The Women’s T20 World Cup final was played out in front of a sold-out stadium at Newlands in Cape Town, with two sides making history.
South Africa did their nation proud, making a World Cup final (in any format) for the first time, while Australia are now the reigning three-time world champions (six times in total).
Sadly, for South Africa, it wasn’t the fairy tale ending they’d hoped for. The final was, though, a fitting tribute to women’s cricket and showed how this tournament has captured and united South Africa as a nation.
It would have been incredible for women’s cricket if the home side won the trophy, but it was almost inevitable that this Australia team would once again play a flawless, calm, collective game of cricket and reign supreme as world champions once again.
What’s so impressive about Australia is how long they have been the dominating force of world cricket and how they never show any signs of slowing down.
They have a world-class domestic system that is shining through on the world stage and producing young international greats, like Grace Harris and Darcie Brown that can thrive among 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 Australia team is all about. Big performers stepping up to the big occasion. They’re constantly evolving their game, and what makes them so good is how they perform under pressure.
When the pressure is greatest is where Australia play their best, calmest cricket.
What’s exciting for the rest of the world, though, is that global cricket is starting to get more competitive through other nations professionalising their systems and franchise cricket now establishing itself in the women’s game: the WPL, The Hundred, the PSL and BBL.
We will only see more and more nations and athletes playing in these big occasions, allowing for players to stand up at the right time.
Young destructive players have emerged through the Australian system, such as this the remarkable rise of Alana King.
When we look at why, they’ve been playing high-level pressure cricket for a number of years outside of the international arena. We’ve just had Australia’s eighth Big Bash League. The Hundred has completed only its second season and we’ve got the inaugural WPL and PSL.
These systems help produce the players and give them a platform. As we are starting in England, with the emergence of Lauren Bell and Alice Capsey over the last 18 months. I hope this happens in India too with the WPL.
Once teams are playing competitive domestic cricket in their home country, under a good structure, it gives them the best chance for talent to flourish and therefore chip away at this unbelievable Australian team.
They won’t be an easy team to beat though. This is one of the greatest teams in Australian sporting history. They play with an engrained mindset to win games and deal with high pressure situations at ease. It’s a culture that will take some new thinking to defeat it. That’s why it’s exciting to think of the year ahead with England and The Ashes coming up, considering their bold new approach under head coach Jon Lewis.
It’s a fascinating time for women’s cricket, with the Australians are at the forefront leading the way. The rest of the world are competing with one of the best teams and team cultures, arguably, of all time.
England have a task on their hands this summer. But, you know what, I’m excited for them to take it on.
Thank you South Africa for putting on such a fabulous tournament these past couple of weeks. I hope it has inspired lots of little boys and girls in your country.
To round things off, here is a look at my team of the tournament from the 2023 Women’s T20 World Cup…
Phoebe’s T20 World Cup Team of the Tournament
1) Laura Wolvaardt (South Africa). Great to see her finish up as the leading run-scorer in a home tournament.
2) Alyssa Healy (Australia). This was a tough call at wicketkeeper as Richa Ghosh from India is a great talent, super handy with the gloves and scored 137 runs in the tournament, but Healy gets the nod here.
3) Ashleigh Gardner (Australia). She continues to prove her WPL worth of £340k.
4) Smriti Mandhana (India). I’ll be interested to see how she plays her cricket this summer as I think there’s still more to come from her.
5) Sophia Dunkley (England). She has been playing so freely, with the opening role really suiting her. It’s lovely to see her flourish 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 pick.
7) Nat Sciver-Brunt (England). have to pick the best all-rounder in the world who is in the form of her life.
8) Orla Prendergast (Ireland). I loved seeing her talent rise on the big stage. What a find for Ireland.
9) Sophie Ecclestone (England). The T20 GOAT, the leading wicket-taker of 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’s the blueprint for all female bowlers on ‘how to bowl fast’.
11) Megan Schutt (Australia). She is consistently brilliant for Australia and a big wicket taker.