Is this Australia side the best women's team of all time?
Australia were rarely troubled as they cruised through the group stage of the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup and have no glaring weakness in any department leading into Sunday’s decider against England.
Australian teams in the past may have had just as much star power as the 2022 class, but this one appears to have more depth and to be on track to emulate the exploits of the 2005 team that went through the entire tournament undefeated.
Just who should England try to attack in The Final or is there a weakness in the Australia line-up they can exploit? A quick look at each area of Australia's team reveals there is no easy answer.
Experienced and adaptable top-order
Alyssa Healy, Rachael Haynes and Meg Lanning form the backbone of Australia's batting line-up and the trio complement each other extremely well. Whether it's the right-hand, left-hand opening combo that plays on the minds of opposition bowlers, or the fact that each member of the top three has their own strengths that they can bring to the table.
Healy is the dasher and Haynes is generally the steadier opener, while Lanning is accustomed to either role and can adjust her game depending on who she is batting with and the situation required in the game.
Reliable middle-order that rarely fails
If England get through Australia's top-order then they will have veteran all-rounder Ellyse Perry coming in at four, followed by young gun Tahlia McGrath and the ever-reliable Beth Mooney. Just like the top-order, Australia's middle order complements each other extremely well and rarely will you find both Perry and Mooney failing in the one innings.
McGrath is still an untapped talent who has shot to prominence in the last 12 months after picking up Player of the Series awards against India and England. The 26-year-old cannot be underestimated and is a proven match-winner.
Seamers that always produce the goods
Veteran quick Megan Schutt is a no-nonsense performer that has continually got the job done for her country over the years with reliable new ball performances. Schutt's ability to swing the new cherry and consistently find the right line and length combines well with the youthful exuberance and sheer pace of teenage quick Darcie Brown.
The 19-year-old Brown bowls quickly and has been a revelation so far at this tournament with six scalps from five matches.
Spinning options that rival any attack
Alana King has been the surprise packet in New Zealand with the leg-spinner picking up nine wickets from eight matches.
Left-armer Jess Jonassen only recently lost the billing as the No.1 bowler in the MRF Tyres ODI rankings and can always be relied upon, while all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner is often the first spinner Lanning turns to when a partnership needs to be broken.
Spectacular world class fielding
Perhaps the most underrated factor in this Australia side is just how good they are in the field. Gardner's outfield catch against South Africa earlier in the tournament had to be seen to be believed, while Mooney has pulled down a couple of screamers that would look at home on any highlight reel.
You have to wind back the clock a fair way to find the last time the likes of Healy, Lanning, Perry or Haynes grassed a chance. But it's not just their catching that stands out, as they save so many runs in the field by putting their bodies on the line and throwing themselves around without a care in the world.
Depth the envy of other teams
Such is the depth available to Australia coach Matthew Mott that the likes of all-rounder Nicola Carey, dashing batter Grace Harris and underrated spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington will be watching on from the sidelines during Sunday's final, while young gun Annabel Sutherland is also likely to miss out should Perry prove she has recovered from back spasms.
Those more than handy reserves have proven in the past they are more than capable at international level and every national coach would love to have them at their disposal.
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