Mumbai: Jodie Fields, captain of five-time winners Australia, said her side has a slight edge over the West Indies in the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup final Sunday even though the Caribbean team had shocked them in the Super League stage.
"I think the Australian side has got a slight advantage, we have been here before. We have managed to win the Twenty20 trophy and it is a big opportunity for us to play well again," Fields said at the pre-match media conference at the Cricket Club of India (CCI) here. The day-night match will be played at the Brabourne Stadium.
"I feel a sense of history here. It's a great thing that the Australian team has won the World Cup five times. We are keen to go out there and have a shot at the sixth title," said Fields, who is playing in her second World Cup. "I was part of 2009 World Cup back in Sydney when we didn't have such a good time. Personally, to be involved in a World Cup final, to be here, is such a wonderful opportunity," said the Aussie wicketkeeper-batter.
Having led the West Indies to their maiden ICC Women's World Cup final, skipper Merissa Aguilleira said her team has a psychological edge over Australia in tomorrow's summit clash after their shock eight-run win over the same opponents in the last Super Six stage game.
"We will have a psychological advantage over them. I must say, for that game, everything went wrong for us in the morning. We had a few players falling ill and one of the players got injured and had to pull out at the last minute," said Aguilleira on the eve of the day-night final to be held at the Brabourne Stadium Sunday.
West Indies stunned Australia in their last Super Six clash at MIG Club Ground on Wednesday to make their maiden final. The Australian women's outfit has received a shot in the arm in the form of support by their male counterpart who are in Chennai, preparing for the first of the four-match Test series against India, commencing on February 22.
"It's been really wonderful and we have had support from Michael Clarke and the Australian team from back home. They sent us some messages this morning. That gives us great encouragement leading into tomorrow and we have also provided them with support for their matches. Hopefully, both teams can be successful (in India) and we can go home happy."
"They are really proud of our team. Michael said he is proud to be an Australian watching alongside what we have achieved with the Twenty20 World Cup. There is an opportunity for us to walk away with the sixth title. It is great to know the men support us the way they do and hopefully we can show that to them in return," she said.
Fields conceded her team was not at its best in the previous game against the West Indies. "I think we didn't perform to our best. I still think there is a lot of improvement we can make. Coming into the World Cup final, we have got the experience, we have been there before, but we know we have to play well," she said.
"I suppose we are going in as favourites but we know we need to have a good batting, bowling and fielding performance on the board to beat them. They played really well the other day and they have got some dangerous players." "Their bowlers did a great job to restrict our batting team. So credit to them for making the final but hopefully we can come tomorrow and show why the Australian team is one of the best sides in the world," the skipper said.
On world record holder Windies batter Deandra Dottin, scorer of the fastest 50 in ODIs and fastest century in T20, Fields said she was dangerous but there were others too. "Deandra is a powerful stroke maker and she has played well throughout this tournament. You can't just worry about one person in the team. The whole West Indies line-up is a very competitive team.
"It is about having specific plans for different players but at the end of the day we also need to focus on what the Australian team does well and I am sure we will come out tomorrow and give a good performance." Australia have struggled with the bat, but Fields believed they will put up a good show in the final. "I am very confident in the batting line-up that we will put up."
Fields said the Brabourne pitch was a sporting one and she expected some dew later in the game. "I think the pitch is great for bowling and batting. Whoever bats first Friday, will need to put a lot of runs on board and then bowl with discipline to restrict that. I think probably in night time there will be a little bit of dew." Australian pace spearhead Ellyse Perry has missed the last three games and Fields said she is doing fine but they will decide on her inclusion after the training Saturday.