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"Proud is an understatement for impact Australia have had globally as team"

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Last updated on 26 Feb 2023 | 05:49 PM
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"Proud is an understatement for impact Australia have had globally as team"

Australia defeated South Africa in the final of the 2023 T20 World Cup to claim their sixth title

Australia Women are unarguably the most dominating team in the history of cricket. We are talking about seven ICC titles in the 50-over format and five in the 20-over format. No wait, make it six T20 World Cup wins now, after they defeated South Africa in the final of the 2023 showpiece event in Cape Town on Sunday (February 26).

South Africa bowled with great control in the first innings and managed to keep Australia’s top-order quiet for a while. However, Ashleigh Gardner walked in and slammed 29 off 21 before Beth Mooney found her touch and finished with 74* off 53. 

Chasing 157, Laura Wolvaardt (48-ball 61) was the only South African batter to put up some fight and that was never going to be enough against Meg Lanning and Co. Australia, who remained unbeaten throughout the tournament, eventually won the game by 19 runs.

The surface was slightly on the trickier side and Lanning felt they managed to post a “good score” on the Newlands’ surface. “It's a pretty special effort from the group, all the teams came really hard and we knew that was gonna happen, but to be able to perform so well throughout the tournament, super proud,” said the Australian captain.

“We felt it was a good score but you have to bowl well with the wicket not as good as it was in the semi-final. So we were confident if we could hit the right lengths and target the stumps enough, we will be able to put South Africa under pressure. I thought our powerplay was excellent and that really set the tone.”

Australia were pushed to their limits on a couple of occasions but displayed tremendous professionalism to remain unbeaten. “It was a great event and we got some really good experience within the group and we wanted to really call on that and make sure when the pressure was on we are able to keep things simple and get things done and that's what everybody did.

“It's a special group, not just the players but the support staff who put a lot of work behind the scenes, so just want to thank all that back group over there who certainly allowed us to go out there and play some cricket and really enjoy ourselves.”

Mooney was named Player of the Match for scoring a crucial half-century. The left-handed opener only managed two runs in the first two games but ended with scores of 56, 20, 54 and 74*. “Very special win. I wasn't really calm in the middle. It was a really tough wicket and I was a little too hard on myself in the middle. Really disappointed with my outings in the first couple of games. But the team always believed in me to turn it around.”

Meanwhile, Ashleigh Gardner was named Player of the Tournament, scoring 110 runs at an average of 36.66 and a strike rate of close to 120. The spin-bowling all-rounder also claimed 10 wickets at an economy of 6.25. “We have been longing for this moment since the last World Cup. We weren't in winning positions in certain phases, but we scrapped and got through,” said Gardner.

“Probably the semifinal performance with the bat against India was the best of this tournament for me. We have won this tournament. We spoke about wanting to do this, so really proud. Confidence in my bowling. I have bowled quite a bit even in the Big Bash. Thankfully it (form) has come into international cricket as well. Proud is probably an understatement for the impact we have had globally as a team.”

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