Women’s T20 World Cup final: It was tough seeing Shafali Verma in tears, says Brett Lee
'The way Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney started (in the ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020 final) reminded me of our World Cup Final against India in 2003,' said former Australian fast bowler Brett Lee
By Brett Lee
Melbourne: You never usually mind how victory comes in a Final but the way Australia played on the biggest stage of all was a joy to watch.
This team have never known pressure like it but to produce against India, having lost earlier in the tournament and having the weight of expectation, shows the incredible character in the team.
None of them have ever experienced a crowd such as the 86,174 but the way they went about the match, the day and the occasion speaks volumes about those players.
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Most players just want bat on ball in a Final but Alyssa Healy came out with a swagger and a confidence that showed she meant business.
You’ve got to trust your ability from the off, and while she had some fortunate moments, she struck some of the cleanest balls you’ll ever see on a cricket field.
She held the MCG in her hands, lapping up every moment of it. And she did it all with a smile on her face, which is so important on a big occasion.
This team has known a lot of success but doing it at home is incomparable, and being able to enjoy it means the world.
The way Healy and Beth Mooney started reminded me of our World Cup Final against India in 2003.
Sometimes you can bat a team out of the game in that first half, which Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting and Damien Martyn did for us in Johannesburg.
Scoreboard pressure means so much more in a Final and, as we saw at the MCG, India just couldn’t get the momentum needed for the chase.
It takes a lot of skill to be able to produce that, but more importantly a lot of guts. If Healy’s plan had not worked out then it might have been so different but she trusted herself and her ability and it paid off.
As for India, it was a disappointing night for them but they’ll certainly be back – this is not the end for them, this is just the start.
They’d never played in a Final before and we saw in Melbourne how vital that experience is, it takes a long time to get settled and by the time they did, unfortunately the game was gone.
Playing in front of a crowd like that takes plenty of getting used to so they’ll be better for it, and should take a lot of heart from the way they played in Australia.
That opening game really set the tone for them and this India team have proven they can perform.
I really felt for Shafali Verma at the end, it was tough seeing her in tears but she should be very proud of the way she’s performed in Australia.
To come out here and face your first tournament head-on is testament to her talent and mental strength, and she’s only going to get better from here.
When you drop a chance, the one thing you want is another one and unfortunately she didn’t get it, but she’ll learn from this experience and come back stronger.
Moments like this can define you in a positive way – it’s never about what happens, it’s about how you respond to it and Shafali has proven she can cope with anything. Don’t be surprised to see her put a big score on the Aussies the next time they play!
As for the Final itself, you couldn’t have had a better occasion to celebrate the two best teams going head-to-head.
Women’s cricket hasn’t seen attendances like that and seeing everyone packed in to the MCG was a real goose-bump moment. The fans didn’t disappoint, the atmosphere was electric and this is a real breakthrough moment for women’s sport across the globe.
People have shown what’s possible with a little belief and it’s made the next few years of the game a thoroughly-exciting prospect.
This tournament can do wonders for so many countries across the world – Thailand in their first competition, India in their first Final, and of course the countless boys and girls inspired by Meg Lanning’s Australia.
The teams are closer in ability than ever before and it’s all heading towards another exciting World Cup in New Zealand in 12 months’ time.
There is also the Men’s T20 World Cup back in Australia in just a few months’ time. And if it’s anything like the tournament we’ve just seen, we’re in for a treat.
Brett Lee played for Australia in 76 Tests, 221 ODIs and 25 T20Is. He took over 700 international wickets. Column courtesy: ICC