The Women’s World Cup final turned out to be a major anti-climax. West Indies had done exceedingly well to get into their maiden final ahead of bigger teams like Australia, New Zealand and India. However, on the big day, they felt the pressure of the occasion, and were neverin any sort of position to win the trophy. A fairer assessment of the final would be incomplete with mentioning that Australia, who had won the premier tournament five times before, never allowed the West Indians any chance to make an impact on the big day. In short, their expertise in finals was on show, which made a big difference in the end.
From the moment they decided to bat first after winning the toss, Australia’s domination was evident. The openers Meg Lanning and Rachael Haynes gave them a solid stand, adding 50 inside the first ten overs of the innings. Even after Lanning was dismissed, Haynes continued to hold in the innings in the company of Jess Cameron. While Haynes’ half-century set up the innings nicely for Australia, it was Cameron’s attacking knock that was the game changer. Thanks to Cameron’s assault, the Aussies managed to head into the death overs on a high.
To their credit, West Indies fought back well briefly, picking up a few middle-order batswomen cheaply. However, just when they needed to tighten the screws, the Windies bowlers faltered. Wicket-keeper Jodie Fields and Ellyse Perry came up with impressive cameos that took Australia towards an impressive total for a final. West Indies suffered because only one of their bowlers rose to the occasion the big day. Shaquana Quintyne performed well, not only picking up three wickets, but also going at under three per over. Sadly for the Caribbeans, it wasn’t enough for them to restrict the rampaging Aussies.
With the ball as well, the Aussies were much superior to West Indies. Unlike the Windies bowlers, they never allowed the batting side to get on top of them. Australia kept things tight from the very end, and although West Indies hadn’t lost a wicket until the 10th over, the runs weren’t coming at a fair pace, as a result of which the pressure got to the West Indian batswomen. And once they lost their first three wickets with less than 50 on the board, there was no way back for the West Indies. None of their batsmen managed to reach even 30, which was a fair indication of how well the Aussie bowled. It was a perfect team effort with Perry grabbing three wickets while Megan Schutt, Lisa Sthalekar and Erin Osborne chipped in with two wickets each, as the West Indians fell short by well over 100 hundred runs.
In spite of the massive margin of defeat, the West Indians have no reason to be disheartened. They did not arrive with India as one of the favourites and yet managed to make it to the summit clash. The simple fact was that Australia were far more polished for the occasion, and deserved to win.
--By A Cricket Analyst