Australia 106 for 2 (Gardner 33*, Lanning 28*) beat England 105 (Wyatt 43, Knight 25, Gardner 3-22, Wareham 2-11) by eight wickets
Australia have never lost to England in a women's cup final, and that record will now stay at least till the next world event in 2020. Meg Lanning's side romped to their fourth World T20 crown with an eight-wicket vanquishing of England at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, Antigua.
As was the case four years ago in Bangladesh - when the sides last met in a World T20 final - England limped to 105. And remarkably, both times, Australia knocked off the runs in 15.1 overs - albeit this time, it was on a slow surface. Heavy dew negated England's spin threat and run scoring was not really a bother.
Alyssa Healy somewhat made up for multiple lapses behind the stumps to set the tone for the chase with a 20-ball 22, including 12 off Anya Shrubsole's first over. She finished the tournament as the leading run-getter; her 225 runs came in one innings fewer than the next best. This also made her the undisputed choice for Player of the Tournament.
In many ways, Healy's career-turnaround came in 2014 in Bangladesh, where Australia last won the World T20. Still a rookie, far from assured of her place in the XI, it was her bristling knock at No. 7 in a tense semi-final chase against West Indies that put Australia in the final in the first place. Here in the West Indies, four years on, she stamped her authority to emerge as one of the undisputedly feared ball-strikers in the women's game.
Any chance England had of applying pressure on Australia lay in the Powerplay. But they ended up conceding 37 in exchange for just Healy's wicket. Ashleigh Gardner and Meg Lanning then built on the early tempo to seal the deal. Australia's batting, in many ways, masked their fielding lapses that may have proved costly on another night - they let go as many as five catches.
Yet, that they found a way to still restrict England was largely due to the efforts of 19-year-old legspinner Georgia Wareham. Having begun senior cricket in men's Division Three as a high-school student, she graduated to the WBBL, playing for Melbourne Renegades. All the early experience was put to use under pressure after Danielle Wyatt began briskly early in the innings. She would top score with 43.
Wareham's first touch in the final was a direct hit from mid-on to fell the in-form Amy Jones in the fifth over. Moving to her right quickly from mid-on, she swooped in and nailed a flat hit at the bowler's end to offset two missed chances by Australia - first by Rachel Haynes at point and then by Healy - to reprieve Wyatt.
She nailed two further blows and was on a hat-trick in the 13th over, having dismissed Lauren Winfield and Sophia Dunkley. Winfield was beaten by a flipper that crashed into the pad before hitting the bat; the wicket was triggered by Lanning's late decision to review an lbw decision. Off the next delivery, Dunkley was beaten by drift as the ball spun away to sneak through the gap between bat and pad to hit the stumps. This double-wicket burst came in the same over when Healy missed a stumping chance.
Heather Knight waged a lone battle, batting through pockets of resistance, but couldn't get the final kick in the face of some superb death bowling by Australia. Her attempt to go over the top after plodding through a majority of her 28-ball stay that fetched 25 resulted in a chip to mid-off, to give Gardner her second wicket. She would finish with figures of 3 for 22.
That wouldn't be Gardner's only contribution of the night. Still needing to dig in to ensure Healy's quick start wouldn't go to waste, Gardner rotated strike early and kept the scoreboard ticking. This gave the slightly rusty Meg Lanning, who hadn't yet hit top gear, time to play herself in.
With Australia needing 36, Gardner finally cut loose by walloping Knight's full toss for six. Then, she took the attack to Kirstie Gordon by hitting her for two maximums in the next over - getting to the pitch on both occasions to negate any bite off the pitch. A savage blow came off Shrubsole, the hero of last year's World Cup final, to level the score, before Lanning finished it off with a bunt into the off side to give Australia their fourth T20 title in five editions. The title was a shiny silver lining in what has been a tough cricketing year for Australia overall.