The women of Australia are world champions! In a final that was worth watching, they proved - just like in the group stage - too strong for the reigning world champion, England.
The two giants logically met earlier in the group stage. On March 5, both countries played a competitive match (310-298) which was only just won by Australia. England lost three games in a row in the group stage, but fought their way back into the tournament beautifully, with a place in the final as a just reward.
Christchurch was the setting for the big event. England won the toss. That immediately led to discussion: bat first and get runs on the board or chase a total, aiming for an early breakthrough?
England chose the latter. From the start, however, Australia were on the attack, led by opener Alyssa Healy. The 32-year-old wicketkeeper/ batter showed her entire repertoire of shots - and the English all corners of the field. Her footwork and timing were as good as it gets.
The numbers two and three also played freely. Rachael Haynes (68) supported Healy in the opening partnership of 160, which was not broken until the 31st over. Beth Mooney (62) almost matched that partnership with Healy: 156 runs for the second wicket, which fell in the 46th over (316/2).
England then took some wickets, but couldn't prevent Australia from making 120 runs in the last ten overs and putting up a huge score of 356. Healy's 170 (26x4) was the highest score ever in a World Cup final - women ánd men. She surpassed Adam Gilchrist's 149.
As soon as Megan Schutt bowled over the wicket, she cleaned Wyatt - who earlier had made 129 runs, in the semi-final against South Africa. Tammy Beaumont was LBW, also to an inswinger.
Yet at 59/2/10 England was still in the game after the first Powerplay. It was time for Alana King's legspin. She seemed to have Sciver LBW, but this time the review showed that the otherwise excellent leading umpire was wrong. Shortly after, Heather Knight was LBW: 86/3/15.
After the departure of the English captain, Nat Sciver's performance became crucial, especially when Amy Jones (20) was also dismissed after a mistimed lofted drive.
The required run rate had risen to nearly eight runs per over at the halfway mark.
When Sciver reached her 100 in the 35th over, she had already lost a number of batting partners. Sciver kept the strike as much as possible, but to her horror saw her partners make silly mistakes. Sciver made a memorable 148 not out, but the scoreboard stopped at 280. With wickets in their hands, the English would have had a tiny chance. Now the last wicket fell after 43.4 overs.
End of CWC
With this sizzling final, the Women's Cricket World Cup 2022 has come to an end. Never before has the standard been so high. Brilliant catches, beautiful shots, varied bowling, clever tactical plans, and historical innings. Women's cricket has developed immensely in the past fifteen years.
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