12th over: Australia 78-2 (Gardner 12, Lanning 23) Heather Knight puts herself forward to try and stem the flow of runs, bowling around the wicket to Lanning. Australia rotate the strike, and a full toss is sent into the stand by Gardner! Another costly over, and these two have now put on a 30-run partnership.
11th over: Australia 68-2 (Gardner 5, Lanning 21) Gardner goes down the ground and Winfield is almost underneath it – but it just drops short! A tough chance, but the kind England surely must take. Lanning back on strike and looking imperious, cutting a short Gordon ball away for four. Eight off the over, Australia getting closer.
10th over: Australia 60-2 (Gardner 3, Lanning 15) Lanning slices a Hazell delivery for a couple, and follows up with a sweetly-struck drive off a full toss. In the commentary box, Ian Bishop simply will not stop talking about how much dew there is out there. It’s certainly a factor, and Hazell will get a dry ball to work with. Lanning sweeps, a little awkwardly, but it runs away for four more.
9th over: Australia 50-2 (Gardner 3, Lanning 5) Now the left-armer Ecclestone returns, mixing up the length and not letting Lanning settle. Another tight over, Australia squeezing just three runs from it.
8th over: Australia 47-2 (Gardner 2, Lanning 3) The Aussie captain is up, and drives for the boundary – but Shrubsole saves two runs with a deft bit of fielding. At this stage in their innings, England were 48-3.
WICKET! Mooney c Jones b Hazell 14
Hazell comes into the attack, targeting the left-handed Mooney with her off-spin. And it works first time, the opener edging clumsily through to Jones!
7th over: Australia 44-1 (Mooney 14, Gardner 2) A member of the ground staff has been out with a cardboard box full of sawdust. It’s getting wet around the wicket. Kirstie Gordon is next to bowl, looking to add to her eight tournament wickets. Beth Mooney moves up the wicket and drives over the covers for four.
6th over: Australia 37-1 (Mooney 8, Gardner 1) That was Healy’s lowest score of the tournament. Can Shrubsole increase the uncertainty? She appeals for lbw as a fuller delivery glances off Mooney’s pads, but it looked to be heading past leg. The seamer is frustrated, and her next ball is a wide that skips off the dewy surface, at a cost of five runs.
WICKET! Healy b Ecclestone 22
Well, then. Healy chips Ecclestone’s first delivery just beyond Knight at cover – but she’s clean bowled by the second, a lovely ball that holds its line and beats the outside edge. Hope for England, with Australia 29-1 after five overs.
4th over: Australia 27-0 (Healy 19, Mooney 6) Healy has consistently made hay in the powerplay in this tournament, and while there’s no boundaries here, Hazell’s deliveries are coming in short and not troubling either opener.
3rd over: Australia 21-0 (Healy 17, Mooney 3) It’s a tighter over from Ecclestone, and England think about an lbw review as a delivery zips back in and catches Healy’s pad. They decide not to, and Healy spoils the over with a cut that trundles inevitably to the rope.
2nd over: Australia 16-0 (Healy 13, Mooney 2) The ball was ‘like a bar of soap’ by the end of England’s innings, according to the Aussie fielders – but England are fielding smartly so far. Shrubsole’s third delivery is a touch too short and is pulled away for four. The next has the same problem, and Healy repeats the trick! Shrubsole has a look at her landing spot, but it doesn’t help. A wide is followed by another Healy boundary, steered beyond square leg. A very good over for Australia.
1st over: Australia 2-0 (Mooney 1, Healy 1) Fun fact: 106 was the target England set Australia in the 2014 final. They made it inside 16 overs. Sciver is first to bowl, and misses a very tricky chance at a catch when Healy fires at her feet. Just two runs off the over.
“There’s still a chance” reckons Adam Hirst. “Needs Anya Shrubsole to come up with 8-12 though.” Mooney and Healey are heading to the crease. Here we go!
“Stop being so gloomy” says Colin Wells. “England have a very good bowling attack and all the games so far have been low scoring.” I admire your optimism, Colin.
England are all out for 105!
Hazell is out lbw, Schutt claiming her second wicket. England have used up their reviews, so there’s no second chance. Australia will need 106 to win their fourth World T20 title.
WICKET! Ecclestone run out 4
England have to go for broke, and go for two with the ball at Perry’s feet. She whips it to Healy, and Ecclestone has no chance. England 104-9…
19th over: England 102-8 (Hazell 5, Ecclestone 3) England creep into triple figures after Ecclestone survives a stumping appeal. They’ve six more balls to add some gloss to this total. They should have had seven, the last in that over a no-ball incorrectly ignored by the umpire.
WICKET! Knight c Wareham b Gardner 25
Knight waits for her chance and takes it, heaving Gardner down the ground and just over Mooney at long-on for six! But then next ball, she can’t find the same power and Wareham snaffles it at mid-off. The captain goes, England 98-8 at the end of the 17th over.
17th over: England 89-7 (Knight 18, Hazell 2) Heather Knight will be key to England seeing out their overs, and nurdling as many runs as they can. Hazell, joining her at the crease, hasn’t batted before in England’s weather-affected run to the final. Schutt opts for fuller, death-bowling deliveries and England milk four hard-earned singles.
16th over: England 85-7 (Knight 16, Hazell 0) England will do well to scrape triple figures from here…
WICKET! Shrubsole c Perry b Gardner 5
Shrubsole whips Gardner to deep midwicket, where Perry is waiting but drops a catch as the ball drops in front of her. Never mind – she gets another chance two balls later and takes it!
15th over: England 82-6 (Knight 14, Shrubsole 4) Wareham has a hat-trick chance but her effort down Knight’s leg-side is wide. Anya Shrubsole is in, and calls for a risky second run, just getting back in time. The seamer has a habit of finding lower-order runs when England need them, and now would be a good time.
14th over: England 77-6 (Knight 13, Shrubsole 1)
“Swapping one is all well and good,” says Adam Hirst. “But unfortunately I think we have to swap at least four or five for England to win.” That estimate is looking conservative just now.
WICKET! Dunkley b Wareham 0
Another for the leg-spinner, who gets poor Sophia Dunkley all ends up with a length delivery that turns in toward leg stump and has the new batter prodding and missing, before scattering the stumps!
WICKET! Winfield lbw Wareham 6
The review shows that the ball clipped the top of Winfield’s pad as it sat up off the surface. Another one gone, and Australia are taking control…
13th over: England 74-4 (Knight 11, Winfield 6) The scoreline is far from terrific for England, but it could be much worse. Healy, who is having a bit of a shocker after such a great tournament, lets another slip through as it drifts between bat and pad. Wareham tests Winfield with a full, straight one – and they’ll review for lbw…
12th over: England 67-4 (Knight 10, Winfield 2) Lauren Winfield next to the crease, to face Kimmince. England run a risky double before Lanning thinks she hears an edge as the ball fizzes through to Healy. Her team-mates don’t agree and we play on – but replays show there was an edge!
WICKET! Wyatt c Lanning b Gardner 43
But now Wyatt does go, thanks to an acrobatic catch from the Australia captain. Gardner’s last ball of the delivery is shorter and sits up, and Wyatt tries to lift it over the off side, but Lanning takes it in the air at cover! That was a much tougher catch than the ones Australia have missed…
11th over: England 64-3 (Wyatt 43, Knight 9) Another fielding mishap here as Beth Mooney fails to read Wyatt’s slog down the ground, slipping as she tries to change direction…
10th over: England 57-3 (Wyatt 38, Knight 7) Georgia Wareham to Wyatt, and a half-hearted lbw off a straighter delivery. With such ragged fielding, Australia are trying not to offer anything short or wide. Two off the over, one a leg-bye.
9th over: England 55-3 (Wyatt 37, Knight 7) Eek, Knight is very lucky here, running after a lost cause and turning back – but Healy thinks the throw is going to hit the stumps, and lets it go. It squirms past, and on the next ball, Knight plays it behind point for four!
Sciver and Jones made small errors and were punished ruthlessly. Wyatt has been dropped three times, two of them eminently gettable.
8th over: England 48-3 (Wyatt 35, Knight 2) Kimmince continues to hold her end down – but she’s guilty of another bad drop when Wyatt fires back at her! It was moving, but she got two hands up to it. If Wyatt goes, you wonder how England will keep it together…
With 20-20 hindsight, I’ll trade Beaumont for Ellyse Perry.
7th over: England 46-3 (Wyatt 34, Knight 1) Jones and Sciver have gone for just five runs. Sciver went straight for the review and looks bemused by the outcome – she must have thought she got an edge, but the third umpire thought otherwise. Wyatt is offering a sharp contrast to her team-mates, guiding another short ball through the off side and to the rope.
WICKET! Sciver lbw Perry 1
The decision stands, and Perry gets her 100th T20 wicket for Australia. That might be one of the most important – England are 41-3 and in a bit of bother.
Wyatt begins the over with a beauty of a drive, struck sweetly through the covers. But on the third ball, Perry catches Sciver at the bottom of her pad! Given out, immediately reviewed. Big moment…
“Good morning, Niall,” says Richard Woods. “Since you ask… it’s 8am here in Jiangsu Province, China. This match should last more or less until the start of the test match in Colombo. That one will end more or less when the Birmingham bloodfest kicks off. A good day beckons.”
6th over: England 36-2 (Wyatt 25, Sciver 1) So one of England’s in-form batters is out in spectacular fashion – now here comes another in Nat Sciver. Delissa Kimmince takes the ball and throws down a couple of wides in an otherwise tidy over.
WICKET! Jones run out 4
Oh, this could be a big moment! Jones targets the on side again, but Georgia Wareham fields brilliantly, toppling the stumps with Jones nowhere near. The umpire reviews, but that’s a mile out.
5th over: England 30-1 (Wyatt 22, Jones 4) Perry to Wyatt, who flicks it down to third man – and a misfield hands her four runs! Perry looks ticked off, and her mood is worsened when Jones pulls a length ball for another four…
4th over: England 21-1 (Wyatt 17, Jones 0) Amy Jones is next to the crease, and reports that the pitch is firmer and faster appear to be well wide of the mark. The ball is holding up, and England will need to tread carefully.
WICKET! Beaumont c Villani b Schutt 4
Beaumont never settled and with the ball sticking in the track, mistimes a charge and slog down the ground. Elyse Villiani is under it, and takes a fine catch.
3rd over: England 17-0 (Wyatt 13, Beaumont 4) Meg Lanning makes an immediate bowling change, with Ellyse Perry in for Molineux. Like Schutt, she finds movement straight away – and Wyatt edges one into the air. A simple take for Healy behind the stumps… but it’s dropped! A big let-off. Beaumont ends the over with a nervy hoick just over mid-on.
2nd over: England 14-0 (Wyatt 12, Beaumont 2) Megan Schutt, the world’s top-ranked T20 bowler, keeps things much tighter, finding movement and getting Wyatt to waft at a couple around off stump. Wyatt connects with the next, and Haynes almost takes a spectacular one-handed catch!
1st over: England 12-0 (Wyatt 11, Beaumont 1) Sophie Molineux to Wyatt, who sneaks a single. Beaumont gets off the mark, before Wyatt wallops the third ball over mid-off for four! Molineux offers too much width, and Wyatt thumps her for six this time. 12 from the first over!
“Go England!” hollers Lucy Blake. “I’m so excited.” Me too, this could be a belter. Wyatt and Beaumont head out to the crease. It’s on!
It’s time for the anthems, which to be honest are both slightly dreary 2/5 affairs. A couple of the Aussies almost break into giggles at one point. At least they’re feeling relaxed.
Peter Gibbs has checked in from Selsey, West Sussex. “As Nigel says to David in This is Spinal Tap, ‘do a good show, alright?’”
These starting line-ups are like the Tap’s amps – they go up to 11.
Down on the outfield, the commentary team reckon dew could be a factor, which might benefit England as they’re batting earlier. Australia won their semi batting first; England won theirs batting second.
Both teams are unchanged from the semi-finals.
Australia: Beth Mooney, Alyssa Healy (wk), Meg Lanning (c), Ashleigh Gardner, Elyse Villani, Rachael Haynes, Ellyse Perry, Sophie Molineux, Delissa Kimmince, Georgia Wareham, Megan Schutt.
England: Danielle Wyatt, Tammy Beaumont, Amy Jones (wk), Nat Sciver, Heather Knight (c), Lauren Winfield, Sophia Dunkley, Anya Shrubsole, Danielle Hazell, Sophie Ecclestone, Kirstie Gordon.
England win the toss!
England win the coin toss and will bat first! Heather Knight says the wicket looks a little better than the slow ‘n low track from the semis. Meg Lanning says she’s happy to bowl first – “our attack suits this wicket”.
So it’s Saturday night in England, and Sunday morning in Australia. Who’s out there? Whether you’re in a Camden kebab shop, a garden centre on the Gold Coast, or anywhere in between, get in touch.
And here’s a quartet of players who could tip the balance, from the master of reinvention to a 21-year-old from Aberdeenshire.
Get up to speed with the latest from both camps:
Welcome, wherever you are. It’s 8pm in Antigua, midnight in London and 11am in Sydney. All things considered, it’s an odd time for a game of cricket, but what a game it could be.
This edition of the World T20 – the last before it’s rebranded as the T20 World Cup – was hampered by early rain before two unexpectedly one-sided semi finals. But the end result is that the two best teams are in a final that’s too close to call.
In the red corner, England are looking to sew up a white-ball double after claiming the 2017 World Cup. A beguiling mix of youth and experience, they stuttered in the group stages but tamed a dangerous India team to reach the final.
In the gold corner, Australia are in their fifth straight World T20 final, searching for a fourth title after avenging their 2016 defeat to the West Indies with a ruthless semi-final win that left the hosts in tears. They’re the marginal favourites, led to this final by the outstanding Alyssa Healy.
So, the world’s two best teams battling for global white-ball supremacy, in front of a packed house, with no rain in sight. And it’s England against Australia! Stick around; play starts in an hour.