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Australia Win to Sixth Women T20 World Cup

Australia Win to Sixth Women T20 World Cup

Australia Win to Sixth Women T20 World Cup

Australia 156 for 6 (Mooney 74*, Ismail 2-26, Kapp 2-35) beat South Africa 137 for 6 (Wolvaardt 61, Tryon 25, Gardner 1-20) by 19 runs

Let no one influence you into believing this was a choke.

Truth be told, this was a game of high-intensity cricket, fitting of a grand finale. The pressure was immense, and Australia, more skilled and adept at handling big-match temperament - this was their seventh straight final - came up triumphs to clinch their sixth T20 World Cup title and their third in a row.

If anyone needed more validation that this is the best women's cricket team in the planet, it couldn't have been delivered at a bigger stage. Australia made 156 seem like 180, before their bowlers stood tall on the face of a late assault from Laura Wolvaardt that threatened to take the game away.

South Africa needed 59 off 30 balls, with Wolvaardt pumping a packed Newlands crowd with some of the most aesthetically-pleasing shots. Then, much to their agony, she swiped across the line to a full delivery from Megan Schutt and was trapped lbw. South African hearts sank, a teary Wolvaardt trudged off slowly, and boisterous applause gave way to stunned silence.

Australia believed and Australia delivered.

For South Africa, it was a case of being so near, yet so far. However, even in defeat, Sune Luus & co had done what no other South African senior team - men or women - had done: compete in a world final. This was as bittersweet as it could get.

Dangerous Healy falls early

Four overs in, this seemed a proper arm-wrestle with neither side catching the game by the scruff of its neck. The first signs of drama, that wouldn't abate for the rest of the evening, came in the fifth over when Alyssa Healy bludgeoned a boundary down the ground, and then saw Marizanne Kapp roar with her wicket to finish the over. That wicket - brought about by spongy bounce that had Healy slicing an attempted cut to cover - laid down a marker: that hit-the-deck stuff was going to be harder to hit than fuller deliveries. Shabnim Ismail then closed off the first six overs with a maiden to have Australia 36 for 1, their slowest powerplay of the tournament.

Ashleigh Gardner revs up

Sent in ahead of Meg Lanning, Ashleigh Gardner offset any pressure there may have been on Australia with a fierce counterattack. Two back-to-back fours off left-arm spinner Nonkululeko Mlaba were followed by back-to-back sixes off Nadine de Klerk, shots that were possible courtesy outstanding footwork and a solid hitting base that allowed her to get underneath proper length deliveries. The attack put the pressure right back on South Africa. And just when Australia were beginning to exert their dominance, Chloe Tryon deceived Gardner in flight to have her caught at long-off for a rampaging 21-ball 29. At 82 for 2 in the 12th, Australia were still in control.

South Africa believe through Wolvaardt

Wolvaardt had to now put behind her the run out gaffe, and she did so admirably. Without playing a shot in anger, she kept reeling off boundaries, brought up her half-century off 43 balls with one of the most pleasing cover drives, and brought South Africa to within 59 runs of victory with 30 balls left. In Tryon, she had a batter who could bash the ball. The pair put together 55 in 37 balls to keep South Africa's hopes alive, before they both fell in successive overs to all but extinguish their hopes.

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