On women’s day this year, the Australian women cricket team won its fifth T20 world cup. They defeated India by 85 runs in the finals in front of a record crowd of 86,174 in MCG. Considering that they have won five out of the seven T20 world cup titles, they were one of the strong contenders going into this world cup.
However, the road to the finals was not easy for the Australian women cricket team. There were roadblocks and hurdles at every stage of the tournament.
Not a bright start
Australia lost their first encounter of the world cup to India. It was a huge setback for them as they were in a winning position for the majority part of the game. While chasing a target of 133, Australian batters capitulated at a score of 115. Poonam Yadav spun a web with her leg-spin and googlies around the Australian players. Taking four wickets in the game, Poonam Yadav announced her arrival in the world cup.
Australia’s second fixture against Sri Lanka was no different, apart from the result. While chasing a target of 123, Australia was reeling at 10/3 at one point of time, before Haynes and Lanning rescued the team. The match showcased Sri Lanka’s resilience with the bowl, but it also conveyed that the home team was far away from their supreme form. The game against Bangladesh was when the Australia cricket team looked like the defending champions. Winning the game by a margin of 86 runs, everything fell into place for the home side. Bangladesh was never in the game since the toss. A much-needed performance from the Australia women team just before they face their trans-Tasman rival, New Zealand, in a virtual knockout game.
Trans-Tasman Virtual knock out
The clash against New Zealand was a virtual knock out game for the Australian women team. Batting first, the Australian cricket team posted a below-par score of 155. Mooney’s knock of 60 was only the bright spot for the team. It was Schutt and Wareham’s bowling in the second half of the match that sealed a semi-final berth for Australia. Australia won the game by four runs, but bad news for the team came after the game. Elyse Perry was out of the tournament after sustaining a hamstring injury. A significant setback for the reigning champions as Perry was one of their top all-rounders in the format.
The semi-final games of the world cup were nothing short of drama. With the first semi-final game between India and England being washed out because of thunderstorms, and India going through to the finals as they topped their group, the second fixture almost did not happen. If the second semi-final had been abandoned too, then South Africa would have played the finals against India, for they had finished at the top in their group. But as the day went by, the rain stopped, and we had a game. South Africa won the toss and chose to bowl first, courtesy the overcast condition. But that did not deter the confidence of the Australian batters. As they say, big players need to step up in crucial games that was precisely the case with Meg Lanning. A vital knock of 49 not out, rescued her team and ensured that her team posted a respectable score of 134 at the end of 20 overs. But the rain came down heavily during the innings break, which left South Africa to chase 98 in 13 overs. A disciplined bowling display led by Megan Schutt made it tough for the South African players. In the end, they choked and fell six runs short of the target giving Australia a shot at the title for the fifth time. T20 world cup
The Finals against India
After two weeks of close-knit contests, two teams prevailed as the finalists – Australia and India. Both had their fair share of luck, but more importantly, they deserved to be in the finals. India was playing their maiden final, and the nerves was there to be seen the moment they stepped into the ground. The pressure of 86,000 people just got the better off the Indian cricket players, and they struggled right at the very beginning.
Australian women’s team won the toss and chose to bat. Healy and Mooney went berserk and scored 75 and 78, respectively. The tone was set right there. Hitting Deepti Sharma for four in the first ball was just the impetus that the Australians required in the finals. Healy, in particular, thrashed the Indian bowlers to every corner of the park. Australia finished their innings with 184/4 on the board. India got off to a horrific start when Shafali Varma got out in the very first over. India lost four wickets within the powerplay and never looked comfortable chasing the mammoth total. As a result, India was bundled out for 99 and lost the fixture by a considerable margin. Healy was named the player of the match for her match-winning knock. Australian Women cricket team