ICC Womens T20 World Cup, 2020
Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Melbourne
Date & Time: 08 March 2020
RR: 5.16 | Australia Women beat India Women by 85 runs
Tennis legend Billie Jean King is posing with the victorious Aussie team, after spending some time with the Indians early on. And with that note, we would like to take your leave as well. Congratulations Australia, commiserations for every other team which participated. And a special thank you for all the readers who are still reading this, in spite of the match getting over long back. Hopefully, we will get your company in future soon. ADIOS! TAKE CARE!
Harmanpreet Kaur is looking distraught and angry. But she would understand that it was one bad day. Else, there was no argument over the fact that India were the best team of the tournament. They say, batsmen win you matches. Bowlers win you tournaments. What they do not say is - fielding can win you games, but can also lose you some. Sadly for India, their worst fielding display came on the final night. Something they need to work upon and get better at.
Meg Lanning cannot wait. But Melanie Jones understands that Lanning is itching to go and join her team in lifting the trophy. And so she relieves her of more questions. Meg just rushes towards her team and AUSTRALIA HOLD THE TROPHY ALOFT! Perhaps, if, before 21st February, 2020, had anyone asked whether Australia would be the champions - the answer would have been YES. But an opening match loss to India, followed by some indifferent performances along the way, raised some doubts. But as true champions, the Kangaroos bounced all those off and have gone on to record their 5th T20 World Cup title. Take a bow.
Victorious Australian skipper, Meg Lanning, says that she is really proud of this group of players. Admits that they had ups and downs, scraped through to the semi-finals but eventually, played their best in the final. Also agrees that it was tough for Australia to deal with the home World Cup pressure, especially after losing their first game. But then praises every member of her team for having her back on the other and sticking together as a group. Praises her batting openers for coming prepared and executing a plan against a dangerous Indian opposition. Does not want to comment too much on Megan Schutt's off-field comments but says that she is her best bowler and always believed that she will perform. Thanks the crowd, the fans and the support staff for this amazing tournament.
Time for medallions for the Aussie Women.
Indian captain, Harmanpreet Kaur, gets a massive applause. Agrees that the way India played in the league stage, it was outstanding and feels unfortunate for the no-show in the final. Admits that the loss is purely because of the poor fielding and says that whenever they get out on a ground next, need to understand that fielding is very important. Stresses that the future is very bright, just that they need to believe in one another. Agrees that they were always confident of doing well in this tournament but their first win over Australia lifted them to really high spirits. On the forced 8-day break before the final, Kaur, without saying that it dented their momentum, indirectly admits that it hurt them. Feels that India are on the right line because every year they are improving, citing their previous big tournament finish as being the semi-finalists in 2018. Hopes that the team gets more success and consistency in future. Is looking forward to the upcoming Women's Challenge, as that will show the depth of India's future.
The Indian team now gets its medallions.
BETH MOONEY HAS BEEN AWARDED THE PLAYER OF THE TOURNAMENT. Unlike Healy, Beth cannot suppress the tears in her eyes. Says that she is at a loss of words. Feels that it was an unbelievable tournament and thanks the crowd. On her consistency, Mooney says that it was all about riding the waves and sticking to your purposes. Praises Healy for making life easier for her by going after the bowlers in the Powerplay. Does not feel that the opening match loss got them down, rather, says that the team focused on how they lost that game and learnt from it. Adds that she likes to challenge herself, find new ways of being the best and is proud of her team. Thanks the selectors for giving her an opportunity to play in this World Cup and the support staff for keeping her fit.
ALYSSA HEALY HAS BEEN NAMED THE PLAYER OF THE MATCH. Says that it was an unbelievable applause and thanks the entire crowd. On the smile on her face, Healy says that even if Australia had lost, they would have been smiling, simply because of the opportunity they got to play in a home World Cup final. On her loss of form heading into this tournament, Alyssa bluntly says that she never felt out of touch, just needed a bit of luck, which, she says she got in the first game and just used that momentum in every game. As far as the final is concerned, Healy credits Mooney for rotating the strike, allowing her to hit the big shots and then hitting them herself after Alyssa's dismissal. Adds that they enjoy each other's company in the middle and looks forward to more of such partnerships.
The match officials now get their medallions.
Spare a thought for Shafali Verma. She dropped Alyssa Healy in the very first over and deep down, would be feeling that she is the sole person responsible for this loss. But Harmanpreet Kaur consoles her. Next, Richa Ghosh and Radha Yadav get across and hug Shafali. She bursts into tears. Poor kid, but these are moments which make you strong. You learn from your mistakes and then look forward to a better future. Time now for the actual presentation...
The Australians are in a huddle. Meg Lanning becomes just the third Aussie captain after Lyn Larsen (1988) and Michael Clarke (2015) to win a home cricket World Cup. She is besides herself with joy. She was quoting before this match that this is THE most important game in her career and boy, did her team win it for her. The dedication is going towards Ellyse Perry, whom they actually should have missed, but it did not seem like. Every player seemed to double the effort to counter for Perry's absence and it was as if 14 players were playing in the final for the Aussies.
Michael Clarke now has got Jess Jonassen. She says that she is feeling absolutely incredible as she had never played in front of such a massive crowd. On the Mexican Waves around the ground, Jonassen tells that she was telling one of her teammates that it was really amazing. On the overall tournament, she says that they started a bit poorly but reached here and did what they could do best.
Ashleigh Gardner says winning it in front of the your home crowd is very special. Further adds she would like to congratulate India on how they played. States it is an honour and she loves playing for her country. On playing in front of 86,000 people, she says that she never thought she would get the opportunity and enjoyed watching the Mexican Wave.
Megan Schutt is down for a quick chat with Michael Clarke. She says that she is absolutely overwhelmed. Tells that she was really excited before the game and was waiting for the game. On their batting, Schutt feels that the openers got out to bat with a lot of confidence. On their way of handling the pressure, Schutt says that they just wanted to enjoy the final in front of such a huge crowd.
Rachael Haynes is down for an interview. On the atmosphere, she says it was terrific and they have had good support throughout the tournament. Further adds they have generally been very dominant but they had to fight throughout this tournament, they have had injury issues but it all ended well. Ends by saying it is a really special moment for them and it is very special to be involved in this.
Coming to the run chase, it always helps when you have 180-plus behind your back. India were behind the 8-ball right from the first ball of the run chase and the early departure of Shafali Verma just opened the floodgates. Only four batters reached double figures with not even a single 50-stand. Certainly, there could have been some more fight shown. But sadly for India, their crux of batting firepower - Mandhana, Rodrigues and Kaur - flopped miserably - not only here but in general throughout the tournament. India were 4 down in the Powerplay itself. Schutt and Jonassen did most of the damage, sharing 7 wickets between them in the match. Please stay tuned for plenty of interviews and the post-match presentation...
Sometimes, there are some days, there are some moments when you just feel it is your day. Perhaps Alyssa Healy sensed that towards the end of the Powerplay. She suddenly exploded post the fielding restrictions and that is where, we feel, the game was lost. 93 runs came in those 9 overs for the loss of just 1 wicket. India were pegged back. The game was gone.
We can start by how the run chase began but was the match lost at the toss itself? It did seem like India were thinking like that. They simply did not look pumped up and perhaps felt that chasing at the MCG is pretty imposing. And then, that played on their nerves. First, Alyssa Healy was dropped in the first over. Then, Beth Mooney was given a chance in the 4th. That just told the nerves and emotions India were going through and Australia pounced.
Cricket is all about techniques, your game sense, your footwork, your timing, your skill, etc, etc, etc... It is also about one more thing. That thing which is not taught by any coach or in any dictionary or in any book. NERVES. You need to get that by experience and try and get better at it. Australia were nervous because this unit was playing its first home World Cup final. India were nervous as well because they were playing their first ever World Cup final in the T20 format for the Eves. In a battle of nerves, Australia triumphed. Rather, India let themselves down.
Well, Australia can celebrate, so can the crowd. But surely, the supporters deserved better? Not just the Indian supporters but a sport fan in general. A big-hyped final, watched by millions around the globe, surely deserved to have a better contest. Sadly, there was no contest. Only one team was playing.
5-TIME WORLD CUP CHAMPIONS. Take a bow, Australia. You lost the first game. Nearly lost the second. Scraped through to the semis. Just about got helped by luck and rain gods to reach the final. But cometh the final, cometh the hour, the World Champions, the defending champions, strut their stuff, reserving their best for the last.
Rajeshwari Gayakwad is the last batter in.
Poonam Yadav walks in now.
Radha Yadav walks in for the final rites of this match.
Concussion substitute Richa Ghosh replaces Veda Krishnamurthy in the middle.
Update - Taniya Bhatia has failed the concussion test and another teenager Richa Ghosh has been named as the concussion substitute.
Sophie Molineux is back on. 2-0-7-1 are her numbers so far.
Kimmince is back on!
Nicola Carey into the attack now.
Sophie Molineux is back on. 1-0-5-1 from her so far.
Veda Krishnamurthy joins Deepti Sharma in the middle.
Jess Jonassen is back on. 1-0-5-1 from her so far.
Delissa Kimmince is on now.
Deepti Sharma is in with her team under massive pressure.
Sophie Molineux to bowl now.
Harmanpreet Kaur is in early.
Jemimah Rodrigues replaces Bhatia.
The Indian physio comes charging in to check with Bhatia. Time for the mandatory concussion test. Well, Bhatia is going off.
Jess Jonassen to bowl from the other end.
Promotion! Taniya Bhatia has been sent up at number 3. The keeper goes back to the stumps.
We are back for the run chase! The Aussie women are in the huddle. They are getting the final advice from their skipper. Out come the two Indian openers, Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana. Megan Schutt with the ball first up. Alyssa Healy is up to the stumps. Here we go...