The T20 Women’s World Cup final was played in front of a packed stadium in Newlands, Cape Town, with two teams making history.
South Africa did their nation proud, reaching a World Cup final (in any format) for the first time, while Australia are now three-time world champions (six times in total).
Sadly for South Africa, it wasn’t the fairy tale ending they were hoping for. The final was however a fair tribute to women’s cricket and showed how this tournament won and united South Africa as a nation.
It would have been amazing for women’s cricket if the home team had won the trophy, but it was almost inevitable that this Australian team would return to play a flawless, smooth team cricket game and reign as world champions once more.
What is so impressive about Australia is how long they have been the dominant force in world cricket and how they never show any signs of slowing down.
They have a world-class domestic system that is shining on the world stage and producing young international greats like Grace Harris and Darcie Brown who can thrive amongst some of the all-time greats like Beth Mooney and Alyssa Healy.
Mooney scoring an unbeaten 79 from 53 balls in the final was the epitome of what the Australian team is all about. Great artists stepping up for the big occasion. They are constantly improving their game, and what makes them so good is how they handle themselves under pressure.
When the pressure is greatest, that’s where Australia plays their cricket best and calmest.
What is exciting for the rest of the world though is that global cricket is starting to become more competitive through other nations professionalizing their cricket systems and franchises now establishing themselves in the women’s game: WPL, The Hundred, PSL and BBL.
We will only see more and more nations and athletes play on these big occasions, allowing players to rise at just the right moment.
Destructive young players have emerged throughout the Australian system, such as the remarkable rise of Alana King.
When we look into why, they have been playing top-level pressure cricket for several years outside the international arena. We just had Australia’s eighth Big Bash League. The Hundred has only completed its second season and we have the inaugural WPL and PSL.
These systems help produce players and give them a platform. As we are starting in England, with the emergence of Lauren Bell and Alice Capsey in the last 18 months. I hope this happens in India too with the WPL.
Since the teams are playing competitive domestic cricket in their home country under a good structure this gives them the best chance for the talent to flourish and therefore to unseat this unbelievable Australian team.
They won’t be an easy team to beat. This is one of the greatest teams in Australian sporting history. They play with an ingrained mindset to win games and handle high-pressure situations with ease. It is a culture that will require new thinking to defeat it. That’s why it’s exciting to look forward to next year with England and The Ashes on the horizon, considering their bold new approach under manager Jon Lewis.
It’s a fascinating time for women’s cricket, with Australia leading the way. The rest of the world is competing with one of the arguably best teams and team cultures of all time.
England have a task on their hands this summer. But, you know what, I’m excited for them to take it.
Thank you South Africa for hosting such a fabulous tournament over the last few weeks. I hope it has inspired many boys and girls in your country.
Finally, here’s a look at my 2023 T20 Women’s World Cup tournament squad…
Phoebe’s T20 World Cup Tournament Team
1) Laura Wolvaardt (South Africa). It’s great to see her finish top scorer in a home tournament.
2) Alissa Healy (Australia). This was a tough decision for the wicket-keeper as India’s Richa Ghosh is a huge talent, super skilled with the gloves and has scored 137 runs in the tournament, but Healy gets the nod here.
3) Ashleigh Gardner (Australia). She continues to prove her £340k WPL worth.
4) Smriti Mandhana (India). I will be interested to see how she plays cricket this summer as I think there is still more to come from her.
5) Sophia Dunkley (England). She’s been playing so freely, with the opening role really suiting her. It’s lovely to see her blossom in the new ‘Jon Lewis era’.
6) Beth Mooney (Australia). The goat. A big game player scoring big runs in the final, so an easy choice.
7) Nat Sciver-Brunt (England). have to choose the best all-rounder in the world that is in the shape of your life.
8) Edge Prendergast (Ireland). I loved watching her talent grow on the big stage. What a discovery for Ireland.
9) Sophie Ecclestone (England). The T20 GOAT, the highest wicket-taker in the tournament and still ranked the number one bowler in the world
10) Shabnim Ismail (South Africa). She shows what fast bowling is all about, time and time again. I think she is the role model for all female bowlers on ‘how to bowl fast’.
11) Megan Schutt (Australia). She is consistently brilliant for Australia and a great wicket-taker.