Melbourne: Hosts Australia rode on attacking seventies from openers Alyssa Healy (75) and Beth Mooney (78*) to lift their 2nd successive Women's T20 World Cup trophy on Sunday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). Having posted a daunting 184 for 4 in their 20 overs, Australia restricted opponents India to 99 cantering to an 85-run win for their 5th T20 World Cup title.
India's long wait for an elusive ICC Women's T20 World Cup title got elongated even further as they lagged behind the hosts in each department of the game.
Australia captain Meg Lanning had no hesitation in opting to bat first after winning the toss on a flat MCG deck in front of a packed stadium. Healy started the innings with a bang hitting 3 boundaries in the very 1st over of the match bowled by Deepti Sharma.
However, the wicketkeeper was given an early reprieve by Shafali Verma off the 5th ball of the match and she made it count by hitting the fastest-ever fifty in an ICC final (men/women). Her fifty came off just 30 balls and soon after reaching the milestone, Healy launched pacer Shikha Pandey for 3 back-to-back sixes to assert Australia's dominance.
India got their first breakthrough when Healy got out to Radha Yadav with Australia's score reading 115 in 11.4 overs. Mooney, who had played second-fiddle to the rampaging Healy till then, assumed the role of the aggressor carrying her bat all the way through the 20 overs.
However, Healy's wicket brought the run-rate down as Indian spinners didn't allow the new batters to settle picking up wickets at regular intervals. While Australia looked good for 200 when Healy was at the crease, Deepti Sharma struck twice in the 17th over to stem the flow of runs. In the end, Australia's total of 184 for 4 looked about 20 runs short of what they could have posted but it proved more than enough for their opponents.
India's highest T20I chase was 177 against the same opponents a month ago but dreams of a repeat came crashing down when big-hitting opener Shafali Verma (2) was out to a stunning catch by Healy behind the stumps off the 3rd ball. Things got even worse for the visitors when Tani Bhatia retired hurt in the next over after a slower ball from Jess Jonassen avoided her attempted sweep and hit her on the helmet. 16-year-old Richa Ghosh turned out to be her concussion substitute later on in the innings.
3 balls later, Jemimah Rodrigues perished without scoring offering a simple catch to Nocola Carey at mid-on leaving India reeling at 8 for 2. With all hopes now resting on senior pros Smriti Mandhana and captain Harmanpreet Kaur, the duo were expected to pull their team out of trouble. But Mandhana (11) fell to Sophie Molineux in the 4th over before birthday girl Kaur (4) was sent back by Jess Jonassen in the last over of the powerplay.
With Indian hopes all but over, Deepti Sharma (33) and Veda Krishnamurthy (19) forged the only partnership of note worth 28 runs before the latter perished trying to clear mid-off. Thereon, the match only served academic interest as India could only muster 99 in their 19.1 overs handing Australia a memorable win at home.
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