Australia claimed their fifth Women’s T20 World Cup title after a comprehensive victory over India in Sunday’s final in Melbourne, winning by 85 runs.
The defending champions were totally dominant with bat andball at the packed out MCG, setting a target of 185 for victory after somedestructive batting from openers Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney.
Healy smashed 75 off just 39 balls in a bruising display asIndia’s bowlers were dismantled, amassing a 115-run partnership beforeeventually falling in the 12th over.
She was given a hero’s welcome when she returned to the dugout, having put Australia in a commanding position, while Mooney was in no mood to let up after Healy’s exit.
Having been the more patient of the two openers initially, Mooneyput her foot on the gas to reach an unbeaten 78 off 54 balls as India – who qualifiedfor the final after their semi against England was rained off – were set amammoth target to try and win the match.
But they made a dreadful start to their chase, losingShafali Verma in the very first over and the wickets kept on tumbling afterthat.
Taniya Bhatia had to retire after being hit on the helmetbefore Jemimah Rodrigues fell for a duck in the second over.
Smriti Mandhana then gently nudged a shot straight tomid-off a few deliveries later, with India left on 30-4 when captainHarmanpreet Kaur went chasing the boundary but was caught just inside the rope.
India steadied themselves briefly but the run rate keptcreeping up and the wicket of Veda Krishnamurthy in the 12th over – who hadbattled to 19 runs – seemed to spell the end of their resistance.
Deepti Sharma had rather plodded along, top-scoring forIndia with 33 runs off 34 balls, but they were left needing 100 runs off thefinal 27 balls and the contest was all but over when she picked out Mooney, whoadded a stunning catch to her excellent performance with the bat.
India’s final few wickets fell quickly as Australia turned the screw, with Megan Schutt skittling out the tail to become the tournament’s leading wicket taker, and she grabbed her fourth wicket in the final over to spark jubilant scenes as the hosts celebrated their fifth World Cup victory.
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