In this series, Hot Seat, we present our writers with a tricky cricketing scenario and ask them to captain their way out of it.
Scenario: You are captaining a Rest of World XI against Australia in a benefit match at the MCG after the 2020 Women's T20 World Cup. Australia have just lifted their fifth trophy. Your ROW XI sets 190 to win, and Australia bring it down to 23 off two overs with six wickets in hand. Alyssa Healy and Nicola Carey are at the crease. Whom do you give the 19th over to?
Andrew McGlashan: Sophie Ecclestone
Ecclestone has shown nerves of steel at various points in her young career - not least earlier this year when she was given the Super Over against Australia in a tri-series game - and has risen to be the No.1-ranked T20I bowler in the world. Her height enables her to fire the ball in at the batters' feet, which will be vital to prevent Healy and Carey getting underneath the ball, but neither is she afraid of holding a delivery back and tempting them. It could be a bit of a risk with her spinning the ball into the left-handed Carey, but you would back her to hold her nerve and give her team-mate enough runs to defend in the final over.
Vishal Dikshit: Marizanne Kapp
With Healy and Carey at the crease, the 19th over should be given to a bowler who is familiar with both batters and the conditions in Melbourne. I'd also want someone who is aggressive and performs well under pressure. That would make me go for Marizanne Kapp. A gun bowler, Kapp has won South Africa close matches with both ball and bat. To add to her credentials, she was the Sydney Sixers' top wicket-taker in the 2019-20 WBBL and had been the most economical bowler in the four editions before that. Also worth remembering is her impressive performance in the Super Over against the Melbourne Renegades in the 2019 WBBL semi-finals. Bowling to big-hitters Dani Wyatt and Sophie Molineux, Kapp had conceded just six runs.
Against Australia, I'd back her to run in with intent and target the stumps. She's got pace, accurate yorkers, variations, the ability to bowl full and wide, and the discipline to bowl to her field. Also, it was in the 19th over that she claimed a WBBL hat-trick against the Melbourne Stars just eight months ago.
Alan Gardner: Katherine Brunt
Experience, a cool head, and a decent yorker are the required ingredients in order to close down Australia's chances ahead of the final over. Getting rid of Healy would be handy too, so let's turn to the bowler who has had most success against her in women's T20Is - Brunt has taken Healy's wicket eight times (the next best is three). She may not have the pace of her pomp, but Brunt has been at the forefront with England for over a decade, winning games and trophies with her combative approach. She's also done the job in an almost identical scenario: with Australia needing 22 off 12 at Bristol in the 2017 World Cup group stage, Brunt conceded five runs and a leg bye. Full and straight or a bumper barrage, Brunt's got the tools and knows how to use them.
Shashank Kishore: Marizanne Kapp
Ideally, you want to bowl someone who can nail yorkers at will. Having opened the innings, Healy may have just tired a little by the 19th over. Also, very rarely do we see her scythe the ball over point or squeeze it between point and short third. Healy's game is built on brute force and taking apart spin. That's where Kapp's experience will come in handy. She uses the crease well and can execute yorkers. So the plan to Healy will be to pack my off side and attempt wide yorkers for a couple of deliveries. For Carey, I'll have two fielders behind square - a deep square and fine leg - and look to go full, straight, and fast. Those two fielders are just for insurance, in case she attempts to scoop or paddle.
Sharda Ugra: Katherine Brunt
It would be nice to bung Deepti Sharma in here and watch the lovely loop lull the most explosive batter in the game into a trap. But no. Healy's power overrides the absence of pace on the ball, and her game awareness gets her past the opposition's well-telegraphed intentions. Healy will have to be stopped before Carey and Australia feel the pressure. The best person to remove Healy then is a hardy, reliable campaigner. In steps Brunt. She is the one bowler who has had Healy's number, dismissing her eight times in their 18 T20I encounters. It is Brunt's speed and ability to bowl the heavy ball or the skiddy bouncer along with her changes of pace that could get Healy tied up and then hitting out. Take out Healy in the 19th and you take Australia out of the game.
Annesha Ghosh: Marizanne Kapp
Let's assume the pitch is on the quicker side, similar to the one used in the final. Against a left-hand right-hand combination boasting the power and insouciant gap-piercing ability of Healy and Carey, you need a quick with the ability to move the ball both ways. Given a stable base is the predominant source of Healy's power, South Africa pacer Marizanne Kapp may be able to trouble her with what Smriti Mandhana calls her "in-between" swingers. Kapp is good at subtly adjusting her length and, though she has never dismissed Healy in international cricket, the duo's familiarity with each other as Sydney Sixers team-mates could work in the bowler's favour. Kapp's angry-fast-bowler zip and bag of tricks might do enough to frustrate Carey, the more inventive of the two batters, with a reputation for plucky cameos built on reverse paddles and relentless plundering off the back foot square of the wicket.