Australia secured their sixth T20 World Cup title by defeating South Africa in the final at Newlands, Cape Town on Sunday (26th February). Beth Mooney carried the Australian batting on her shoulders in the first innings to help her team reach a competitive total. After a slow start in their chase, Laura's Wolvaardt played a blinder to keep the home team's hopes alive, however, after her dismissal, Australia marched to a clinical victory.
Mooney cruises in another final
Australia captain Meg Lanning opted to bat first. In-form batter Alyssa Heally took on the South African bowlers from the get-go. However, with the crowd cheering their every ball, the home team was able to nab back and send jitters to the Australia batters. Marizanne Kapp took the wicket of dangerous Heally and Shabnam Ismail bowled a maiden over, curtailing Australia to 36 runs at the end of the powerplay.
Australia elevated Ashleigh Gardner up the batting order and she did as she was sent for. After a boundary-less 21 balls, she broke the shackles and took the attack to South Africa. Soon, in the same process, she lofted the ball straight to the long off giving away her wicket. Australia had 103 runs at the end of 14 overs when the new batter Grace Harris tried to sustain the rampage. However, Nonkululeko Mlaba was up to the task. She dismantled her stumps with a low-bouncing delivery.
Beth Mooney took a discreet approach on the other end. She attained a half-century in another T20 World Cup final. South Africa bore the brunt of the slow over rate, being able to have three fielders in the outer circle in the final over. Mooney took full advantage and began with a maximum and a boundary. The over turned out to be eventful. Shabnam Ismail returned with the successive wickets of Ellyse Perry and Georgia Wareham, restraining the visitors to a total of 156 at the end of 20 overs.
Wolvaardt plays a valorous innings
Australia held a stronghold at the start of the second innings. South African openers could only score thirteen runs in the first four overs as the pressure soared. The star of the semi-final, Tazmin Brits, attempted a heave over mid-on but eventually lost her wicket.
Having lost Kapp just before the halfway mark, the home side had a mammoth task at hand needing 105 runs from the last 10 overs. The run out of Skipper Suné Luus jolted the hopes of South Africa but it's when Laura Wolvaardt rose to the center stage. She plunged the ball across the field, much to the delight of the crowd. Her exquisite strokeplay helped her reach a fine half-century.
South Africa needed 59 runs off the last five overs. The big breakthrough for Australia came in the 16th over as Megan Schutt dismissed Wolvaardt leg-before-wicket. With 43 runs required off the last three overs, it was up to the big-hitter Chloe Tryon. However, she was bowled by Jess Jonassen. Thereafter, Australia had a firm grip on the contest and progressed clinically to win another T20 World Cup, extending their title record in the history books.
Brief Scores: Australia 156/6 defeated South Africa 137/6 by 19 runs.
Player of the Match: Beth Mooney
Player of the Tournament: Ashleigh Gardner