Australians all let us rejoice…” The Australian anthem said it all even before the start of the Women’s World Cup final. Rejoice they did, and how!
After Hyderabad and Kolkata, Mumbai too proved lucky for the team Down Under as they were crowned world champions for the sixth time, at Brabourne Stadium on Sunday. Having won the Cup here in 1978 and 1997, Jodie Fields & Co reigned supreme for a third time on Indian soil, as they registered a whopping 114-run win over the West Indies.
Screaming and screeching their way to glory, the Aussies plotted the Windies downfall to perfection and played like there was no tomorrow. And the difference between the two sides was none other than Ellyse Perry. The 22-year-old, making a comeback from injury, crippled the West Indian top-order reducing them to 41 for three.
Deandra Dottin and skipper Merissa Aguilleira looked to turn the tide in their favour with the big hits. Just when it looked like the Caribbean side might pull off a stunner, Lisa Sthalekar turned it around for the Aussies, literally. She foxed both the hard-hitters with flighted deliveries, leaving their woodwork in tatters. With Dottin’s dismissal went crashing all hopes of a Windies revival (read survival).
Call it their status as ‘underdogs’ or actual love for the team, the West Indies, surprisingly, had the support of a vociferous local crowd. But the ‘home favourites’ erred when it mattered the most.
Earlier, Jess Cameron smashed a 76-ball 75, studded with two towering sixes, to steer Australia to 259 for seven, the highest total by any team in a WC final. They surpassed their own record of 215 scored against India in 2005. Openers Meg Lanning (31) and Rachael Haynes (52) set the platform by getting off to a blazing start. If not for Shaquana Quintyne’s spell and some tight bowling in the final powerplay overs and poor shot selection, the Windies would have conceded in excess of 280.
The Caribbeans lost the plot very early. Sloppy fielding, dropped chances and reckless bowling did them in. The decision to not give Dottin, who has been their most successful bowler in this tourney, a chance to bowl is beyond logic. Misfields were a common phenomenon and Windies failed to keep their opposition at bay, bowling way too many loose deliveries. Their batting was no different. A slow start by the openers added extra pressure on the middle-order. Injuries for Tremayne Smartt and Kyshona Knight only added to their woes. They were simply outclassed. g