Ellyse Perry made a fantastic return from injury as Australia avenged their Super Six defeat against West Indies by beating them in the final of the ICC Women's World Cup by 114 runs to lift their sixth World Cup title.
The 22-year-old poster-girl of Australian cricket scored a quickfire 25 off 22 balls (2x4, 1x6) as the Kangaroos put up a total of 259-7 in their 50 overs. She followed that up with magnificent figures of 3/15 in her 10 overs (three maidens), skittling out West Indies for just 145 runs in the process.
The West Indies seemed to be nervous -- their inability to take wickets was only accentuated by their terrible fielding -- the only positives being a few good stops at point from Anisa Mohamed and the three catches that Kyshona Knight managed to take. Before the game, WI captain Merissa Aguilleira had warned against giving the Aussies too much width but her bowlers didn't comply and it cost them -- runs and the title.
Perry had played the first three games of the tournament before succumbing to an ankle injury, and her taking part in the final was subject of much speculation up until the toss. It was going to be a tough decision for Australia to drop any player, especially with pacers Holly Ferling, Julie Hunter and Megan Schutt all impressing on their road to the final.
But Ferling was dropped in a decision that will now be seen as a masterstroke.
Perry's bowling was too good for the Windies top order as she took the first three wickets, reducing them to 41-3 after just 13.3 overs. To make matters worse, Kyshona Knight had to retire hurt before Aguilleira (23 runs, 36 balls, 2x4, 1x6) and Deandra Dottin (22 runs, 28 balls, 1x4, 2x6) tried to chase down the game with some big shots.
But they were both expertly bowled by Lisa Sthalekar. Dottin's reaction showed that the West Indies had lost all hope. It ended there.
Even with an insurmountable target ahead of them, the Windies batting managed to survive for 43.1 overs . Knight, who recovered from her injury, managed to remain not out at 21 runs and Anisa Mohamed scored 14 -- but it was never going to be enough and only delayed an impending Australian win. Megan Schutt finished with two wickets in the match which made her the top wicket-taker of the tournament with a total of 15.
Earlier, the Australians made an excellent start after winning the toss and electing to bat first. As the sun shone down at the Brabourne, openers Meg Lanning and Rachel Haynes played some lovely strokes around the park -- forging a partnership of 52 runs in just 10 overs.
Jess Cameron was the pick of the batters for Australia. Coming in at No.3, she scored a brilliant 75 from 76 deliveries (8x4, 2x6) to provide a platform for the lower middle-order to really kick-up the run-rate in the last 10 overs. The Victoria based player was looking good for a century before heaving a full-toss straight Kyshona at deep mid-wicket.
Haynes also paced her innings to perfection, scoring a fine half-century to keep the middle-order from collapsing like they did against West Indies at the MIG on 13 February.
But the Windies managed to avoid getting completely decimated by the Aussies -- clawing their way back in the match by taking three wickets in space of 24 balls -- reducing their opponents from 181/4 to 190/6.
While Shaquana Quintyne's figures of 3/27 were exceptional, all the other specialist Windies bowlers went for more than 40 runs. Anisa Mohamed was the most expensive -- giving away 61 runs in her 10 overs.
Jodie Fields was again on hand to show her attacking instincts -- taking on the West Indies bowlers in the last few overs and encouraging Perry to follow suit. The two batters added 50 runs to the board in the last 40 balls, with the last five overs costing 39 of those runs.
The winners will bag $75,000 and West Indies will receive $30,000. Fields had said that there was a sense of history about the game and that the team wanted to put the disappointment of the 2009 World Cup behind them.
But as holders of the World T20, The Ashes and the ODI World Cup, they have not only buried previous failures, but stamped their authority on world cricket.