26 February 2023

Australia beat South Africa to win Women’s T20 World Cup for sixth time

26 February 2023

Australia claimed their third successive Women’s T20 World Cup title and sixth in total with a 19-run victory over hosts South Africa in Cape Town.

Beth Mooney shone again on the big stage as she top-scored with an unbeaten 74 off 53 balls, hitting nine fours and a six, as Australia made 156 for six after opting to bat first at Newlands.

In reaching her half-century, Mooney became the first player to record two fifty-plus scores in Women’s T20 World Cup finals, having made an unbeaten 78 during Australia’s crushing victory over India in 2020.

South Africa opener Laura Wolvaardt kept her side in contention in their first appearance in the final with an superb 61 in response, but the Proteas lost wickets at regular intervals and ended up falling short on 137 for six.

Australia have impressed during the powerplay throughout the tournament and, after winning the toss, they got off to another fine start as Alyssa Healy and Mooney put on 36 in the first five overs.

Marizanne Kapp broke that stand when she had Healy caught for 18, but Ash Gardner picked up where her team-mate left off in a second-wicket stand worth 46 with Mooney.

Player of the tournament Gardner clubbed two sixes and two fours in making 29 before she was caught looking to go big again off the bowling of Chloe Tryon.

Grace Harris was then clean bowled by Nonkululeko Mlaba for 10 as Australia were reduced to 103 for three in the 15th over.

Despite those falling around her, Mooney stood strong at the other end and, having created history with her half-century, she helped set South Africa a challenging total.

Shabnim Ismail – fresh from her three-wicket haul in the semi-final upset of England – struck twice in successive balls in the final over to finish with figures of two for 26, while Kapp claimed two for 35, but Australia would have felt in confident mood at the midway point of the final.

The all-conquering Australians then immediately got to work with the ball as South Africa failed to capitalise on their powerplay, Tazmin Brits – player of the match against England – making 10 from 17 balls before falling to Darcie Brown.

The hosts were going at less than a run a ball when Kapp top-edged Gardner straight into the hands of Brown and a huge mix-up in the middle led to captain Sune Luus being run out cheaply.

That left South Africa on 54 for three but Wolvaardt’s stunning form continued as she stood firm at the top of the order, making her third-successive half-century in the tournament.

She struck five fours and three sixes to keep her side in it, but Australia all-but confirmed their sixth World Cup crown in eight editions when the 23-year-old was trapped lbw trying to sweep Megan Schutt in the 17th over.

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