New Zealand v Australia, Women's World Twenty20 final, Barbados May 15, 2010

In-form foes in final grudge match

The men's World Twenty20 final is a match-up of long-standing adversaries and so is the women's. As either Paul Collingwood or Michael Clarke will be swigging the champagne, Australia and New Zealand will be slugging it out for their silverware and both captains have called on the supporters to stay around at the Kensington Oval and see what the women's game offers.

Last year in England the semis and final were held before the men's encounters, which worked superbly as good-sized crowds arrived early to watch. This time, largely due to TV scheduling issues, they will play second and could have a lot to live up to after the likes of David Warner, Kevin Pietersen and Shaun Tait have held centre stage.

"The men's game might be the highlight for some, but for us it's this one that matters," Aimee Watkins, the New Zealand captain, said. "Hopefully some will hang around and will be able to see what women's cricket has to offer as it's improved a lot in the last 18 months."

Alex Blackwell, Australia's skipper, believes this tournament has continued to raise the bar. "With the standard of cricket all the teams have played means it will be a great match," she said. "Whoever decides to stay around after the men's final, I'm sure they'll see some brilliant hitting and fielding. The standard of women's cricket has improved and is actually a very good game to watch at the moment."

One aspect where the game has clearly progressed, and has benefited from Twenty20, is in the striking power of the players. Earlier in the tournament, West Indian Deandra Dottin hit a hundred from 37 deliveries as the hosts created a surprise by securing a semi-final berth as they dumped out defending champions England.

In the knockout match between New Zealand and West Indies Sara McGlashan crashed her way to 84 off 55 balls with six fours and two sixes. "Our key has been our power hitting, especially in the semi-final when we put on quite a few towards the end of the innings," Watkins said. "That's our gameplan, to have a solid base for the final overs. I think we added about 120 in the last 12 overs against West Indies and it's one of our strengths."

Blackwell thinks that Twenty20 is helping the women's product expand beyond the traditionally strong nations. "It has evolved our game," Blackwell said. "Twenty20 cricket is a big part of our programme now and we are all looking at improving ourselves in that format. Women's cricket has strengthened very quickly over the last few years and to see West Indies come through as they did was fantastic."

On Sunday the two finalists will only be thinking of themselves. Australia against New Zealand in any sport is a grudge match. Earlier this year the sides shared results on either end of scale with New Zealand taking the Twenty20s 5-0 while Australia finished the ODIs with an 8-0 advantage.

"We've had a good rivalry over the past 30-40 years," Watkins said. "It makes it special to have a final between New Zealand and Australia and just adds that little edge considering we know each other so well and each other's games inside out.

Blackwell added: "It's really fitting that it's the two form teams going into the final and it will be an excellent match. It will be very hard fought."

Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Arisha on May 16, 2010, 13:19 GMT

    YeAH, what a brilliant idea in coming with a schedule such as this *eyes rolling* if you were looking for more followers.

    Anyhow, I am with Team NZ as always, whatever format.....that is my second team. Go ferns!!!

    Best wishes from Pakistan.

  • Dummy4 on May 16, 2010, 9:48 GMT

    I do not think it is a good idea to have men's and women's world cup final on same day in same venue. It is like pressurizing men's cricket fans to watch women's match by having tickets for both the matches bundled together. It does not give option for men's cricket fans to buy just the men's finals ticket and pay the price for watching just that match rather than price for both the matches.

  • Dummy4 on May 16, 2010, 8:50 GMT

    @Biswanath Mohapatra

    What? I'm fairly sure the Aus Eng Rivalry is the most famous and oldest rivalry in world cricket, it's also actually alive in all forms as well, unlike Ind-Pakistan

  • Dummy4 on May 16, 2010, 4:06 GMT

    If only NZ media would give decent coverage to this. Our Radio NZ Media Watch programme this morning rightly criticised the media for not publicising and celebrating the White Ferns games and achievements. Good luck to them in what should be a great final. I will certainly be glued to Skye TV (now I have discovered, with difficulty, that it IS being televised) as an ex Wellington player who follows both women's and men's cricket with huge enjoyment.

  • Neil on May 16, 2010, 3:55 GMT

    I hope the crowds do stay... it obviously would have been better for the crowd if the West Indies had made the final but I think it will be great game to watch.

    I think T20 has been good for the Women's game even more than it has been for the men. We've seen that women really can belt the ball out of the ground.

    So... how long before we have mixed sides? I don't think there's any genuine reason in T20 to have two separate competitions... Lets see 6 men and 5 women per side. I think it would probably result in closer games too.

    If the IPL was mixed I might even start watching it. Right now it's pretty boring. And we would finally see women cricketers getting the respect AND the pay that they deserve.

    And I'm a man, by the way! But as a Kiwi I think a mixed black-caps side would be right at the top of the world rankings :)

  • lucy on May 16, 2010, 2:23 GMT

    Funny thing about T20 - it's accused of being a levelling game where differences of quality between teams don't matter so much... and yet in both genders, the in-form teams have got to the final! :-) Alas, I won't be able to watch this match for I live somewhere where I can only watch it online, not on telly. I've paid Willow TV to watch the world cup, but they're only supplying half the world cup - the men's half. Darn! What DO I have to do to watch a women's T20 game?

  • Dummy4 on May 16, 2010, 1:58 GMT

    I still believe Aus-Eng men worldcup final will be the biggest crowd puller. They are like Ind-Pak of T20.

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