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ESPNcricinfo Awards

ESPNcricinfo Awards 2020 Women's batting winner: the innings that will launch a million dreams

At the World Cup final, the winner of the women's batting award took T20 batting to the next level

Alex Malcolm
Alex Malcolm
Alyssa Healy's innings included three back-to-back sixes off Shikha Pandey  •  Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Alyssa Healy's innings included three back-to-back sixes off Shikha Pandey  •  Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Healy's innings was the centrepiece of one of the most significant moments in cricket history. The Women's T20 World Cup final at the MCG was a raging success before the first ball was bowled - with  86,174 in attendance and global pop star Katy Perry delivering a dazzling pre-game concert. But any thought that the pop star was the main attraction was quickly forgotten as Healy lofted the first ball wide of mid-on for four to begin one of most defining innings in the history of the women's game. It was eventful first over: she clubbed two more fours and was dropped by Shafali Verma. But thereafter, Healy produced an unrivalled display of ball-striking. She hit seven fours and five sixes in her innings, including three sixes in a row off Shikha Pandey. She fell for 75 off 39 balls with 8.2 overs left in the innings but departed to a richly deserved standing ovation.

Key moment

Healy had stamped her authority in the 11th  over, walking at Pandey and smashing her over long-on and long-off for consecutive sixes to move to 69 off just 35 balls. India's wicketkeeper,  Taniya Bhati,a moved up to the stumps to keep Healy in her crease, but that didn't stop her. The next ball was full and wide and Healy carved it high over cover with disdain to clear the fence. It was the type of shot that will inspire a generation of players.

The numbers

30 Number of balls taken by  Healy to complete her half-century. It is the quickest half-century in an ICC final by a man or woman. The previous fastest was in 32 balls, by Hardik Pandya against Pakistan in the 2017 Champions Trophy final. Healy ended with a strike rate of 192.30 - also the highest for a 50-plus score by men or women in ICC finals.
184 Australia's score in the first innings. It was the highest in the finals of T20 World Cups for both men and women. Before this, the previous highest first-innings score in a T20 World Cup final was India's 157 in 2007 against Pakistan. The previous highest first-innings total in a women's T20 World Cup final was Australia's 148 against West Indies in 2016.
115 Runs put on by Healy and Beth Mooney for the first wicket. It was the second-highest opening stand conceded by India in women's T20Is. It was the second century stand by Healy and Mooney in the tournament.

What they said

"I don't think anything is ever going to top that. I hope there's girls in this team that are going to experience that for a long period of time, but for me I never thought we'd get the opportunity to do something as cool as what we did today." 
Alyssa Healy
"Fortunately, Midge [Healy] makes my life pretty easy at the top by hitting it as clean as she does, and I don't have to do a whole lot at the other end."
Healy's opening partner, Beth Mooney

The closest contender

Beth Mooney, 78 not out vs India, Women's T20 World Cup final, Melbourne
Mooney actually outscored Healy in the final, finishing with 78 not out from 54 balls to anchor the innings. In any other year, it would have been enough for Player of the Match and the ESPNCricinfo award, but she had to settle for Player of the Tournament instead. Mooney played with superb control, feeding the strike to Healy early and expanding after her departure. She struck ten boundaries and was particularly savage through the off side, using her feet to both spin and pace to strike through and over cover.

Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Melbourne