Women’s World Cup 2022 final, Australia v England – Almanack report
Australia beat England by 71 runs in the final to win the 2022 Women’s World Cup. Snehal Pradhan’s match report originally appeared in the 2023 edition of the Wisden Cricket Almanack.
Women’s World Cup 2022 final: Australia v England At Christchurch, April 3, 2022 (day/night)
Toss: England. Australia won by 71 runs.
The grassy banks of Hagley Oval were a long way from the towering stands of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, which had staged the women’s T20 World Cup final in March 2020, and a crowd of around 7,000 was almost 80,000 down on that record-breaking day. But the conclusion was the same: Australia’s Lanning lifted the trophy, while opener Healy collected the match award. Their eighth successive one-day victory over England won their seventh World Cup.
It was not quite as one-sided as a 71-run margin suggested, with both teams contributing to a string of records for World Cup finals. Both outstripped the previous biggest total – Australia’s 259-7 against West Indies in Mumbai nine years earlier. Both produced centuries far bigger than Karen Rolton’s unbeaten 107 for Australia against India at Centurion in 2004/05. And Healy shared two partnerships that beat 139 by Rolton and Lisa Sthalekar in that game.
Australia were always favourites, but England’s run of five wins to reach the final encouraged them to believe they could overturn the formbook. Their fortunes had revived along with their bowlers, especially Ecclestone, who had recovered from an Australian mauling to become the tournament’s leading wicket-taker. So Knight decided to bowl. Maybe she thought back to the last session of the Ashes Test in January, when England almost chased down 257. Maybe she remembered their first match in this World Cup, when they reached 298 in pursuit of 311. Maybe this would be third time lucky…
The seamers kept things tight in the powerplay, but could not break through; nor could Ecclestone, despite an lbw review against Healy. Cross had both Haynes and Healy dropped in the 21st over; in the next, they brought up their seventh ODI century stand. Ecclestone finally had Haynes caught at backward point, at 160 – only for another left-hander, Mooney, to join in another mammoth stand. Healy motored to her second successive century, then advanced to 170 from 138 balls, with 26 fours, becoming the first to score 500 in a women’s World Cup. (Her husband, Mitchell Starc, who was watching, held the men’s record for most World Cup wickets.) At last, Shrubsole had her stumped, and snatched two more late wickets, before Perry – playing as a batter only, because of a bad back – lifted Australia to 356-5, the most England had conceded in a one-day international. Ecclestone followed nought for 77 in their group match with 1-77; in the intervening seven games, she had taken 20 at nine apiece.
Needing more than seven an over, England attacked. At the end of every over, they had outscored Australia at the same point, but they lost wickets steadily (an opening stand of 12 was in line with their first-wicket average across the tournament). They badly needed a partnership to rival Australia’s, and their best chance was Knight and Sciver. That disappeared when, two balls after Sciver overturned an lbw decision, leg-spinner King trapped Knight. But Sciver went on to play an innings almost as remarkable as Healy’s: 148 not out from 121, including the final’s only six. When the eighth wicket fell, she was 98, but she completed a 90-ball century, the second-fastest of the tournament – after she herself took 79 against Australia four weeks earlier. Her ninth-wicket stand of 65 with Dean was England’s highest, but Dean eventually played a loose stroke, and Shrubsole, renowned for getting her side out of tight spots, holed out in the next over.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Lanning, nine years after their last World Cup triumph. “But I think we deserved a victory today.” No one could disagree.
Player of the Match: AJ Healy. Players of the Tournament: AJ Healy.