Australia, pull out an absolute stunner to clinch their first-ever World T20, a decade ago, on this day. Both the teams were invincible till the finals and were contenders to lift the Cup. New Zealand looked confident after restricting their counter part to 106 for 8, but they could not deal with the pressure, created by the Australian attack, and fell four runs short.
New Zealand has required 24 runs in the last 8 balls and Sophie Devine was on strike. They had made a mockery of a chase against a comparatively lower total and Sophie Devine was their only hope. She ignited the hopes of the Kiwi Fans by hitting a four, over Rene Ferrel’s head and a six over long-off in consecutive balls. Ellyse Perry was given the task to defend 14 in the last over.
Though Sophie Devine picked up 4 doubles from that over, she failed to save her team from another heartbreak of the Kiwis. Devine required five runs from the last ball to win and she struck a powerful straight drive. Perry showed her football skills to deflect the ball to mid-on where Sthalekar stopped the ball and only one run was scored. This sealed an Australian win by three runs. Perry was named the player of the match for her 3/18.
Earlier New Zealand started their chase solidly. Bates pulled the first ball of the innings for two and hit a six over long-on in the second over, bowled by Rene Farrell. However, in the fourth over, Watkins’ pull from the bowling of Clea Smith was taken by a leaping Blackwell at midwicket, which gave Australia their much-needed breakthrough. In the next over Blackwell ran out McGlashan for 1.
In the next over Bates lost her wicket to pull Ellyse Perry down the ground and was caught by Elliott, who ran across from mid-off. The following over, Perry uprooted another dependable Kiwi batter Amy Satterthwaite’s off stump with a ball that kept low and New Zealand were reduced to 29 for 4 in the 7th over. Two Aussie spinners Sheley Nitsckey and Lisa Sthalekar made life harder for the batters.
In the next four overs, they only managed to score 7 runs while losing the wicket of Rachel Priest, who was given out by TV Umpire Asad Rauf. Nicola Browne and Sophie Devine added 41 runs in as many balls but that was never enough as the run rate was increasing after every passing ball.
After captain, Australian skipper Alex Blackwell elected to bat first at Kensington Oval, New Zealand took control of the match in the initial overs. more effectively. Sain Ruck got rid of Shelley Nistchkey for three in the 3rd over. Nicola Browne bowled her quota of four overs straight through, taking 2/11. Elyse Villani (6) was forced to miscue a drive to cover against Nicola Browne to claim her first wicket. Another key wicket came with Blackwell’s exit for 0 after she cut a rising ball to Devine, who took a sharp catch in the gully. Australia was reduced to 20/3 within the powerplay.
This was following by a partnership of 30 between Lea Poulton and Jess Cameron, but they were unable to increase the run rate. Their 30 runs came off 45 balls with a single boundary. When it seemed like, the duo will push the accelerator, both of them were sent to pavilion within a space of 1 run. While Poulton became a victim of Sophie Devine, Jess Cameron missed a long hop from Kate Braodmore, leaving Australia at 5/51 in the 13th over. Only Poulton managed a solitary boundary.
Alyssa Heally scored a run a ball 10 but then got run out while attempting a second run, after being dropped by Sara McGlashan. The Australian total was boosted by the late blasts from Sarah Elliott and Lisa Sthalekar. Duo added 27 runs in 22 balls. Sthalekar hit two boundaries in the 19th over against Sophie Devine to take the score to 99. In the next ball, Sthalekar moved right across her stumps again, hoping to paddle the ball past fine leg, but Devine fired a yorker to dislodge the bells.
The innings ended with a one-handed catch by New Zealand captain Aimme Watkins who leapt high at the cover to prevent a drive from Rene Farrell going for four. These late runs turn out to be crucial in the context of the match. While Ellyse Perry won the Player of the Match for her 3/18, Nicola Brown became the Player of the Tournament for her 79 runs at a strike rate of 122 and 9 wickets at an average less than 9.
Australia 106/8 (Leah Poulton 20, Nicola Brown 2/11) beat New Zealand 103/6 (Sophie Devine 38*, Ellyse Perry 3/18) by 3 runs.