Stafanie Taylor the key for West Indies as it goes up against defending champion Australia in ICC Women's World Twenty20 semi-final
Stafanie Taylor's contribution as an all-rounder will make her the X factor for West Indies against Australia.
What makes the second semi-final day (October 5) at the ICC World Twenty20 2012 very special is that for the first time, both the women's and the men's matches scheduled on the day will feature the same teams. In this case Australia and the West Indies.
Both teams in the women's chapter have so far had a smooth run into the semi-finals, with two wins in three group games each. So it would be fair to say the match will be a contest of equals, with not much to separate them on form. However, Australia is the defending champion, and the team has been playing aggressive cricket and would look to cement its place in the final in keeping with its status.
Before the tournament began, Jodie Fields, the Australian captain, spoke about the need to adjust quickly to the low bounce of Sri Lanka. While the conditions in Colombo are not expected to be too different from Galle, where the group matches were held, the team that adapts to the conditions quickly will undoubtedly have the upper hand.
Australia’s top order has been amongst the runs through the group stages. Led by Meg Lanning and Alyssa Healy, Australia has been getting off to explosive starts. Add to this the form of Jess Cameron, and the batting order looks formidable. Lisa Sthalekar, the all-rounder, will be the trump card the Australians would rely on, given the conditions would suit her the most.
The bowling department will have to pull up its socks, given that it couldn't defend 144 against England in the final group game, but such is the format that even good attacks have been taken for runs, as the men's competition has proved. In Elysse Perry and Julie Hunter, Australia have a good new ball pair, capable of swinging the ball at good pace.
West Indies, one would believe, has peaked at the right time. Coming out of a disastrous 4-1 ODI series loss in England, there were concerns over the team's batting unit. Stafanie Taylor has been getting runs at the top of the order, but it is her contribution as a bowler that makes her the X factor. She is currently the leading wicket taker in the tournament with six wickets.
After her fine showing in the opening game against New Zealand, expectations will also be riding high on Deandra Dottin, while Juliana Nero is also an explosive hitter.