A win will confirm Australia’s spot in the semis and keep them unbeaten in the tournament. © Getty Images

A win will confirm Australia’s spot in the semis and keep them unbeaten in the tournament. © Getty Images

July 9 (Sunday)
England v Australia, Bristol
Windies v Sri Lanka, Derby

Match in focus: England v Australia
Going by the form book, this shouldn’t be the last time in the tournament we see an Australia – England clash this ICC Women’s World Cup 2017. Australia, the title holders, are four in four, while England, the hosts, have bounced back strongly after their opening day loss to India.

England have four centuries and three fifties in the tournament, and twice put up scores in excess of 300. Theirs is the batting side that has fully embraced an expressive, free-flowing style, without relying on any one person. The innovation on show in the win over South Africa was a stand-out. That they can clear the ropes with ease hasn’t kept them from chasing the singles, not allowing the fielding side to settle. With another fresh wicket expected, the batters will be rubbing their hands in glee.

But if any bowling attack can take on the English batters, and any batting line-up can match them, it’s Australia’s. Meg Lanning’s side have showed their depth; the middle order, which seemed short of match practice, too came good to post 290 after being just 18 for 2 in the Power Play.

Lanning herself sat out of the previous 159-run win over Pakistan following a flare up of her chronic shoulder injury. Matthew Mott, the coach, said it had been a “conservative decision” to rest their in-form captain and he was hopeful of her return for the big game. While a final decision on her participation depended on an assessment from the physio, Alyssa Healy, the wicketkeeper, was convinced “it’ll be hard to keep her from coming into such a big game”.

A win will confirm Australia’s spot in the semis and keep them unbeaten in the tournament. And given that the teams are set to meet again for the Women’s Ashes later this year, this match will serve as a nice addition to a fierce rivalry.

What they said:
Alyssa Healy: We’ve got three really tough games to go. But being four from four in a World Cup is a pretty good position to be in. We’ve sort of clicked in both batting and bowling areas. We can improve on the field a little bit more. Playing England on home soil is never easy. We’ve got the squad here that can take the points, but they’ve been playing well. It’s going to be a real test for our bowling unit. This is going to be our toughest clash.

Heather Knight: We’re in a good place. We’ve had a few good wins and a few days to focus on the Aussies. It’s the match we’ve been looking forward to. A lot of the work we’ve done is towards those big games, standing up and putting in big performances. Tomorrow will be a really good test of where we’re at.

Player in focus:
Australia – Ellyse Perry: The influential allrounder comes into the match with two back-to-back fifties, the first of which took her past 2000 ODI runs. She has been the anchor in Australia’s two most recent wins, consolidating rather than doing anything flashy. She will be eager to give herself a chance to convert one of her many fifties into her maiden century in the tournament.

England – Tammy Beaumont: After a slow start to the tournament, Beaumont, the opener, found her full range against South Africa. She seemed settled and formed good partnerships with Lauren Winfield opening and Taylor at No.3. “The joy that [Beaumont and Taylor] had with each other was lovely. It hopefully expressed what we are as a team. The team plays better when they play with a smile and enjoy each other’s company, sharing in each other’s success. It was a pleasure to watch,” said Mark Robinson, the coach, about them.

Teams (from)
Australia: Meg Lanning (capt), Sarah Aley, Kristen Beams, Alex Blackwell, Nicole Bolton, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy (wk), Jess Jonassen, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Belinda Vakarewa, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington.

England: Heather Knight (capt), Georgia Elwiss, Jenny Gunn, Alex Hartley, Sarah Taylor (wk), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Danielle Hazell, Beth Langston, Laura Marsh, Anya Shrubsole (vice-capt), Natalie Sciver, Fran Wilson, Danielle Wyatt, Lauren Winfield.

We have won a few games against Sri Lanka in the past. Coming into this game, we would have that in the back of our mind that we have the confidence over them, said Stafanie Taylor. © ICC/ Getty Images

We have won a few games against Sri Lanka in the past. Coming into this game, we would have that in the back of our mind that we have the confidence over them, said Stafanie Taylor. © ICC/ Getty Images

Windies v Sri Lanka
It is difficult to motivate yourself when, after four consecutive losses, a semifinal spot looks highly unlikely. But opportunities outside of the World Cup are so few that both Sri Lanka and Windies would want to make a strong impression when they play against each other in Derby.

Sri Lanka were good in patches in their previous game against India at the same venue a few days ago, but they could not put in a complete performance. They bowled well to start with, but then gave away 50 runs in the last six overs to allow India to make 232 for 8. In their chase, Dilani Manodara lacked support and they fell short by 16 runs.

Windies have done little to justify their direct qualification to the tournament. Being bowled out for 48 against South Africa was their lowest point, but they were equally lacklustre against New Zealand when they made 150 in 43 overs and then allowed their opponents to canter to a nine-wicket win in 18.2 overs.

What they said:
Inoka Ranaweera: “We hope to do our best and win the match against Windies. The middle order did not do their job against India, so we could not win that game. We have already played four matches, and we have confidence of doing well tomorrow. It is a good opportunity for us, it is the competition with the best teams of the world.”

Stafanie Taylor: “We rate all the games as important. Looking at the losses we had previously, pretty much all games are now must-wins. We are now playing for pride. We have won a few games against Sri Lanka in the past. Coming into this game, we would have that in the back of our mind that we have the confidence over them.”

Teams (from)
Windies: Stafanie Taylor (capt), Merissa Aguilleira (wk), Reniece Boyce, Shanel Daley, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Qiana Joseph, Kyshona Knight, Hayley Matthews, Anisa Mohammed, Chedean Nation, Akeira Peters, Felicia Walters, Subrina Munroe, Kycia Knight.

Sri Lanka: Inoka Ranaweera (capt), Chamari Athapaththu, Chandima Gunaratne, Nipuni Hansika, Ama Kanchana, Eshani Lokusuriyage, Harshitha Madhavi, Dilani Manodara, Hasini Perera, Chamari Polgampola, Udeshika Prabodhani, Oshadi Ranasinghe, Shashikala Siriwardena, Prasadani Weerakkody (wk), Sripali Weerakkody.

With inputs from Sidhanta Patnaik in Derby.