Today looks to be a historic day for all involved as we witness the semifinals at the inaugural Women's U19 T20 World Cup, taking place in Potchefstroom, South Africa.
The second semifinal of the day will see two greats of the game battling it out for a place in the final on Sunday, England and Australia. England enters this semifinal in perfect form, 5 wins from 5 and a top of the table position in both the group stage and Super Six. Australia are just as impressive, with 4 wins from 5, and their only loss coming from a tight encounter with Bangladesh in their first game of the tournament.
VENUE - JB Marks Oval, Potchefstroom | Time - 13:45 (Local), 11:45 (GMT)
The JB Marks Oval holds host to this exciting tie and is a ground England are heavily familiar with, playing 4 from 5 encounters there. The playing surface has continued to have lots to offer with high totals and wickets galore on show throughout the tournament.
The form England have held throughout this tournament makes them seemingly unbeatable, the well-rounded side has the player for all scenarios and has picked up a whopping 43 wickets and scored a groundbreaking 984 runs from their 5 games and they show no signs of slowing down.
However behind this impressive form is a different question altogether with England having a problem all teams wish to contend with, who do they play in this semifinal? Throughout the tournament, England has used all 15 members of their squad and have rotated an average of 4 players per game. So it's safe to say this selection process will be giving Skipper Grace Scrivens a bit of a headache.
Players to watch
Grace Scrivens - Skipper Grace Scrivens' rise to the top has made her one-to-watch status reach a whole new level. A regular starter with her region, Sunrisers in a season that saw her pick up the Batter, Bowler, and Player of the season awards followed by experience in The Hundred with London Spirit has seen the production of a truly graceful cricketer.
Able to hold her head opening the order, scoring 269 runs so far placing her in the top 5 for this tournament as well as in the field taking 6 wickets with her efficient off-spin. There are no signs of this youngster slowing down and her calm head will be crucial over the next few days in that England camp, and I'm sure she won't be quiet in these final games.
Ellie Anderson - The final Super Six game vs the West Indies was well and truly The Anderson Tales, picking up 5 wickets from her four-over spell with an economy of 3 it's safe to say the young pacer is sticking to the path of her prolific last name!
With 7 wickets from her 3 bowling spells, she's been highly successful, and not only is her targeting of the stumps highly profitable for England from a wicket-taking perspective she really can do it all, reducing runs with many maiden overs. The use of Anderson could prove to be key if England wish to break down this high-quality Australian batting attack.
Charis Pavely - Worcestershire's Charis Pavely remains one to watch heading into the crunch stage of this tournament. The middle-order batter provides a firm base for England to stand on and has contributed 87 runs in her three explosive cameos. The 360-degree batter also remains key in the field as her hands-on approach has led to wickets produced and MANY runs reduced. The young spark certainly will have a spring in her step heading into this final game and her eagle-eyed approach could be crucial if England wish to reach the final on Sunday.
When you think of Australia in the game of cricket, the success which comes to your mind is plentiful especially when it comes to the Women's team. Holders of the 50-over world cup, T20 World Cup, and Women's Ashes, the senior Australian side has proven to be lethal and their U19s have been just as impressive in the qualities they've shown.
A shaky start vs Bangladesh could have led to their tournament going in either direction but it's safe to say it went up. Comfortable victories against the USA and Sri Lanka in the initial group stage followed by a highly notable victory against favourites India (led by Indian senior team opening batter Shafali Verma) and the UAE in the Super Six saw them secure qualification after they came second in the group and if anyone's going to break this England teams impressive run of form the Aussies could be it.
Players to watch
Ella Hayward - Hayward's rise in the cricketing world over the past year has been highly notable, featuring in the WBBL for the Renegades in the latest edition of the tournament she made quite the bang. This tournament, the off-spinner has certainly built on that status, being key for Australia with both bat, scoring 92 runs and ball, taking 4 wickets, whilst being highly economical. The rising star also remains key in the Australian camp from a leadership point of view with her valuable experience and cricket knowledge. Australia will certainly need to utilize Hayward if they wish to overcome this strong England side.
Claire Moore - The right-handed batter entered the tournament with quite a bang, scoring a half-century (Australia's first) in their opening game against Bangladesh and despite a slight dip in form in the group stages, the Super Six saw the youngster score 25 not out in that key game against India as well as contributing 16 vs the UAE. She continues to strike the ball cleanly and explosive innings like that of the opening could be all that stands in the way of Australia and the grand finale.
Maggie Clark - As far as young bowlers go, Maggie Clark is one of the best. The right-arm medium bowler has taken 9 wickets so far and although she may be the youngest member of the squad, it's safe to say her explosive personality and continued high energy has been key for this Australian side and she will be an important member of the squad in this semi-final.