Game Plan | CWC22 | SF#1 - Australia vs West Indies
Written By: Jeet Vachhajanai
Picture Courtesy: Getty Images
It’s a clash between an undefeated team, and a team that has scraped its way through to the semis. It looks like a heavily lop-sided match-up and this is not only when we look at how the two teams have performed in this tournament but also how they have done historically when they have faced each other.
One can only hope that some bowler or Deandra Dottin, Hayley Matthews, and Stafanie Taylor collectively put up a masterclass to ensure that the West Indies have any chance of winning this game.
To beat the best, you have to plan and play like the best. You cannot rock up to the game hoping that the 6-time champions will have a bad day. That’s the mantra the women from the Caribbean need to follow.
WHAT WORKS AT WELLINGTON
It’s known as the windy Wellington for a reason, and teams have already got a taste of how the different conditions greet you at this venue. It brings about a different challenge altogether.
One thing observed here was the lack of swing for the pacers after the first few overs. The spinners who could generate drift here were the more successful ones in the 6 games that took place at this venue in CWC 22. That’s the reason why the most successful bowlers at this venue included the likes of Ashleigh Gardner, Salma Khatun, Charlie Dean, & Sophie Ecclestone.
The pacers struggled here, and so did the leg-spinners who had a hard time here. The only pacer who was promising here was Ellyse Perry, and a part of the reason behind that was the fact that she has played domestic cricket at this venue several times when she represented Wellington. But, she’s ruled out and Australia will look at Darcie Brown to take over.
IGNORE THE STATS, BACK THE EXPERIENCE OF ANISA
Anisa Mohammed has bowled against 10 teams in ODIs and has an excellent record against 8 of them. The 2 teams against whom she hasn't fared well are Australia and South Arica. These were the very two matches for which she was left out for Karishma Ramharack.
The 3rd game that she didn't play in the tournament was against Bangladesh, a team against whom she had never played before. Basically, all of Ramharack's games in the CWC were those for which Anisa was left out.
It’s the big semi-final, and you can surely not leave out the best bowler in the history of West Indies’ cricket, even if she has a bad record.
A big reason comes down to the venue stats mentioned earlier, and the fact that she is still a very unique RAO bowler. She can get the ball to drift and she can find that minimal spin away from the RHB. The very type of delivery that sees many batters including Australia’s highest run-scorer Meg Lanning struggle against.
My mind was quick to cast back to the warm-up game earlier in this tournament. I remembered that Anisa got rid of Lanning in that game, so I checked the footage. I found the right time to freeze the frame and the dismissal was identical. Lanning was dismissed to Salma Khatun at this venue similarly as well.
West Indies can bowl an over or two of Shamilia Connell first up to Lanning, but then needs to be quick to bring in Anisa.
KARISHMA RAMHARACK – HERE TO STAY!
Windies have several off-spinners in their system, but Ramharack stands out as a unique bowler alongside Anisa. Her bowling is a little unorthodox. She’s quicker through the air and can spin it both ways, thus bringing in an element of mystery about her.
*Min. 15 overs
West Indies will have to get rid of an extra pacer to accommodate Ramharack with Fletcher ruled out. It’s the spin attack that can keep the Australian batters on their toes, or else they will run away with the game.
STALLING THE AUSTRALIAN PACERS
Australian pace attack has been weakened with Perry ruled out. But, all the pacers barring Darcie Brown have a common weakness. They struggle when there is an LHB-RHB batting combination in the middle.
I had raised this point several times and we got to see it take its effect when Australia met Pakistan and later New Zealand and India. Whenever an LHB in Bismah Maroof, Amy Satterthwaite, Smriti Mandhana, or Yastika Bhatia were present in the middle, the likes of Perry, Schutt, and co. were all over the place. They found it very hard to be disciplined with their line, but only some batters were able to capitalize on these errors.
West Indies only have 1 proper LHB in their team, and that’s Kycia Knight who I feel is a fantastic stroke-maker. It will be imperative for her to bat in the top-order. I’d personally prefer seeing Dottin and Kycia open, but with that being unlikely, Kycia has to come at #3 and hold one end up for as long as she can.
When we look at two of the most successful partnerships in this tournament against Australia, it comes as no surprise to me.
Here’s my line-up for West Indies: D. Dottin, K. Knight, H. Matthews, S. Taylor, S. Campbelle, C. Nation. R. Williams/A. Alleyne, C. Henry, K. Ramharack, A. Mohammed, S. Connell
Their bowling might as well hold up alright, but it’s the extra cushioning they require with the bat. Hence, it might be better for them to go with Rashada over Alleyne and hope that Dottin can bowl 7-8 overs which will be very crucial!
In football terms, West Indies is a team where 2 play Forward (Dottin & Matthews), 1 Midfielder (Taylor), and 8 are Defenders. A big reason why this team struggles to put runs on the board!
NEGOTIATING THE WEST INDIES
It’s interesting to see how all odds are in the favor of Australia. Wellington is the venue where Australia played the maximum no. of games than any other team, and this is where they are playing again. They played Windies over here as well and managed to demolish them.
In that game, Australie fielded two leg-spinners in Alana King and Amanda Wellington, but only the latter bowled. With Perry out, it looks like a strong possibility that Annabel Sutherland will continue to be in the squad with Beth Mooney batting at #4.
The West Indies have had a shocking record against the spinners in this World Cup, and Australia might look to back the spin trip of Ashleigh Gardner, Jess Jonassen, and Alana King to do the job. The likes of Gardner and Jonassen have already been extremely successful at this venue.