Perth will host the fifth and final Ashes Test, confirming a long-rumoured shakeup of the traditional schedule as Cricket Australia revealed the men’s and women’s cricket fixtures for the upcoming summer.
Australia has won its fifth World Cup – and first on home soil – triumphing in an 85-run victory over India.
Meg Lanning led her side to back-to-back trophies on a historic night, which ended a game-changing T20 World Cup tournament in Australia.
An incredible crowd – 86,174-strong – flooded into the Melbourne Cricket Ground this evening to witness a dominant Australian victory on International Women’s Day.
On from the very first ball, Australia’s intent was clear, while counterparts India had a nervous start with loopy deliveries and dropped catches.
Alyssa Healy hit a four first up and continued in a fast-scoring fashion, sending seven to the boundary and five over it, racing to 75 runs from 39 deliveries.
Her half-century came from 30 deliveries, which was the fastest 50 in an ICC tournament final (men’s or women’s, ODI or T20I).
Beth Mooney was initially happy getting Healy on strike, but went on to surpass her 75-run effort, carrying the innings for 78 not out.
Meg Lanning steadied for Australia at the loss of Healy’s wicket, but only put 16 runs on the board before getting caught at square leg trying to whip it over the infield.
Deepti Sharma struck with the wickets of Lanning and Ash Gardner, but went for 38 runs in the process. Shikha Pandey – who had taken three wickets against Australia in the opening game – was smacked for 52 runs from four overs, including three maximums and six boundaries.
With 184 runs on the board, Australia’s defence could not have started better. Impressive teenager Shafali Verma, who had a breakout tournament on the world stage, fell early for two runs at the hands of Megan Schutt.
The following over Taniya Bhatia retired hurt and was assessed for concussion. She was replaced a little while later by 16-year-old Richa Ghosh, who did not look out of place on the biggest stage.
Jess Jonassen took the wicket of Jemimah Rodrigues for a duck, then with her first delivery Sophie Molineux got opener Smriti Mandhana for 11.
Deepti Sharma and Veda Krishnamurthy held tough through the middle overs for India, the former making 33 runs from 35 deliveries.
Schutt (four wickets) and Jonassen (three wickets) cleaned up India’s tail, relying on some great fielding efforts. Mooney finished with four catches to go with her earlier runs.
Ash Gardner took the final wicket, holding onto the catch in the deep, and the crowd erupted. Squad members ran onto the field to join the XI who represented Australia on the evening to celebrate a home World Cup victory.
The women in blue were visibly disappointed with their performance this evening. Not playing on Thursday due to the washed-out semi-final meant they did not play for eight days in the lead-up to this final, which was far from ideal preparation.
Tonight was just not India’s night, but with talented teenagers in the side, the nation will no doubt be fighting in the knockout stages of tournaments to come.
Alyssa Healy was named player of the final, while her opening batting partner Beth Mooney was named player of the tournament for her 259-run tally.
Talking to Mel Jones before the team was awarded the trophy, an emotional Australian captain Meg Lanning admitted the pressure was felt throughout the tournament.
“It was tough. Especially after we lost that first game,” she said.
“There was a lot of expectation put on us externally and internally as well.
“I’m just really proud of this group of players and staff… we’ve had everything thrown at us this tournament.”
Healy, Lanning and the likes conceded they never thought a moment like this would come in their careers. Healy said “maybe in 20 years”, but to have 86,000 at the MCG for the 2020 final clearly meant a lot to the older players.
Ellyse Perry, who missed out on playing tonight and could potentially miss six months with her hamstring injury, was emotional following her teammates’ performance.
On ABC Grandstand, Perry said: “I don’t think any of us really in our wildest dreams would’ve expected it to kind of pan out this way… I don’t think we could’ve scripted it any better, so it’s special.”