Australia defeat South Africa to win sixth Women's T20 World Cup
The hosts had made history by reaching the final, but Meg Lanning's charges continued Australia's prolific record in women's cricket, winning by 19 runs at a packed and picturesque Newlands in Cape Town. Lanning won the toss and opted to set a score on a slowish track, looking to optimise the pressure-cooker atmosphere of a final. They were off to a bright start with openers Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney, until a fired-up Marizanne Kapp dismissed the former. Gardner was promoted up the order and enjoyed a rapid start, while Mooney rotated the strike. Gardner struck four pretty boundaries, including two sixes, before skying one to South African captain Luus, leaving the visitors 82/2. While Mooney kept the run rate up, Nonkululeko Mlaba snuck one under Grace Harris' bat to hit the stumps, sparking the Proteas' comeback. Kapp would pick up her second wicket thanks to a brilliant catch from Chloe Tryon on the boundary, then speedster Shabnim Ismail struck with back-to-back balls in the final over. The timely wickets limited Australia to 46/3 in the last five overs and a target of 157 to win. Mooney was once again superb with the bat, finishing on 74 not out off 53 balls. It was tough going for the South African women in the Power Play, with the early wicket of Tazmin Brits and tight bowling restricting them to 22/1 from the six overs. Kapp and Laura Wolvaardt steadied the ship for a while until a rush of blood to the head saw Kapp top edge one to short fine leg off Ashleigh Gardner, who was fantastic with the bat and ball for Australia and would later scoop the Player of Tournament accolade. But with the pressure building, there was confusion in the middle between Luus and Wolvaardt, leading to a simple run-out. That left the hosts teetering at 54/3 with only nine overs and some change left and the required run rate over ten. Chloe Tryon and Wolvaardt then put on 55 off 37 before the latter was trapped in front by Megan Schutt for a well-played 61 off 48, enough to make her the leading run scorer for the tournament. With hopes well and truly on Tryon's broad shoulders, the right-hander landed a few lusty blows but with the required run rate over 13, time was running out and Jess Jonassen would get through her defences to put the writing on the wall for South Africans. Australia's relentless bowling attack held things together in the final overs to keep their undefeated streak against the Proteas intact and claim an incredible sixth T20 World Cup title.
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