Southern Stars with WT20 final in their sights

03 Apr 2014

The Southern Stars have a big task on their hands in the first ICC Women's World Twenty20 semi-final tonight, when they take on the West Indies for a place in the final.

After opening the tournament with a narrow loss to a less-fancied New Zealand, the defending champions bounced back with three-straight convincing performances that landed them in the playoff stage of the competition.

Those strong performances meant the Southern Stars could top the group with a superior net run rate, after Australia, South Africa and New Zealand all closed out the group stage with six points each. Click here to see the points table.

In 2012, the Stars managed a 28-run over the West Indies at the semi-final stage, but a 16-run loss to the Caribbean outfit in a tournament warm-up match will have the Aussies wary and prepped for a close contest.

Aussie power-hitter Meg Lanning has collected 176 runs from her last two visits to the crease, while Elyse Villani's 90 against against Pakistan will have the West Indies on their toes in the early overs.

While acknowledging that the quality of the opposition has risen since the last tournament, Alex Blackwell is confident that the Stars can go all the way.

"We're really excited to get out there and put our best performance on yet. We have been building up really nicely to this semi-final," the veteran said.

England and South Africa will fight it out in the other semi-final, paving the way for a possible repeat of the thrilling final in 2012, where Australia edged a famous four-run victory over their Ashes rivals in the final.

Mirpur will play host to all three finals.