On the day it mattered, every aspect of Australia's game came good to earn them their sixth Women's World Cup. The batting, wobbly for most of the tournament, started with a bang and ended with a bang, despite another wobble in between. The bowling and fielding, top class through the tournament, choked West Indies in the chase. Jodie Fields, a captain who wants to get wickets at all costs, took her aggression to another level, consistently targetting the opposition's best batsmen with her best bowlers. Ellyse Perry did not disappoint her captain, neither did Lisa Sthalekar. It was no surprise and indeed no shame for West Indies to be outclassed by a team that lost just one of seven games, that too, by eight runs.
All three day-night games at Brabourne Stadium in the tournament had been won by sides who batted first and posted big totals. Australia did the same after winning the toss and left West Indies needing to chase the highest total in a World Cup final.
Rachael Haynes and Meg Lanning went after the new ball, and No. 3 Jess Cameron ensured no let-up for the West Indies bowlers with 75 off 76. Australia's middle-order worries came to haunt them, though, as they slipped from 181 for 3 to 209 for 7, before Fields and premier fast bowler Perry helped the side rebound with an unbeaten stand of 50 off 40.
The pressure of their maiden final seemed to get to West Indies as they fielded rather poorly and conceded too many runs upfront. Medium-pacer Tremayne Smartt was especially ordinary with her lines and lengths and was taken for 43 in five overs. Smartt rounded off a horror day when she hurt herself following a couple of misfields at point and had to leave the field.
All three top-order batsmen, Lanning, Haynes and Cameron were severe on anything wide or short. There were several cuts and pulls in the innings, with Cameron also lofting down the ground for boundaries. Lanning departed after an opening stand of 52 in ten overs, as she found mid-off when trying to hit Stafanie Taylor for successive fours. That hardly hurt the progress of the innings, as Cameron arrived. Haynes swept frequently and also used the reverse-sweep, and Cameron carted Smartt for two sixes in an over.
Most of the Australia batsmen fell going for more shots. The 17-year old legspinner Shaquana Quintyne helped West Indies claw back with a spell of 10-1-27-3. Haynes top-edged an attempted pull to midwicket off Quintyne. Cameron blasted a Shanel Daley full toss to deep midwicket in the 36th over.
That began a period of about seven-eight overs when West Indies regained some lost ground. Sthalekar, Sarah Coyte and Erin Osborne went cheaply trying to go after the spinners. But Australia had more left in the tank. Fields, who had done little with the bat in the tournament, came good with an unbeaten 36 off 38 while Perry, returning after missing the Super Six stage with an ankle injury, contributed 25 off 22.
The highest Australia's bowling had conceded in the tournament was 227, and West Indies needed their key batsmen Taylor and Deandra Dottin to fire. Perry and Sthalekar were to end the game soon.
Perry gave Australia a scare when she aborted her run-up for her first delivery twice and felt her left leg. That didn't stop her from striking off the last ball of her first over, the tenth, trapping Kycia Knight in front with a length ball that straightened into the left-hander.
With the first ball of her second over, Perry found the outside edge off Taylor's bat and Lanning took the ball at slip but the batsman stayed after replays proved inconclusive. Bowling with superb rhythm now, Perry needed three more balls to take out Taylor, who pushed a length delivery back to the bowler. In her third over, Perry sent back Natasha McLean, who swiped across at a full delivery and was caught plumb in front.
West Indies delayed the arrival of the powerful Dottin, who eventually came out in the 22nd over after No. 4 Kyshona Knight retired hurt following an extremely defensive stay. The asking-rate was over seven now with Sthalekar's spell reading 7-2-12-0.
Fields brought back Perry against Dottin, giving her two more overs, but Dottin played them out calmly. Sthalekar responded at the other end, flighting the ball and turning it in through the gate to bowl the captain Merissa Aguilleira. Four overs later, the game was all but over as Sthalekar lured Dottin down the track with another flighted delivery, which Dottin completely missed and was bowled. Dottin had hit a few meaty blows, but Fields had stuck with her best bowlers, and got the reward.
At 109 for 5 in the 31st overs, it was game over for West Indies and though they lasted until the 44th, there was no doubt over who would be crowned world champions.