Shafali in tears! Australia women outplay India to lift 5th T20 World Cup title

Source :SIFY
Author :SIFY
Last Updated: Mon, Mar 9th, 2020, 09:17:19hrs
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Australia, that scraped into the final in a rain-hit semi-final, delivered a dominating performance as they bulldozed Indian women into submission in front of over 86,000 spectators at the MCG to lift their 5th T20 World Cup trophy on Sunday.

Shafali Verma would do well to forget the first over of both the innings of the final.

"At 16, I had not watched women's cricket, let alone starting to play myself. And here they are, playing for India. It's a big thing. Yes, Shafali took the dropped chance to her heart. On one level, you understand these are kids we're talking about.

"But at some level, they must also realise what their mistake was and take this as a lesson. Such things help you become better, look for motivation within. Shafali has a long way to go, but the sooner you learn from these mistakes, the better."

Harmanpreet Kaur, India W captain

"I told her she has got to be really proud of the kind of campaign she had. As a 16-year-old, when I first played the World Cup, I couldn't hit the ball 60 per cent of the way she could. She was really upset the way she got out. But she is that kind of a kid - she keeps thinking about how to get better.

"This time she should be left alone. This is the time to introspect. Especially because failure teaches you more than success. I think the whole team should be left alone and just introspect how we can grow as players."

Smriti Mandhana, India W vice-captain

In the first half, the 16-year-old dropped a sitter offered by Alyssa Healy, who was unstoppable following the early reprieve. The Aussie wicket-keeper bat blasted 75 off just 39 deliveries including a hat-trick of sixes.

In the second half, chasing 185, Shafali nicked one to Healy off Megan Schutt, who hates bowling to the youngster.

Both these moments were setbacks from which India never recovered.

After winning the toss on a belter, Australia openers put on a show in front of a packed home crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

"It was unbelievable, thank you everyone. You can't wipe off the smile out of my face, even if we lost this game. It's the nature of how I play, just needed a little bit of luck. Just went out there and enjoyed my time. Mooney is sensational. She got off strike and let me do my thing. We are having a lot of fun together."

Alyssa Healy, Player of the match

Beth Mooney and Alyssa Healy hammered half centuries as the reigning champions set a perfect platform and even looked like posting a 200-plus total.

Mooney, who was the player of the series, remained not out on 78 from 54 deliveries. Rajeshwari Gayakwad failed to hang on to a chance offered by Mooney in the fourth off her own bowling.

Healy and Mooney shared a 115-run opening wicket stand which threatened to take the game away from India but all-rounder Deepti Sharma snared two wickets in the 17th over of star Aussie skipper Meg Lanning (16) and Ashleigh Gardner (2) to pull things back for the Harmanpreet Kaur-led Indian side.

"I'm lost for words. I think we stuck to our processes, if it wasn't your day someone else chipped in. We sort of knew what went wrong against India in the first game and we worked on our plans accordingly. Everyone did pretty well, and we had the support of 87000 people."

 Beth Mooney, Player of the tournament

But Mooney was in no mood to relent as she continued to find the fence regularly and take Australia to the competition's highest score.

Healy started off with the fireworks with husband and Australia pacer Mitchell Starc, who cut short his South Africa tour with the team to watch the final, in the stands.

Shikha Pandey had a bad day in office as she was taken for a whopping 52 runs in four overs.

Radha Yadav removed Healy who was caught by Veda Krishnamurthy at long on. But half the damage was already done by then. Deepti removed Lanning and Gardner in the same over to give India some hope but Mooney was in the form of her life as she played Poonam Yadav exceptionally well and also forced her to come round the wicket in her final over.

"The way we played in the league stages, it was outstanding. It was unfortunate to drop those catches today. I still have a lot of faith in my team, the next one and half years is important. The future is important for us. We need to stay calm and focus on the areas we need to improve, especially the fielding. We know we weren't able to win the game because of our fielding. We need to keep these things in mind. The future is great for us. We need to trust ourselves. I trust this team. The first game was very good, it gave us a lot of confidence. It's unfortunate for us not to win today. We have to keep working hard. We are in the right line, every year we are improving. We just need to think of how we are going to play with more focus in big games, because sometimes, we are not able to give our best in important games. I hope upcoming years will give us a lot of glory."

Harmanpreet Kaur, India W captain

Chasing a stiff 185 for victory, India were never in the chase and were skittled out for just 99 in 19.1 overs.

Deepti Sharma (33) top-scored for the visitors who cut a sorry figure as the likes of skipper Harmanpreet Kaur (4), Smriti Mandhana (11), teenage sensation Shafali Verma (2) and Jemimah Rodrigues (0) failed.

Sixteen-year-old batter Richa Ghosh was named as a concussion substitute for Taniya Bhatia who got hit in the helmet while batting.

Wicketkeeper Bhatia was hit flush on the grill as she tried to sweep Jess Jonassen and had to retire hurt in the 2nd over itself. Later, she was not able to continue with teenager Richa replacing her.

It summed up India's plight as they could never be at ease with the extra bounce on the MCG wicket which was otherwise good for batting  and the Aussies were spot-on with their catching.

Besides Deepti, Veda Krishnamurthy (19) and Richa (18) scored some runs but it was never enough as the Aussies stifled their rivals from the word go and had a grip of the game all throughout.

For the Aussies, Megan Schutt (4/18) and Jess Jonassen (3/20) starred with the ball.

"I'm just proud of this group of players and staff, we have had ups and downs. To put this kind of performance on the biggest day is outstanding and something that I'm really proud of. It was tough, especially after we lost that first game as there were a lot of expectations from us. We came in this tournament to win, we were hoping to be here. We struck together as a group. Especially against India we had to change our tactics quickly, had to execute on the big stage. I never thought I would play in front of such crowd. I'd like to thank all the support staff, to family and friends. And, also to the fans, I'm happy to play in front of you. It has been an amazing tournament and we love playing in front of this crowd."

Meg Lanning, Australia W captain

(With agency inputs)

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