CWG 2022: There’s Australia, there’s daylight and then there are rest of the teams
Australia Women have won T20 World Cups in 2018, 2020 and ODI World Cup in 2022. They are unbeaten in T20I since 497 days. Top reasons why Australia Women such a dominant force.
From the day the Australia Women’s team took the plane for the Commonwealth Games 2022 (CWG) in Birmingham, it was almost understood that the invincible side was going to do wonders in the tournament.
And they finished the whole competition being undefeated playing against some powerful sides and coming to the top from being under pressure on a few occasions.
Australia and the knack of not giving up without a fight
The invincibility of Australia was stamped when a miscued reverse sweep sent back India’s last woman Yastika Bhatia as the current T20I and One Day International (ODI) World Cup champions added their first gold medal in Commonwealth Games Women's Cricket Competition after a close nine-run victory against India at Edgbaston.
There were phases when it felt that the Indian team under the leadership of Harmanpreet Kaur was on the right track but it was again proved, perhaps for the thousandth time, that there are some secrets that Australia follow for their success; they keep on fighting no matter what’s being served before them on the plate.
“The belief in the dressing room is probably at an unprecedented level, to be honest, just because we seem to find a way to win and win ugly,” Australia opener Beth Mooney narrated their success key, informing how important it was for them to continue ‘evolving’. “The adjustments we make and the adaptability we have within the group is critical to our success.”
The manner of finding different match-winners in every other game
It wasn’t a fluke to watch the Australian players receive the gold medal at the end of the game; probably, it would have been a little odd feeling to see them with the silver medal, to be honest. Just like the easy mode in a video game, they keep on winning everything. Last time they were defeated in a T20I game was almost 497 days ago.
At the time of their semi-final exit in ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 in England after a loss to India, it seemed that the team wasn’t as strong as earlier and the end of dominance seemed close. But they bounced back in style clinching two successive T20 World Cups in 2018 and 2020 and lifting the 2022 ODI World Cup in New Zealand.
The huge pool of players who are doing an excellent job in their domestic women’s competitions are making big strides whenever required on the big stage. Even in the absence of Ellyse Perry, they kept their same momentum. Throughout the tournament, their star opener Alyssa Healy wasn’t in the best of form but that didn’t seem to bother the champion side at all.
In all the games and in different situations when the team was at gunpoint, they somehow found a way to sort out the issue and come out trumps.
Read More: CWG 2022, Gold medal match, IND-W vs AUS-W: Kaur scores gritty 65 but Gardner’s 3-16 gives Aus gold
New Zealand and India came close but failed to beat Australia
During the opening game against Australia, defending a total of 157, India jolted the opponents early with big blows shouldering on Renuka Singh’s 4/18 to reduce the yellow brigade to 65/5 in 10 overs. At one point, it felt that the T20 World Cup champions had no answer but later a stunning and splendid innings of 52* from Ashleigh Gardner propelled Australia over the line.
In the second semi-final between New Zealand and Australia, the latter were chasing 146 and were going strong before losing momentum at the end being restricted to 129/5 in 17.2 overs. For a few minutes, it again seemed that Australia might slip but just like they have done repeatedly, their solid middle-order batters carried them to the gold medal match.
Even in the final, defending 161, Australia found India at 118/2 with two set batters Jemimah Rodrigues and Harmanpreet Kaur taking India close to the finishing line. However, Megan Schutt broke the vital 96-run partnership before Ashleigh Gardner picked up two wickets off consecutive balls; one of those was the ‘big fish’, captain Kaur as Australia earned the last eight Indian wickets for just 34 runs to accept the gold medal.
The contribution of Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) to Australia’s success
The Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) started back in 2015 and just a few months later, the eighth season of the tournament is going to kick off.
The growth of the domestic Australian players could be attributed to the pressure they encounter in WBBL games that has taught them how to deal with it; the lessons they pick up from the senior players from the various countries during that period is also very valuable.
Just like how the Indian Premier League (IPL) has helped Indian cricket rise up with so many players, the WBBL has also contributed in the same fashion. That’s why whenever a player gets injured or comes at the end of their career, it isn’t too hard for the Australia Women’s cricket side to find a like-to-like replacement.
Allana King, the Australia leg-spinner who made her international debut relatively late, came into the scene with a bang and that was possible because she has been part of the Big Bash League for a certain amount of time. King is on the fast track to becoming an idol.
Read More: CWG 2022, Semi-final 2, AUS-W vs NZ-W: Schutt’s 3-20, McGrath’s all-round prowess take Australia to Final
A high-achieving leader Meg Lanning
The current Australia captain Meg Lanning has set some high standards with her leadership success. There are two aspects that she displays in major tournaments; first, she has a great technique which is as good as most, and secondly, she always produces match-winning scores at crucial times. This kind of successful consistency will help any leader’s position in the side.
It isa wrong assumption that most people make that it is easy to lead a side that is successful in so many competitions; but there is a different scenario to it. Looking back in time, Clive Llyod too had a powerful hand in making West Indies a great side.
Lanning always keep faith on her players and that hand she keeps on the shoulder of the players makes a huge difference in the players’ mindset. A studious leader, Lanning has evolved and handled a capable but variable attack and injury setbacks comfortably.
The improvement in women’s cricket in team totals or in the increased prize money besides a greater attendance has taken it to new highs. With various franchise leagues going around the world, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has also started an arrangement for an expanded Women’s IPL which is expected to take place from next year.
Nonetheless, it is high time for all teams to raise their standards to meet the demanding challenges set by Australia. Without a drop of doubt, it is going to be such a tough assignment, especially during the period when Australia have a strong-minded Meg Lanning in charge.
Read More: CWG 2022, IND-W vs AUS-W: Ashleigh Gardner's 52* takes Australia home; Renuka's stunning 4-18 goes in vain