Australia Wins T20 World Cup In Front Of History-Making Crowd
Australia have claimed their fifth women's Twenty20 World Cup, defeating India by 85 runs in front of 86,174 spectators at the MCG.
They began the tournament in shaky fashion, but Australia saved their best for last with an all-round performance against a shell-shocked Indian side playing in their first final.
Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney powered the hosts to 4-184 -- the best total in a Twenty20 World Cup final -- after captain Meg Lanning opted to bat first.
To pull off an unlikely victory, India needed to produce the second-highest successful chase in WT20I history but were bowled out for 99.
Their hopes of an unlikely win couldn't have started much worse with star teen batter Shafali Verma caught by wicket keeper Healy off Megan Schutt (4-18) in the first over.
A smiling and relaxed Healy made the big stage her own by hitting a 12th WT20I fifty, with her fearless 75 from 39 balls including five long sixes.
Healy's 30-ball fifty was the fastest in a T20 final, by a man or a woman.
But Mooney's composed unbeaten 78 was equally as important as she carried her bat to finish with the highest individual score in a T20 final.
Her calming influence was just what Australia needed as Healy went for broke at the other end.
The Australian openers feasted on the nervous Indian team, that misfielded and dropped catches, by piling on a 115-run opening stand.
It was a rollercoaster first-over as Indian spinner Deepti Sharma (2-38) opened with three full tosses, Australia scored 14 runs and Healy was dropped by Verma.
The Australians took a liking to Shikha Pandey, with the Indian seamer going for 0-52 from her four overs.
India's chase went from bad to worse when wicketkeeper Taniya Bhatia was struck on the helmet and subbed out with concussion for 16-year-old Richa Ghosh.
Star spinner Jess Jonassen (3-18) bowled superbly, capturing the key wicket of Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur.
Sharma (33) played a lone hand for India at No.6.
Australia cantered to their fifth win from seven tournaments without superstar allrounder Ellyse Perry, who tore her hamstring in the final group game.
Lanning said she was thrilled her team could peak at the right time.
"There was a lot of expectation on us from the outside but on the inside as well because we came into this tournament to win," she said.
"Just to get here (in the final) was a significant achievement, but there were some tough times."
Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur said her team would learn from the experience.
"It was unfortunate we dropped those catches. Our future is there for us, we just have to keep trusting ourselves," she said.
The mammoth crowd smashed the Australian record for the highest attendance at a women's sporting event, but fell short of the world mark of 90,185 that watched 1999's soccer World Cup final.