In almost a one-sided match for the experienced Australian side, Sune Luus’ South Africa fell short of 19 runs on the board to get themselves punished by the all-powerful Aussies in the final of the ICC T20 World Cup 2023. With tears all around the South African faces, Australia rose one more time to celebrate as the T20I World Champions. Beth Mooney swept the Player of the Match award for her unbeaten 74-run knock-off with just 53 deliveries.
And to commence with the day, it was all set for the home crowd to witness the Proteas perform in the final of the T20I World Cup against the five-time champions Australia. Both sides remained unchanged as the captains Meg Lanning and Sune Luus walked in to toss the coin.
Australia won the toss and chose to bat first. Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney were out in the middle to square off against the South African bowling attack spearheaded by Nonkululeko Mlaba. Healy was off the mark on the second ball of the historic final match and the innings with a wonderful boundary at square leg.
A second boundary by Healy in the following over gave confidence to her partner Mooney who opened the face of her bat for the first time for a fantastic four in the third over followed by her second in the next over’s last ball.
The fifth over saw a mixture of sights for the crowd as both the openers got to score one boundary each before Healy departed early as Marizanne Kapp came into the game harder with a breakthrough for her team. Healy walked off for 18 off 20 balls. The big wickets followed a maiden last over of the powerplay that summarized at 36 for 1.
With a couple and a few singles Ashleigh Gardner thought of bringing back her team on track with two back-to-back fours in the eighth over and the maestro of the batter doubled in the following over as she scooped the fourth and fifth ball of the ninth over for two consecutive maximums.
With some extra confidence gained with the power-hitting by Gardner, Money too took the momentum to push the first ball of the tenth over for a four. But the good-going Gardner and the Australian innings felt a jolt as Gardner gifted her wicket away to Chloe Tryon on the last ball of the twelfth over at 29 off 21.
Although the wicket was a big one for South Africa they could not resist Mooney from pulling the momentum back into the game with two back-to-back boundaries in the thirteenth over. New down Grace Harris, tried to contribute significantly with a boundary from her end in the fourteenth over but got succumbed to Mlaba’s first delivery of the fifteenth over.
Lanning was into the attack at number 5 and she started off things in her style with an astonishing boundary on the very first face-off with the ball. The eighteenth over was again a down for the Aussies with their skipper’s wicket on the very first ball but that got balanced by a boundary each from Ellyse Perry and Mooney that pushed the latter to her most valuable half-century.
With a standard show of running between the wickets in the nineteenth over, Mooney hammered the first ball of the last over for a long six clearing long-on followed by a lofted boundary on the very next ball.
But a single from her end went worse for Australia as Ellyse Perry (7 off 5) and Georgia Wareham (0 off 1) lost their wickets on the last two balls of the innings concluding the scoreboard at 156 for the loss of 6.
Laura Wolvaardt and Tazmin Brits trotted out in the middle of the wickets to commence the chase and the former opened her account with a famishing four on the fifth ball of the first over. Brits too was off the mark in the following over with a single.
South Africa looked struggling at getting the required amount of runs in the powerplay until Brits opened up their arms for the first time in the chase for a boundary on the fifth ball of the fourth over but things started becoming worse for the home team as Darcie Brown stroke harder to get Brits out in the fifth over at just 10 of 17 balls.
The powerplay summarized at just 22 for 1 with Marizanne Kapp stepping in for a four on the third ball of the sixth over. Sensing well and considering the pressure of the final, Wolvaardt and Kapp came up in the front to push the run rate up and add some weight on the scoreboard which was contemplated with two boundaries each by the batters and the first maximum of the innings by Wolvaardt in the eight over.
Just as South Africa was about to reach their fifty, Gardner brought the breakthrough for her team dismissing Kapp in the ninth over at just 11 off 11 balls. Mid of the chase now and the Proteas stood at just 52 for 2 with the help of Wolvaardt’s boundary in the tenth over to surpass the fifty.
Amid absolute chaos, the South African skipper had to depart early in a chase that needed her the most as she met her run-out at just 2 off 5 balls. But Wolvaardt continued to try shrugging away the pressure as she came in much stronger to launch another six of the match on the fifth ball of the fourteenth over followed by two more boundaries in the next over.
And the hard-fought 61-run knock off just 48 balls by Wolvaardt finally collapsed on the third ball of the seventeenth over as Megan Schutt got her out at an LBW choking the South African chase much tighter. Although Chloe Tryon tried hard to crack down with a six in the following over before getting out in the same over at 25 off 23.
Next in the queue was Anneke Bosch being run out on the second run on the last over of the eighteenth over. And things were all clear and wrapped up as the last two overs could only bring a last four of the tournament from the bat of Sinalo Jafta and some handful of bad luck for the hosts as the last over of the ICC T20 World Cup 2023 witnessed five singles and a double to crown Aussies for the sixth time as the Proteas ended up with 137 for 6 on the board.
ICC T20 World Cup 2023: Australia vs South Africa Final Brief Score
Australia 156/6 (Beth Mooney 74; Shabnim Ismail 2-26) beat South Africa 137/6 (Laura Wolvaardt 61; Ashleigh Gardner 1-20) by 19 runs.