Aussies meet bogey side in Twenty20 final

Rob Forsaith
Australia and India will meet in a tri-nations decider ahead of the women's Twenty20 World Cup

Australia confront India in their women's Twenty20 tri-series final on Wednesday, a preview of their World Cup opener and quite possibly the World Cup final.

Meg Lanning's team have been an unstoppable juggernaut since winning the most recent T20 World Cup, held in the West Indies in 2018.

But the current tri-series, which culminates with Wednesday's final at Melbourne's Junction Oval, has made it clear how tricky the path to the MCG World Cup final could be.

It has also served as a reminder of India's status as their bogey side.

India were responsible for Australia's only loss at the previous T20 World Cup, while they shocked Australia in a semi-final at the 2017 one-day World Cup.

More recently, Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma helped India haul in a target of 174 on Saturday to secure their spot in the tri-series finals.

"They really took it to us last time we played. They're two quality bats," left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen said.

"The main thing for us is making sure we can bounce back from the previous game against them. We batted fairly well, we would have liked to finish a bit better with the bat, then we didn't bowl as well as we would have liked.

"This series has been about trying things, trying to work on different match-ups and different combinations."

Alyssa Healy, one of Australia's best performers over the past two years, is yet to reach double figures in this series but she isn't the only player yet to shake off a bit of rust.

"I feel like I'm getting there. I think it's been a bit of a series like that for a number of players," Jonassen said, when asked about her form.

"That's the beauty of having a series against India and England leading into a World Cup, you get a gauge on where you are at as a group and individual."

Jonassen downplayed the prospect of victory on Wednesday creating a mental edge on February 21, when the sides will clash in the T20 World Cup opener at Sydney Olympic Park.

The 27-year-old also suggested it would be hard to hide much in Wednesday's clash, when the stakes will be notably lower than coming weeks.