Australia v England
ICC Women’s World Cup, Final
Sunday April 3, 2022
Hagley Oval, Christchurch (2am UK)
For the last week or so, I haven’t been able to shake the feeling that if England meet Australia in the final they will beat them.
If you look at the statistics, despite England winning five games on the trot to get to this point after losing their first three, then you will come to the conclusion that Heather Knight and co have no chance and Australia’s name is already on the trophy.
Meg Lanning’s side have only lost a solitary one-day international since late 2017, and England’s last win over them came then.
England lost their ODI leg of the Ashes at the start of the year 3-0 and were beaten by them in the opening game of this World Cup.
But sport doesn’t always work like that, does it!
Across the multi-format Ashes series, the 12-4 points scoreline was harsh on England, who got close to their opponents.
And I believe they will win one when it matters the most. They are best priced 11/4 with Betfair, amongst others, to win.
Lanning and Sciver to shine with the bat
You could make a very strong argument to suggest that Meg Lanning and Nat Sciver are the best players on their respective sides.
They are ranked numbers three and four in the ICC’s ODI rankings, with Lanning’s team-mate Beth Mooney in at number two behind South African Laura Wolvaardt.
Both Lanning and Sciver are in excellent form.
Australian captain Lanning has 384 runs to her name and England’s Sciver 288. They are both in the top 10 run-scorers in this competition.
Betfair are offering some interesting combination bets through their #OddsOnThat sections.
The one I quite like is the 11/4 on both players to score 30 plus runs in the match.
That is something Sciver has done in six of her last 10 ODI innings, including three times against Australia with a century in there. Lanning has reached that mark in five of her last nine innings.
The great thing is, you can tinker with this bet to suit your own ambition. 6/4 is on offer for both to post 20 plus and 15/2 on both to score 50 plus.
Two player of the match prices stand out for two different reasons
If England are to win, you would think Sophie Ecclestone has to continue her outstanding form. The left-arm spinner claimed six-for in yesterday’s semi-final win over South Africa and now has a tournament best 20 to her name.
Betfair’s price of 25/1 on the world’s best bowler to be player of the match in the final stands out like a sore thumb on a list which has Australian trio Alyssa Healy, Meg Lanning and Rachel Haynes at the top on 11/2 apiece.
Bearing in mind, I think England will win, it is very rare a player on the losing side picks up this award.
If Kate Cross can produce a match-winning performance, it would be a remarkable story. The Lancashire seamer, admittedly with only seven wickets to her name so far, is 50/1 with the same company.
Now if she stars, she would do so having come from sitting in the stands at Lord’s in 2017 when she was battling some mental health issues and considering her future in the game. It was only when she was invited into the dressing room to celebrate winning the World Cup on home soil that her desire to continue playing was fortified.