Hungry for more: Are these women champions the best cricket team ever?

“We want to win everything!” Ash Gardner had proclaimed before the T20 World Cup final – and Australia’s amazing women’s cricket team keep doing just that.

Feb 27, 2023, updated Feb 27, 2023
Australia captain Meg Lanning and Ash Gardner celebrate during their defeat of India in the 2023 ICC Women's T20 World Cup Semifinal. The team subsequently went on to beat South Africa in the final. (Shaun Roy/Sports Inc.)

Australia captain Meg Lanning and Ash Gardner celebrate during their defeat of India in the 2023 ICC Women's T20 World Cup Semifinal. The team subsequently went on to beat South Africa in the final. (Shaun Roy/Sports Inc.)

Meg Lanning’s green-and-gold machine represent just about the ultimate in serial winners, with their triumph in Cape Town only underlining why they are one of the great sports teams in history.

Indeed, after watching their clinically efficient 19-run victory over hosts South Africa on Sunday, England star Tammy Beaumont was left musing whether they might be simply the best.

“You could argue they are the greatest cricket team of all-time. They could challenge that great Australian team of the 2000s when I was growing up,” she told Sky Sports.

And perhaps the stats back up her assertion. This was the fourth successive World Cup white-ball triumph the team has enjoyed – three in T20 and one in the 50-over format – stretching back to 2018, with last year’s Commonwealth Games title thrown in for good measure.

They’ve now won 43 of their last 46 completed white-ball matches over the past two years.
In their last 22 T20 internationals stretching back to March 2021, they’ve lost just once, and that only in a Super Over after tying with India in Mumbai in December.

In ODIs, the record’s even more startling, as they’ve won their last 15 going back to a loss against India’s women in Mackay in September 2021. It’s now just one 50-over loss in their last 42, going back nearly six years.

Oh yes, and though they rarely play the longer format, they haven’t actually lost a Test match in nine years.

“They’re an amazing outfit and they keep out ahead by reinventing themselves, bringing in new players, young players who are performing on the crucial stage and still always the old names – Alyssa Healy, Beth Mooney, Jess Jonassen, Megan Schutt, Ellyse Perry,” said Beaumont.

Nasser Hussain, England’s former men’s team captain, mused: “The key is they keep evolving. Any sporting organisation will tell you that if you stay at your level, others will eventually catch up.

“But that’s twice now they’ve done three-peats at world T20s, they keep evolving, saying, ‘we’re not going to stand still’.

“Ellyse Perry is a classic example. She missed the last world T20 because of injury and people were writing her off, so she had to take her game to the next level, which she has done.”

And driving all this relentless success has been captain marvel Lanning, who was lifting her seventh World Cup in all – five as the team’s captain – to go with her leadership of the Commonwealth Games-winning outfit.

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After a break for the good of her own well-being, the 30-year-old, who’s shouldered the captaincy of this great team for nine unrelentingly successful years, was hailed again by her players as a “special leader” whose calmness under pressure rubs off.

She has some special lieutenants too, with the likes of Healy and Perry picking up their sixth T20 World Cup wins, Mooney scoring yet another fifty in a final and now player of the tournament Gardner looking like a true champion allrounder.

“She strikes the ball like no-one else in the world, an incredible talent. No wonder she’s gone for so much (money) in the (Indian) WPL,” laughed Beaumont.

Asked why Australia remained so far ahead of the pack, she added: “They play under pressure all the time – pressure to get in an under-11 side, pressure to get in a NSW under-15 side.

“You have to earn the right to get in any Australian team – and then you have to perform.

“They’re 10 years ahead of everyone else – everyone else is playing catch-up.”



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