Women’s T20 World Cup Final: South Africa v AustraliaAustralia 156-6 (20 overs): Mooney 74* (53); Ismail 2-26South Africa 137-6 (20 overs): Wolvaardt 61 (48); Gardner 1-20Australia won by 19 runsScorecard.Australia cruised to their sixth Women’s T20 World Cup title with a 19-run win over South Africa in Cape Town.
In front of a full house at Newlands, Australia reached 156-6 with Beth Mooney striking a sublime unbeaten 74.
In reply, South Africa put up a spirited fight but after a slow start, struggled to cope with the class of Australia’s bowlers and totalled 137-6.
It is Australia’s third T20 title in a row, and the sixth time in seven editions they have won the tournament.
Spurred on by the raucous crowd, South Africa fought valiantly in the field after losing the toss, chipping away with regular wickets to keep Australia’s run-rate under control, each one greeted by a remarkable roar.
There were two wickets apiece for star seamers Shabnim Ismail and Marizanne Kapp, but opener Mooney defied them all in a crucial knock that held the innings together.
A target of 157 felt difficult but achievable for the hosts, who had posted 164 against England in the semi-final, but they were left to rue a nervous start to the run chase as they crawled to 22-1 after the powerplay and 53-2 after 10 overs.
Laura Wolvaardt somewhat made up for her slow start with an entertaining 61 from 48 balls but her attacking intent came too late for the hosts.
But despite the disappointment, South Africa and Cape Town were treated to a historic and memorable day for the country’s first ever cricket World Cup final, a day where the impact on the nation felt bigger than the occasion itself.
Newlands unites for South Africa’s history makers From the moment Sune Luus’ side secured their place in the final after a gripping six-run win over England, it felt like something was shifting for South African cricket.
It was the first time the country had reached a World Cup final in either men’s or women’s cricket after 11 attempts, and the day after the semi-final, the streets surrounding Cape Town’s historic ground were lined by passionate fans clamouring to get their hands on the 3,000 extra tickets that had been made available for the momentous day.
Captain Luus said the sight of people queuing to get in to a women’s cricket match was something she had never expected to see, and such was its significance and rarity that it felt like South African cricket had already won, even before a ball had been bowled.
This was a side whose preparation started controversially, with captain Dane van Niekerk dropped over fitness issues, and whose tournament started with a bad loss to Sri Lanka.
There was a concern that they had already peaked by beating England, who were strong favourites to reach the final, but they held their own against the world’s best and gave their adoring fans plenty to enjoy.
What was striking was the crowd’s diversity. Young boys and girls, families and groups of teenagers all erupted as Luus and Chloe Tryon took their fantastic catches in Australia’s innings, and burst into life when Wolvaardt cleared the ropes with her three huge sixes.
Sinalo Jafta and Nadine de Klerk sunk to their knees after the final ball and there were distraught faces in the dugout, but as the thousands of fans stayed in their seats and applauded their team even after defeat, the overriding emotion was one of hope, and of more to come.
Australia’s reign continues It is a record that speaks for itself: six of the last seven T20 World Cup titles, current 50-over world champions and Commonwealth Games champions at the first time of asking.
Trophies are starting to feel like a formality, but they are greatness personified, a team exceptionally well-versed in professionalism and athleticism, for whom winning comes almost as naturally as breathing.
It is to South Africa’s credit that they did not let Australia run away with it, but not once did they panic.
Wickets fell at crucial times for the hosts, stalling the flow of Australian runs just as they started to leak, but through it all, Mooney stood firm.
The left-hander is not one of Australia’s headline names but that is her danger, often going unnoticed, but always capable of turning a game with her innovation and power.
In the field, it was business-like. Their bowlers tied a nervous South African opening pair down with consistency, and in the field, shots that their own batters hit for four constantly found a fielder.
For South Africa, it will sting in the immediacy.
But as the closing fireworks erupted in to the Newlands sky, the crowd continued to wave its country’s flag, knowing they had witnessed greatness, a team at the peak of its powers – but they had also created history of their own.
‘A special effort’ – what they saidAustralia captain Meg Lanning: “It is a pretty special effort. All the teams came hard at us, but to be able to perform throughout the tournament I am super proud.
“It is a special group – not just the players, but the support staff, who put in a lot of work behind the scenes. They allow us to just go out and play our cricket. To have all the support from back home and here has been amazing and we certainly feel it.”
South African’s skipper Sune Luus: “It’s been absolutely amazing to play in our home ground with so many people watching and the support. We’ve never imagined being in the final and the ground being filled too – thank you Newlands.
“Congratulations [to Australia]. You guys are annoying. You have been inspiring the world of cricket for so long and you show your class time and time again.
“I think we’ve set the platform today. We can’t go backwards and the pressure is on to keep growing the sport.”