Australia have won the Women’s T20 World Cup for the sixth time as they defeated South Africa by 19 runs in the final at Newlands, Cape Town.
Helped by opening batter Beth Mooney’s innings of 74, the defending champions posted a total of 156 for six in their 20 overs in the final on Sunday.
Keep readinglist of 4 items
A vociferous crowd backed the home team in their first appearance at a women’s world cup final, but the hosts struggled to keep up with the required run rate from the start, and were restricted to 137 for six in reply.
Australia were pre-match favourites, and their experience with bat and ball showed on a slow wicket as they retained the title they won on home soil in 2020.
The left-handed Mooney played a measured innings, scoring her 74 runs off 53 balls while a succession of partners batted aggressively.
With South Africa allowed only three fielders outside the circle in the final over because of a slow over rate, Mooney hit the first two balls from Shabnim Ismail for six and four to give the defending champions hope of a high-scoring finish.
But Ismail claimed two wickets with successive balls to peg back Australia.
South Africa’s bowlers performed steadily and were backed up by enthusiastic fielding.
South Africa’s chase was led by Laura Wolvaardt, who scored a superb 61 but had little support, and Australia’s clever use of pace and length strangled the scoring rate for large parts of the innings.
Wolvaardt and semifinal heroine Tazmin Brits struggled to find gaps in the field and scored only 17 runs before Brits was caught at mid-on off Darcie Brown off the last ball of the fifth over.
Marizanne Kapp hit two boundaries but was out for 11, and South Africa captain Sune Luus was run out for two. At that stage, the home side needed another 103 runs off 56 balls.
Wolvaardt and the hard-hitting Chloe Tryon gave a near-capacity crowd of about 15,000 hope with an attacking fourth wicket partnership of 55 off 37 balls, but the match was effectively over when Wolvaardt was leg before wicket to Megan Schutt in the 17th over.
Australia showed their quality in defending their total with athleticism and commitment that put the South African batters under constant pressure.
‘Terrific experience’ for home team
Mooney, who was declared player of the match, said playing in front of a partisan crowd was “special”.
“I wasn’t calm. The crowd was impressive and not many were cheering for us,” she said after her team won their third consecutive T20 World Cup.
South Africa’s leading scorer Wolvaardt admitted Australia were the dominant team, but said it was an incredible tournament for her side.
“I live down the road so it was a terrific experience,” she said.
In the post-match presentation, South Africa’s captain Sune Luus said Australia have set a benchmark for other teams to live up to, but was proud of her own team’s efforts.
“We have set the platform today and throughout the tournament,” Luus said referring to her team’s success over better-ranked sides during the tournament.
“To play to this crowd with so many people watching and supporting, we never imagined.”