On a pitch that played better than the one on which England beat New Zealand in the first semi-final, Australia’s seam bowlers Ellyse Perry and Julie Huntertook seven wickets between them, as West Indies fell well short of making a contest of the chase. Perry, the 21-year-old who also plays football for Australia, took two early wickets to snuff out any ambition West Indies had of chasing 116.
Having chased in all three of their group matches, and only failing in one pursuit – in eight Duckworth/Lewis overs to Sri Lanka – West Indies were eyeing going one better than their semi-final defeat in 2010. But the loss of their best players, Stafanie Taylor and Deandra Dottin, for a combined 9, left too many for the rest of the order.
Perry, one of the quickest bowlers in the women’s game, operating around the 75 mph mark, was given the new ball despite the slow, low surface on which West Indies used spinners for 17 overs of the Australia innings. Immediately, there was a hint of swing and in Perry’s second over she cleaned up Taylor with a quick, straight delivery that the batsman played around and lost her middle stump.
Dottin followed when Perry returned to bowl the seventh over, also playing across the line, to a length ball that struck the top of off stump. Perry also inadvertently ran out Shermaine Campbelle while the batsman was backing up, after dropping a sharp caught and bowled chance.
There was further joy for Australian seam bowling as Hunter also found some swing and trapped Merissa Aguilleira lbw with a ball that moved away from middle and leg. It was the first success in Hunter’s five-wicket haul as she returned to mop up a floundering tail.
Opener Juliana Nero kept West Indies in the match with a steady innings and she found Shanel Daley to settle in with. The pair added 48 in 56 balls, but they failed to find another gear, Daley eventually chipping to midwicket and Nero swinging across the line to the first ball of the 17th over. The remainder of the line-up slogged catches into the deep.
It was a similar steady partnership that settled Australia’s innings after their top three were removed with only 36 scored. West Indies used spin from the outset and it worked with the new ball as flat deliveries from Daley skidded onto the stumps of Alyssa Healy and Jess Cameron, Australia’s leading run-scorer in the group stage, as both played back exposing their stumps.
Meg Lanning read the spinners far better, using her feet well. She lifted Taylor over mid-off for four and went in-to-out to strike Anisa Mohammed’s second ball over extra cover. But attempting another lofted drive, she picked out extra cover as Australia found themselves struggling.
But in contrast to the West Indies innings that featured only two double-figure scores, Australia were able to rebuild through the experience of Lisa Sthalekar. She and Alex Blackwell put on 32 in 35 as Australia added 62 in the second 10 overs. Captain Jodie Fields reverse-swept a large proportion of her 22-ball 19 and Rachael Haynes struck the second six of the innings over the bowler’s head in the final over, as Australia found late momentum.
Aguilleira admitted the lack of consistency was a problem for West Indies. “On a given day, West Indies will show up and beat any side. It’s a mental thing. We have a good team, one that can carry us through and win World Cups,” she said. “The score that they made was gettable. We must say that we fell short in our batting. That was our downfall. It’s an area we need to look at. We have time once we get back home to get ourselves organised and focus on what we have to do.”
Australia captain Fields said: “The West Indies girls bowled really well in those conditions. Their spinners slowed it right up and made it difficult to score down the ground. You had to resort to shots square of the wicket. I thought we did well to get to 115 after a pretty disastrous start.”
Six Australian batsmen reached double-figures in the game but were unable to post something substantial. “I’m actually pretty happy with our batting throughout the tournament,” Fields said. “While we haven’t had anyone with big scores, we’ve always had guys come in and keep the scoreboard ticking over. We’ll see what happens in the final. Hopefully, one of those girls will click and we’ll get a big score.”