Australia’s newest world champions were greeted to a hero’s welcome as they displayed their World T20 cricket trophy to fans at Melbourne’s Federation Square.
The Southern Stars’ triumphant homecoming on Thursday followed their fourth victory in the biennial tournament with an eight-wicket win in the final against England in the West Indies on November 24.
Chasing 105 to win in the final, Australia’s victory was driven by the likes of Ashleigh Gardner, Georgia Wareham and Meg Lanning. Gardner’s figures of 3-22 with the ball and an unbeaten 33 off 26 deliveries was enough to see her named player of the final.
“It’s pretty special,” Gardner said of winning the title. “Especially after the last couple of World Cups we’ve had, we’ve obviously had disappointing ends to them and I know you can’t win all the time, but this group is just so used to winning in those big World Cups.”
Australia’s successful tournament was sparked by the outstanding play of wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy, who was named player of the tournament after amassing 225 runs at an average of 56.25, while also keeping charge behind the stumps. Despite suffering a concussion in a loss against India during the group stages, Healy recovered to post a commanding 46 off 38 deliveries in the semi-final against the hosts, the West Indies, ensuring the Australians could make the final.
She told the rapturous Federation Square crowd that while it felt good to play consistent in-form cricket, the victory could not have been achieved without everyone putting in the same amount of effort into every game.
“It was obviously relieving to get over there and do my job, but I was really proud of the group and everyone involved … everyone just stood up when needed and really contributed to every single successful part of the team, which was really cool, and hopefully we just keep building on that,” Healy said.
Southern Stars coach Matthew Mott said that their “fearless attitude” was key to Australia’s successful tournament.
“We talk about a fearless attitude a lot within our group and they led the way. I think everyone accepted their roles, particularly the batters, [they] would all love to bat at the top of the order, but I think it showed everyone accepted their role and did an extremely good job,” Mott said.
“Even though Alyssa Healy took the limelight a lot, it was a tournament where every single player contributed at some point, so that was really pleasing.”
The Australian celebrations will be short-lived, however, with all players set to participate in the start of the fourth season of the Women’s Big Bash League at the CitiPower Centre this weekend.