|ICC Women’s T20 World Cup final, Melbourne Cricket Ground|
|Australia 184-5 (20 overs): Mooney 78*, Healy 75|
|India 99 (19.1 overs): Sharma 33, Schutt 4-18, Jonassen 3-20|
|Australia won by 85 runs|
Australia demolished India by 85 runs to win their fifth Women’s T20 World Cup title in front of a packed Melbourne Cricket Ground.
It was a near-perfect evening for the hosts, who posted 184-4 after a brutal 75 from Alyssa Healy and opener Beth Mooney’s unbeaten 78.
An overawed India slid to 18-3, with teenage star Shafali Verma falling to the third ball of the chase, and they were never in the game.
Megan Schutt again shone, taking 4-18 as India were bundled out for just 99 with five balls left.
Australia’s performance will be remembered as one of the most emphatic in a final by any side.
The 86,174-strong crowd fell short of breaking the record attendance at a women’s sporting event – which stands at 90,185 – but it was an astonishing, atmospheric evening.
Australia were as ruthless as they have ever been to steamroller India, whose heads dropped in the first over of the match when Healy was dropped by Verma.
It means Australia’s dominance of women’s cricket continues – and India, once again, fell short at a global final.
From opening-day stumble to emphatic win
Australia have not dominated this tournament in the way many expected, but they have grown in confidence and produced a devastating display when it mattered most.
They lost the first game to India, were 10-3 against Sri Lanka in their second match and were staring at a tournament exit at various points, but they were able to find ways to win.
Mooney has been superb at the top of the order, while captain Meg Lanning has always offered a sense of calm, both with the bat and in the field.
Australia embraced the raucous atmosphere at the ‘G’ and used it to their advantage, while India, nervous from the very start, crumbled.
It might not have been the competitive outing that was expected, but there is something special about watching a team as ruthless as Australia go about their cricket.
They will be heavy favourites to win back the 50-over World Cup title from England in 2021.
Healy & Mooney steal the show
Mooney was the backbone for Australia, batting through the innings and registering her third half-century of the tournament, but it is Healy’s performance that most will remember.
It was arguably the most merciless innings of the tournament, with Healy thrashing the first ball of the game for four to set the tone.
She gathered further momentum when she was dropped on nine off the fifth ball of the innings, Verma putting down a simple catch at cover.
Australia raced to 47-0 in the first five overs, Healy dominating the bowlers and reaching her half-century in fitting style, a furious drive down the ground for four.
The attack she launched on Shikha Pandey – one of India’s best bowlers in the competition – was completely devastating.
The first length ball was hit over long-on, and the second was given the same treatment before Healy cleared her front leg and hoicked the third flat over cover for a third successive six.
Before this tournament, there were questions over Healy’s form after a lean tri-series. She ended it walking off with a smile on her face, despite being caught at long-on, having played a key role in a complete demolition of India’s bowlers.
India underwhelm on biggest stage
This was the second time India have reached a global final but it was a more disappointing performance than against England at Lord’s in 2017.
After Verma dropped Healy, Rajeshwari Gayakwad missed a chance to catch Mooney in her follow-through, and India’s heads dropped.
India have a strong batting line-up but Verma was clearly distracted by her poor performance in the field, and she was distraught to nick the third ball of the innings behind.
Wickets fell frequently and with a certain inevitability – Jemimah Rodrigues was caught at mid-on, Smriti Mandhana chipped Sophie Molineux to cover, and captain Harmanpreet Kaur holed out in the deep.
India were never in this game, and it was almost a relief to see it end when Poonam Yadav slogged Schutt to deep mid-wicket.
More to follow.