Australia Might Be The Most Dominant Team In Sports As Momentum Builds For Women’s Cricket
The crowd was understandably feverish. You couldn’t blame them. Although South Africa have long been a cricket powerhouse, this was their first World Cup final in cricket.
The South African men’s team had been paralyzed like twisted lumbago at numerous World Cups over the years. But this burgeoning women’s side had been looking to end decades of misery after upsetting unbeaten England in a tense semi-final, much to the delight of home loyalists.
In a tense final against all-conquering Australia, South Africa looked a chance to chase a tricky total of 157 as opener Laura Wolvaardt produced a boisterous half-century.
The terraces on Newlands picturesque grounds with Table Mountain as a backdrop rocked as they dared to dream of an almighty surprise. But it was not to be that a brave South Africa missed 19 runs as tears shed for a nation still chasing a first World Cup trophy in cricket.
There was no shame in losing to Australia, who clinched their second treble title with just a shock defeat to West Indies in the 2016 final in between.
Australia weathered nervous moments, overcoming an unusually ragged fielding to prevail with signature clutch bowling and Meg Lanning’s easy-going captaincy getting her over the line.
They have cemented their reputation as one of the most dominant teams in all of sport, with Australia also having won seven ODI World Cups including the last edition 12 months ago.
South Africa may have lagged behind but the depth of women’s cricket is beginning to improve. They are only the sixth nation to qualify for the final of a women’s T20 World Championship at the eighth edition of the tournament.
Despite securing a successful title defense and sixth overall win, the gap between Australia and the rest is closing. They were fortunate to walk away with a win over India in a pulsating semi-final before overtaking South Africa.
Australia is still the gold standard, but the challengers are getting stronger. And is likely to improve further as the upcoming Women’s Premier League in India gets about to kick off.
Top players earn hundreds of thousands of dollars to compete in the three-week tournament, and it’s designed to inspire young players around the world who want to achieve something.
Ireland were one of two countries at the Women’s T20 World Cup not to win a game but showed an impression of competitiveness. Their cash-strapped governing body, which is struggling financially to host men’s Test matches, has found it difficult to provide the necessary funding needed to develop women’s cricket.
“We want to invest more in women’s cricket, but it’s a big cost,” said Ross McCollum, chief executive of Ireland’s International Cricket Council. “We have some talent, as we showed in the tournament, but we need to create more ways to use it.”
As Ireland hopes further funding from the ICC’s $3 billion media rights deal is imminent, the WPL in India is offering its players and many others around the world a way to covet.
“The WPL is a game changer and something every women cricketer would want to be a part of. It’s going to generate a lot of interest and really take women’s cricket to another level,” said McCollum.
With a media rights deal worth over US$100 million, the WPL is a natural progression from women’s cricket, which has soared in popularity. The 2020 Women’s T20 World Championship Finals at the MCG drew more than 85,000 fans and momentum has picked up again after being halted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The WPL could be an accelerator, but for now, Australia remain the undisputed trendsetter after this recent triumph to further burnish their legend.
follow me Twitter.