Australia registered a thumping win over the first time finalists India as the reigning champions outclassed the Women in Blue by 85 runs on Sunday at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground.
What was expected to be an even-steven contest turned out to be rather a lopsided one, as the Aussie girls were too hot to handle for Harmanpreet Kaur and co. The swashbuckling opening pair of Alyssa Healy (75) and Beth Mooney (78 not out) simply toyed with the Indian bowlers before seamer Megan Schutt and spinner Jess Jonassen bundled out India for a paltry 99 inside 20 overs.
India captain Harmanpreet Kaur reckoned that child prodigy Shafali Verma struggled to bounce back from dropping Healy in the very first over of the match. The 29-year old Queenslander went on to score a 39-ball 75, which proved to be a match-winning knock. However, Kaur does not blame the 16-year old for India’s loss in the World T20 final.
“She’s only 16, she’s playing her first World Cup. She did really, really well and performed for us. For a 16-year-old kid, it’s difficult to keep thinking positively and stay in the game. It’s a learning lesson for her but it could happen to anyone. We can’t blame her because there were others also in her position. We gave chances to batters in great form and it’s difficult for bowlers to come back when that happens. We weren’t feeling under pressure but unfortunately, we were unable to create those chances.
India came into the tournament as one of the youngest squads with an average age of just 23. They also became the first team to field more than one teenager in the tournament’s Final. This team boasts of plenty of new faces since their ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2017 defeat to England.
In 2017 final, which was their second 50-over World Cup final, India fell short of just nine runs, a sharp contrast to their 85-run defeat to Australia in the World T20 final.
“I guess 2017 was more disappointing because that was so close. We didn’t play the cricket we expected of ourselves this time. As our team is quite young, we did really well in the league games. We reached the semis and the Final this year. If we keep working and improving, maybe in the future we can win. There was still excitement. It was a great day, we definitely enjoyed it.
“Winning and losing is part of the game, one team has to do both. At the end of the day, it was a great moment for us. We didn’t field well, we need to learn from today’s performance.”
“When you are playing a great level of cricket, you cannot drop the chances and we were not up to the mark. We will take this seriously and when we come to play next time, we will be one of the best fielding sides,” stated Harmanpreet.