Click here to submit your sports results for The Canberra Times
License article

Cricket world left seeing Stars after women's team extends boundaries

Next time a cricket coach barks at a player for catching ''like a girl'', it ought to be taken as a high compliment. After Australia's women's team won its sixth one-day World Cup title in Mumbai on Sunday, the men's team, warming up in Chennai for their four-Test series against India, will be hoping that they too can play like girls.

The thoroughness of Australia's win - 7/259 to the West Indies' 145 all out - belied a tournament that set new standards for exciting, hard-fought women's cricket. Jess Cameron's muscular run-a-ball 75 was one of many performances to open the eyes of antediluvian types expecting a game of pat ball. Dual international Ellyse Perry, coming back into the Australian team after missing much of the tournament with illness and an ankle injury, scored 25 not out and turned the match with a three-wicket spell of fast bowling. Shane Watson take note.

Most significantly, whereas Australia's previous World Cup wins had come in tournaments that were de facto three-cornered battles with England and New Zealand, this was a world event.

The beaten finalists had defeated Australia a few days earlier, and Sri Lanka broke through during this event, beating England and India. Numerous nail-biting finishes put the argument that the international women's game is in a better, more expansive state than the men's.

The West Indians, with Stafanie Taylor scoring 171 from 137 balls against Sri Lanka and Deandra Dottin smiting two big sixes in the final, promise a breakthrough reminiscent of their male counterparts back in the World Cup of 1975.

Lisa Sthalekar, Australia's veteran spin-bowling all rounder, finished the final with a spectacular full-length one-handed catch.


Sthalekar's spin bowling had been inspirational, in part prompting former Indian Test batsman Sanjay Manjrekar to comment: ''It has been truly gratifying for me as a cricket follower to see some real spin and swing being bowled … This, of course, is not to demean the men in any way, but it raises the point of how swing and spin are less and less evident in the men's game now.''

Australia's coach, Cathryn Fitzpatrick, said it was ''fantastic'' to have won the one-day World Cup to follow Australia's win in the Twenty20 World Cup late last year.

''We're the No.1 team in the world, so these girls deserve to celebrate hard and be really pleased with what they've done.'' Their next assignment is to go to England and give Australia hope of winning at least one version of the Ashes.

The Australians disappeared into the Mumbai night to celebrate, which was noted, and perhaps even heard, across on the east coast, where the men are vying to win in India for just the second time in 44 years.