Women’s T20 World Cup: India falter in final, Australia register 85-run win to clinch 5th title
There was a big build-up, there was huge anticipation and then there was an anti-climax. A lot was expected from the Harmanpreet Kaur-led side but as fate would have it, the India women’s cricket team perhaps reserved their worst performance of the Women’s T20 World Cup for the final. They were outplayed in all three departments, to say the least as hosts Australia won their fifth T20 World Cup title after beating India by a whopping 85 runs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.
The gap between the two sides was so big that the win predictor never climbed up to more than 20% in India’s favour during the entire duration of the final.
Batting first, Australia posted 184 for 4 – the highest score in the history of T20 World Cup as the Indian bowlers had no answers to the assault of Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney. And even when they did, the fielders let them down. Both Healy and Mooney were dropped inside the powerplay. Healy, who was on 9 when she was dropped by Shafali Verma, went on to score 75 off just 39 balls while Mooney, dropped on 8, batted through the innings with an unbeaten 78.
In reply, the Indian batters were no good. Megan Schutt and Jess Jonassen ran through the visitors’ batting line-up to bowl them out for 99.
This was the second final in a little over 2 years that the Indian Women’s Team lost. They had lost the ODI World Cup final to England in 2017 after being in command for the major part of the final.
India never arrived on Sunday, they were never in the game. More than the result what would hurt India more is the manner in which they were outplayed despite reaching the finals as the unbeaten side.
After conceding 184 on a pitch that had some assistance for the spinners, the batters pretty much put on a no show. Shafali Verma was dismissed on the third ball of the chase. India’s hopes were all but dashed when Jemimah Rodrigues and Smriti Mandhana too followed quickly and they were reduced to 18 for 3 in 3.1 overs.
In between wicket-keeper Taniya Bhaita, who came in to bat at No.3, had to retire hurt after being hit on the helmet.
The slide continued when captain Harmanpreet Kaur’s horrific World Cup ended with a 4-run innings in the final.
India never recovered from the early jolts. Deepti Sharma (33) and Veda Krishnamurthy (19) provided some resistance but that was like fighting with a knife in front of machine guns.
Taniya did not come out to bat due to concussion and Richa Ghosh came in place of her as concussion substitute.
Megan Schutt was the star with the ball for Australia. After not having the greatest of World Cups till the semi-finals, she stood up when it mattered the most. Schutt returned with 4 for 18 in her 3.1 overs and also took the last Indian wicket to seal the final.
Schutt was ably supported by left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen, who finished with 3 for 18.
Earlier, Beth Mooney and Alyssa Healy’s 115-run opening stand laid the platform for a big total for Australia.
Healy broke the record for registering the fastest fifty in the history of ICC event finals. Healy (75) was finally sent back to the pavilion in the 12th over as she was sent back to the pavilion by Radha Yadav.
Skipper Meg Lanning then joined Mooney in the middle and both batters did not let momentum slide for Australia. The duo registered 39 runs together, but in trying to score boundaries, Lanning (16) and Ashleigh Gardner (0) perished in the 17th over, reducing Australia to 156/3.
In the final two overs, Mooney managed to register boundaries to take Australia’s score past the 180-run mark in the allotted twenty overs. For Australia, Mooney and Nicola Carey remained unbeaten on 78 and 5 respectively. For India, Deepti Sharma scalped two wickets.