– claim Women’s 20/20 World Cup with win against N/Z
By Sean Devers in Barbados
Yesterday was a forgettable day in Barbados for Australia’s men’s team but their women saved the nation some blushes by upstaging their Men with an upset 3-run win against New Zealand under lights in last evening’s Women’s final of the 20/20 World Cup at the Kensington Oval.
With their Men’s team hammered by England in the final earlier in the day it was left to the Women to salvage some pride for their country. But when a sub-standard batting display saw them crash to 106-8 off 20 overs in ideal conditions many predicted a day of double defeats for the Aussies, especially since unlike their male counterparts they were not the favourites.
Australia compensated for their poor batting with an energised display in the field as New Zealand could only manage 103-6 from 20 overs despite a spirited unbeaten 35-ball 38 from Sophie Devine. This was New Zealand’s third consecutive defeat in a World Cup Final to bring the curtains down on a truly Caribbean flavoured event.
New Zealand had also lost to England in both the finals of the 50-over World Cup in Australia and the 20/20 World Cup in England last year and must be bitterly disappointed with their performance yesterday after looking the best of the female teams in the tournament.
Australia won the toss in sunny conditions and elected to bat first on a nice hard track with good bounce and were never allowed to score freely. Elyse Villani (6), Shelley Nitschke (3) and Skipper Alex Blackwell (0) all fell cheaply as Australia slipped to 20-3 in the 6th over.
The 6-foot Nicola Browne looks like a high-fashion model but like she did in the semis against the West Indies, she bowled with lively pace and finished with 2-11 from her four overs to keep the shackles on the Australian top order.
Leah Poulton offered some fight with a defiant 28-ball 20 but the large boundaries seemed even larger for the Aussie girls as New Zealand looked a well oiled unit.
Sarah Elliott top scored with an unbeaten 19 but Jess Cameron (14), Alyssa Healy (10) and Indian born Lisa Sthalekar (18) all failed to build on starts and when Rene Farrel was brilliantly caught at extra cover off the last ball of the innings by Skipper Aimee Watkins off-spinner Lucy Doolan, New Zealand had produced a commendable performance which their batters later squandered.
Devine supported Browne with 2-21 from 3 overs and at the half-way stage it appeared as if Australia would have had to produce the type of performance in the field usually associated with their Men’s team to prevent both Australian teams from falling at the final hurdle of the 2010 T/20 World Cup. They did.
When New Zealand began their reply, Suzie Bates, who also represented her country in Basketball at the Beijing Olympics and Watkins were never able to get in the big shots.
Bates hit the game’s first six when she charged pacer Farell and lofted her over long-on with ease. Unlike in St Lucia when the boundaries were reduced, the boundaries yesterday remained the same as in the men’s game.
Sarah McGlashan, who scored 84 against the Caribbean girls in the semi-finals, joined Bates after Watkins (2) was removed by Clea Smith in the 4th over at 16-1.
Australia struck a big blow in the 5th over when the hard-hitting McGlashan (1) was run out at 19-2 and the few Australian supporters in the ground were celebrating.
Bates (18) was removed by Ellyse Perry and when Perry bowled Amy Satterthwaite at 29-4 in the 8th over, the pendulum had swung Australia’s way.
The Aussie ladies, who have won the Women’s 50-over World Cup five times, the last in 2005, exhibited the ‘never say die’ Australian attitude and after losing in the semi-finals of this competition in England last year, went one step better than their male counterparts this year.
Devine and Browne (20) joined forces at 36-5 and put together 41 runs for the 6th wicket but their effort was too little too late and when the Player-of-the-Match, 19-year-old Perry (4-0-18-3) had Browne caught behind at 77-6 in the 18th over, Australia were all but home.
Devine reduced the victory target to 14 from the final over with a spanking straight driven boundary and a massive six over mid-wicket off the last 2 balls of the penultimate over from Farell but could only manage eleven in the final over.
Had it not been for a deflection off Perry’s foot from a crunching straight drive with 4 to tie the game off the last ball, the outcome could have been different.
106 for 8 (Poulton 20, Browne 2-11) beat New Zealand 103 for 6 (Devine 38*, Perry 3-18) by 3 runs.
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