The Australia women’s team extended its desirable dominance in world cricket further by lifting an unprecedented sixth Women’s T20 World Cup trophy with a comfortable win of 19 runs over a fighting South Africa in the hard clash in Cape Town on February 26, 2023.
Riding on Beth Mooney’s unbeaten 74 from 53 balls, Australia posted a competitive 156 for 6 wickets at first and then restricted the home team to 137 for 6. Mooney’s knock in the Women’s T20 World Cup was the decider as she carried the Australia innings with 9 boundaries and 1 hit over the fence. Chasing opener, Laura Wolvaardt showed a valiant lone hand while wickets kept critical at the other end for the hosts. Wolvaardt hit 5 boundaries and 3 huge sixes during her turn on the pitch.
South Africa made an unexciting start, losing Tazmin Brits in the 5th over, caught at mid-on by Tahila McGrath. McGrath ran backwards to cover a catch above McGrath’s head off the bowling of Darcie Brown. However, Wolvaardt and Marizanne Kapp then shared a stand of 29 runs for the second wicket before Brown, off the bowling of Ashleigh Gardner, caught the latter.
An over later, South Africa had more misery as the captain Sune Luus fell to an unwanted run out by the depression to 54 for 3 in 10.4 overs. Wolvaardt went for a heave towards the onside off a Megan Schutt full delivery, with runs drying up, only to miss it and be adjudged LBW. South Africa’s last hope batter went for a review but was unsuccessful as Australia sealed the match’s fate in the Women’s T20 World Cup.
Left-arm orthodox spinner Jess Jonassen then thought for Chloe Tryon in the next over before Bosch was out a ball later to dash South African slim hopes. Electing to bat, Australia lost Alyssa Healy early, caught at covers by Nadine De Klerk in the over of Marizanne Kapp in the fifth over. Then Ashleigh Gardner joined with Mooney, and the pair’s 46 runs for the second wicket established the innings before the former was caught at long-off by Sune Luus in the over of the left-arm spinner Chloe-Lesleigh Tryon.
But Mooney did her business unmeaningfully and gave the weak deliveries to the fence to keep the scores ticking. Grace Harris tried to revive the scoring rate but was knocked out by left-arm spinner Nonkululeko Mlaba in the 14th over. The batter quickly went for a wild hit over the square-leg boundary.
Next in, captain Meg showed intent from the word go, getting her first runs from a boundary through the point area before being brilliantly taken by Tyron at deep backward square leg off the bowling of Kapp. Mooney remained unperturbed as she kept consolidating the Australia innings, picking up boundaries with ease in the Women’s T20 World Cup. Even as Mooney held one end down; wickets tumbled at the other side as Australia tried to find fours towards the end of the innings.
South African players brilliantly pulled things back towards the end of the innings by getting wickets at regular intervals, with Mooney staying stranded at the non-striking end. South African pacer Shabnim Ismail had a big role in resisting Australia; picking the wickets of Georgia Wareham and Ellyse Perry off consecutive balls.
The key point:
In the finale of the Women’s T20 World Cup, Shabnim Ismail was the top of the bowlers, taking 2 wickets with 26 in her 4 overs. Thus, she became the leading wicket-taker in history at the Women’s T20 World Cup. Therefore, it looked like Gardner was at a pace to take the match away from South Africans; but spin-bowling all-rounder Chloe Tryon broke the stand. She sent Gardner backpacking for 29 from 21 balls and thanked her for an excellent catch to Sune Luus. Australia again took the aggressive mode with their flexible batters line-up, pushing the powerful Grace Harris up the order.
The finishing lines:
However, Harris has a furious strike rate in her T20I career but could not get going and fell victim to Mlaba for 10 from 9 balls. Meg Lanning, coming in at the fifth position; could add just 10 more runs from 11 balls before she was taken off Kapp to leave Australia in dangerous condition of posting a below-par total. In the last over; Ismail struck twice to dismiss Ellyse Perry and Georgia Wareham to resist Australia to 156/6 in the first innings of the Women’s T20 World Cup final at Newlands.