In front of a full crowd at Newlands Stadium, Australia secured their sixth T20 World Cup championship by defeating tournament hosts South Africa by 19 runs.
By winning the final in Cape Town with a margin of 19 runs, Australia has clinched their third consecutive T20 World Cup title, solidifying their position as one of the best teams in the history of the sport, and causing disappointment for the South African team.
On the grandest platform, Beth Mooney demonstrated her resilience by scoring an unbeaten 74 off 53 balls, ensuring Australia reached a total of 6-156, even with Shabnim Ismail’s (2-26) stellar display of fast-bowling.
Despite an electric atmosphere at a Newlands stadium, which was sold out, the hosts could not upset the six-time champions, as South Africa finished on 6-137, despite a brilliant 61 off 48 balls from Laura Wolvaardt that wasn’t enough to create history.
Australia’s triumph in the 2022 T20 World Cup marks their second hat-trick of titles in this tournament, having previously won in 2010, 2012, and 2014. This latest victory is a testament to the impressive track record of Meg Lanning’s team, which has also clinched the 2018 and 2020 T20 World Cups, the 2022 ODI World Cup, and gold in the Commonwealth Games, cementing their place as one of the greatest teams in cricket history.
Despite Laura Wolvaardt’s heroic innings, South Africa was left with a daunting task to accomplish due to Australia’s excellent start with the ball.
The South African opening pair was immediately put under pressure by Ashleigh Gardner, Darcie Brown, and Ellyse Perry, resulting in only 13 runs scored off the first four overs. The frustration of the slow start proved too much for Tazmin Brits, who had been the hero of the semi-final.
After scoring only 10 runs off 16 balls, Tazmin Brits tried to hit a drive down the ground off Darcie Brown’s bowling but unfortunately, her shot found the secure hands of Tahlia McGrath.
Marizanne Kapp (11) came in with determination and hit two boundaries, but was eventually caught out by Gardner. South Africa’s situation worsened when their captain, Sune Luus, was run out after a mix-up with Wolvaardt, leaving the team at 3-54 in the 11th over.
Wolvaardt and Tryon managed to revive South Africa’s innings after two productive overs, taking advantage of mistakes made by the Australian bowlers. McGrath was penalized for overstepping twice, giving away 14 runs in the 13th over, and Wolvaardt hit one of the free hits for a boundary onto the hill.
Wolvaardt and Tryon continued their onslaught in the following over, scoring 15 runs off Wareham, with Wolvaardt smashing a powerful six straight down the ground.
With South Africa needing 69 runs in the final six overs, Wolvaardt continued to lead the charge by reaching her third fifty of the tournament from 43 deliveries.
To stop the run flow, Lanning gave the ball to Gardner who managed to slow down the scoring rate. Later, Megan Schutt took the wicket of Wolvaardt by trapping her on the pads, causing her to leave the pitch after scoring 61 off 48 balls.
Despite the challenging equation of requiring 43 runs from the last 18 balls, Tryon remained a significant threat as she was the only batswoman in the South African lineup capable of achieving such a feat.
Tryon hit a six off Jess Jonassen’s delivery, but the experienced bowler struck back, dismissing Tryon for 25 off 23 balls. In the same over, South Africa lost another wicket as Anneke Bosch was run out. The Australian bowlers were tough to score against, and South Africa’s target proved to be too difficult to achieve.
Mooney played a crucial role in anchoring the innings for Australia, who experimented with their batting order but struggled to dominate against a resilient South African attack that consistently found ways to limit their progress.
Alyssa Healy, who was awarded player of the match in the last two World Cup finals, hit a boundary second ball to get off the mark and went on to find the rope twice more.
Kapp had conceded some runs earlier in the match, but she retaliated with the last delivery of her second over, much to the delight of the crowd. Healy’s attempt to hit over the cover resulted in her dismissal, caught for 18 off 20.
To counter the off-pace bowling and the slower pitch, Australia promoted the powerful Gardner to No.3, which indicated their intention to score runs quickly.
After a maiden over from Shabnim Ismail, which ended the power play, Ashleigh Gardner decided to take matters into her own hands and hit consecutive boundaries off Nonkululeko Mlaba, followed by two successive sixes off Nadine de Klerk.
After a steady start, with the score at 1-73 after 10 overs, Australia was in control, but South Africa needed a breakthrough. That came when Tryon’s spin was introduced, and Gardner, who was trying to hit the off-spinner for a six, was caught brilliantly by Luus in the deep, sending her back to the pavilion for 29 off 21 balls.
As part of another bold decision, Grace Harris was sent in to bat at No.4, but it proved to be unsuccessful as she could only hit one boundary before being bowled by Mlaba.
Australia was at 3-103 and in need of a substantial finish when Lanning walked in to bat.
After arriving at the crease with Australia struggling at 3-103 and in need of a strong finish, Lanning began her innings with a characteristic cut shot that resulted in a boundary. However, she was dismissed for just 10 runs when Kapp bowled a delivery that was caught by a running Tryon in a spectacular fashion.
Mooney played the anchor role as wickets fell regularly, taking some time to settle before hitting the accelerator.
After taking some time to settle, Mooney brought up her half-century off 44 balls. As Australia needed a big finish, she hit an enormous six, followed by a four off Ismail.
After hitting an enormous six followed by a four off Ismail, Mooney took a single and Ismail managed to take back-to-back wickets. Despite this, Australia managed to hit 46 runs off the final five overs, finishing on 6-156.
Both teams remained unchanged as Lanning won the toss and chose to set a target for South Africa.
ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023
The squad for Australia comprised of Meg Lanning as captain, Alyssa Healy as vice-captain, Darcie Brown, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Heather Graham, Grace Harris, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, and Georgia Wareham.