A disappointed Heather Knight admitted England were “completely outplayed” as her team were swept aside by Australia in the final of the World Twenty20 in Antigua.
“We're really disappointed,” she said. “We know we didn't bring our best game.”
In a one-sided encounter, Australia chased down England’s 105 for the loss of just 2 wickets - Player of the Match Ashleigh Gardner finishing 33 not out at the end.
Batting first, England started brightly enough, with opener Danni Wyatt hitting Sophie Molineux for a four and a huge six in the first over. But Wyatt was soon riding her luck - dropped at backward point in the second over and then again behind the stumps in the third.
Tammy Beaumont and Amy Jones both went cheaply; but perhaps the major turning point was the dismissal of Nat Sciver, who looked to be on the wrong end of a very harsh decision as an LBW call was upheld on review, despite the Ultra-Edge technology clearly suggesting a noise as the ball passed the bat.
Wyatt was then dropped again in the eighth over, but her luck, which also included a couple of boundaries helped over the ropes by Australian fielders, eventually ran out on 43 - caught on the ring by Australian captain Meg Lanning.
Two wickets in two balls from Australia’s young leg-spinner Georgia Wareham sealed England’s fate, with Lauren Winfield given out LBW, and Sophia Dunkley bowled by a lovely delivery which lifted and turned back in past her bat to hit leg stump.
Heather Knight (25) offered some resistance, but as the tail collapsed around her England slumped to 105 all out in the final over.
“We didn't have enough points on the board,” reflected Knight afterwards; and so it proved.
Australia’s chase got going quickly, as Alyssa Healy - who was later named Player of the Tournament - hit three boundaries off Anya Shrubsole’s first over.
However, for once Healy could not push on - bowled for 22 by a beauty from Sophie Ecclestone that turned right around her bat, and when Beth Mooney edged Danni Hazell behind for 14, there was perhaps a chink of light for England.
If so, it was soon extinguished by Meg Lanning and Ashleigh Gardner. With Australia needing 62 from 77 balls, all they needed to do was play sensibly, which Lanning did whilst still scoring at all-but a run a ball, putting England’s poor showing with the bat into perspective.
At the other end, Gardner started slowly and was 5 off 13 balls at one stage, before belting a series of sixes as Australia began to cruise home, whilst England were reduced to complaining about the state of the ball as it soaked-up the evening dew, The umpires changed the ball; but it didn’t make a difference, as Australia reached their target with 29 deliveries to spare.
In retrospect an Australian win was always on the cards in this tournament - they are better paid and better resourced than arguably any other women’s sports team in history. But England coach Mark Robinson wasn’t making excuses.
“Resources don't win games of cricket,” insisted Robinson, “players do. You can have all the money and all the systems in the world, but it's players that win matches; and Australia were worthy winners tonight.”
Meanwhile Knight found some bright notes, despite her disappointment.
“I'm definitely proud of how the girls performed - proud that we made it to another final.”
“We came in with a very inexperienced side and some of those players that came in, like Sophia Dunkley and Kirstie Gordon, have stepped up and performed outstandingly - that's a real positive for us to take forward.”
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