Australia Women beats England Women by 4 runs in ICC Women's World Twenty20 2012 final
Much like Sri Lanka’s men at the ICC World Twenty20 2009, England’s women made largely untroubled progress to the final of this tournament. But as Sri Lanka did then, England ran into a team that peaked at the right time and an experienced all-rounder who chose the big stage to deliver a defining performance.
Lisa Sthalekar followed up a tidy 26-ball 23 with a miserly four overs that yielded two wickets and just 16 runs. After a belligerent 45 from Jess Cameron had given Australia 142 to defend, and with Ellyse Perry a livewire on the field, it edged out its great rival by four runs to retain the trophy it won in the Caribbean two years ago.
When the two sides met in the group stages in Galle, England chased down 145 with 11 balls to spare. When Charlotte Edwards steered a wide delivery from Perry through gully for four to start the innings, it appeared that a repeat was possible. But Sthalekar, bowling with cap on like Greg Matthews used to, and Perry maintained a semblance of control, and Julie Hunter, the tournament’s leading wicket-taker struck in her first over, sending back Laura Marsh with a sharp return catch.
It wasn’t until the final over of the Power Play that Edwards really opened up with a six and four off Erin Osborne. Even then, the first six overs yielded just 34. Both Edwards and Sarah Taylor then picked up fours off Hunter as the run rate started to climb. Jodie Fields, Australia’s captain, then gambled on bringing Sthalekar back and the complexion of the game changed as Edwards’ attempt to clear the leg-side was well caught by Perry at deep mid-wicket.
Soon after, Perry herself was back in the attack and a fairly wide delivery induced a thin edge behind from Taylor, whose unbeaten 65 had piloted that Galle chase. Just to prove that she couldn’t be kept away from the action, Perry popped up at deep mid-wicket in the next over, to catch Lydia Greenway off Jess Jonassen’s bowling.
Alyssa Healy dropped Arran Brindle on the rope at deep mid-wicket off Jonassen’s bowling, but it didn’t prove too costly as Sthalekar, in her final over, got one to turn sharply and clip off stump. Danni Wyatt had made a 17-ball 33 in the Galle chase, but could manage only nine here as Alex Blackwell dived forward to take an exceptional catch at extra cover.
Blackwell then put down a skier from Jenny Gunn, and there were more fumbles and drops as the pressure mounted. England refused to go quietly, with Gunn thumping 19 from 13 balls. Hunter’s final over, the 18th of the innings, went for 12, but crucially, Gunn popped the last ball to fine leg.
Perry conceded seven off the 19th, leaving England to get 16 from the last six balls. It could manage just 11.
Sent in to bat, Australia owed its total to a sprightly start. Meg Lanning started with a cut for four off Katherine Brunt and though Danielle Hazell started tidily enough, the innings started motoring in Brunt’s second over. A no-ball was beautifully off-driven for four and Lanning then went over cover with the free hit. Healy pulled the final ball for four as 16 came from the over.
The next two bowling changes didn’t stop the runs either. Healy stepped out to drive Wyatt through cover, and then pulled Anya Shrubsole for four more as the Power Play ended with 47 on the board.
Holly Colvin came on with her left-arm spin, and had Lanning caught and bowled for 25 with her fifth delivery. Jess Cameron paddle-swept Marsh for four and then exhibited superb footwork to come down the track and hit her straight down the ground.
Healy made 26 before she was bowled trying to pull Hazell, and Cameron and Sthalekar then worked the ball around cleverly to ensure that the innings didn’t flag. Cameron played an audacious reverse-paddle off Marsh to bring up 100 and then targetted Shrubsole for especially harsh treatment. There was a six over mid-wicket, a ramp shot over the keeper for four and then a meaty biff over cover as the over cost 17. The two added 51 in just six overs before Cameron’s 34-ball 45 ended with a loft to long-on.
Only 23 came from the final four overs as Colvin finished with 2 for 21, but with England unable to replicate the Cameron-Sthalekar partnership, 142 turned out to be enough. Only just.