Be relaxed and don’t take the pressure – that’s one of the most used mantras by cricketers before any big match. The case of Alyssa Healy’s sparkling 75 off 39 balls in the T20 World Cup final against India last month was a perfect example of that. On a Howie Games podcast, Healy, the hero of Australia’s final triumph, revealed how a couple of calming ales and a scooter race through Melbourne’s CBD helped relax her ahead of the biggest innings of her life.
“We met this rowdy bunch of Long Reef (Golf Club) women who have already had thousand-and-one beers,” Healy recalled. “We went in there and lo and behold, I’ve had three beers. I’m like ‘oh my gosh, I need to leave right now’. But as it happens, another one of our mates walks past and she has two kids and they’re on a scooter.
“Here I am in the middle of Melbourne CBD at about 8 pm on a kid’s scooter, racing one of them down the street. It’s like I didn’t even know I had a World Cup final the next day,” the 30-year-old added. The next day on March 8, Healy went on to smash the fastest half-century in any World Cup decider – men’s or women’s – in one of the finest performances by an Australian in an ICC final.
The relaxed nature of her preparation reflected on the team’s performance at the packed Melbourne Cricket Ground as the hosts utilized the advantage to topple their Indian counterparts. Healy could sense the nerves of the Indian players – their maiden T20 World Cup final – which was faced by a strong 86,000 crowd on the International Women’s Day.
“I think we embraced that day so much more than India did,” Healy, wife of men’s star Mitchell Starc, said. “None of us were nervous. We were just calm and saw it such a great opportunity to play in front of this many people.”
But her calmness almost had Healy miss the biggest moment altogether. She needed a tap on the shoulder from injured teammate Ellyse Perry who reminded her to put her pads on ahead of the Australian innings.
“I was standing there alongside a few of my teammates watching Katy Perry sing ‘Roar’ and Pez turns to me and says ‘do you not need to go and pad up? You’re about to open the batting for Australia,’” said Alyssa Healy. “It was probably quarter to seven and I was still in my training kit singing along to Katy Perry.”
Healy started with the first ball of the match with a four and there was no stopping after that as she continued to strike the ball at a rate of 192.3 and go away Player of the Match honours. Healy was also given a life when she was dropped by Shafali Verma at covers in the second over.
Australia defeated convincingly and lifted their fifth T20 World Cup. The reception, which begun with a dance-filled cameo at Katy Perry’s post-match concert and has continued through the weeks following has been a far cry from when the team first returned home from the West Indies victorious in 2010.
“(In 2010) we got home and went back to normal life. Not one person knew about it,” Healy said. “The last two weeks of my life right now, literally 10-15 people every day stop me and say ‘congratulations on your win, great knock in the final’. Just people walking down the street who have seen it and watched it. It’s an experience that has been really cool,” she concluded.