The Australian women’s cricket team is record-breakers when it comes to ICC World events. They have won the 50-over World Cup six times. On Saturday, at North Sound Antigua, they secured a record fourth World T20 title by crushing England in the final. The Southern Stars bowled England out for a paltry 105 and they chased the target to win the contest by eight wickets. This is Australia’s second World T20 win in the West Indies, having won the title in 2010. Remarkably, in the last time England took on Australia in the final, it was in the 2014 World T20 in Bangladesh and remarkably, they were bowled out for 105 and the target was achieved in 15.1 overs.
Australia’s march to the title owed a lot to the all-round efforts of Ashleigh Gardner, the 21-year-old off spinner. Her efforts, combined with consistent contributions from the other Australian bowlers negated the advantage England had after opting to bat. Ellyse Perry and Megan Schutt struck early blows and it was left to Danielle Wyatt and skipper Heather Knight to steady the ship.
However, Gardner removed Wyatt for 43 when the batter drilled a flighted delivery to extra cover only for Meg Lanning to take a fantastic catch. With Wyatt’s dismissal, England lost seven wickets for 41 runs, with Gardner accounting for skipper Knight and Anya Shrubsole. The England tail folded cheaply and they were bundled out for 105, with Gardner taking 3/22.
In response, Australia started aggressively with Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney sharing a 29-run opening stand. Healy fell for 22 when Sophie Ecclestone breached her defences while Mooney tried to steer Danielle Hazell to third man but ended up edging to the keeper. However, Gardner, having hurt England with the ball, hurt the opposition with the bat as well and she was given good support by Lanning.
Gardner broke the shackles by launching Knight over deep midwicket and Australia came closer to the target when Gardner launched Kirstie Gordon over long on for two sixes in one over and victory was sealed in the 16th over when Lanning tapped Natalie Sciver to point for a quick single to spark wild celebrations in the Australian camp.
Speaking after the win, Lanning said the calmness displayed by the team was outstanding. “I think this is a very satisfying win. We knew we could change a few things and we are a very calm group and I think we showed that tonight. The girls have been outstanding and the support staff has been excellent,” Lanning said.
On the loss, England skipper Knight said it was a competitive wicket but the total was not challenging enough. “We just lost wickets at the key time and we lost momentum and we didn't put a competitive total on the board,” Knight rued.