (October 4).
While England, who was knocked out in the group stages of the 2010 edition, breezed through by winning all its group matches, New Zealand recovered from a shaky start against West Indies to register two emphatic wins over South Africa and Sri Lanka to seal a berth in the semi-finals.
England has undoubtedly been the team to beat, given its dominant display with both bat and ball. The top-three batters – Charlotte Edwards, Laura Marsh and Sarah Taylor – have all been in ominous form. Marsh's contribution with the ball too has given the side a new dimension. While the middle-order has been exposed in just one match against Pakistan, lack of match time could be the only worry ahead of the knockout game.
The bowling attack, spearheaded by Katherine Brunt, has shown versatility on slow pitches in Galle, but its challenge will be to adapt to slightly different conditions in Colombo, where the pitches have tended to have more bounce. That said, once again, the spinners will have a crucial role to play.
New Zealand, on the other hand, has peaked at the right time. After being given a rude wake-up call by a resurgent West Indies, who chased down 118 quite easily in its opening game, the batting clicked in a pressure game against South Africa. Suzie Bates has led the team from the front, with support from Frances Mackay and Sophie Devine, the all-rounders. The two-time finalists will be looking to its batters once again to set a solid platform.
The bowling unit has been slightly inconsistent, which could be a bit of a concern for the team management. But Bates has highlighted the kind of work Shane Bond, the bowling coach, has put in to ensure the team is well oiled ahead of the pressure clash against the title favourites.
The only previous outing between the two sides at the ICC Women's World T20 came in the final of the 2009 edition at Lord's. New Zealand let the pressure get to it on that occasion, to be bowled out for 85, which England overhauled with six wickets in hand. While history is no indication, New Zealand would want to go one step further and register a berth in the final for the third consecutive time. But England, at least on the face of it, looks much stronger.