There was pride in victory but no shame in defeat as Australia and England dished out a gripping women’s final that added lustre to the ICC World Twenty20 at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Sunday evening.

Chasing Australia’s 142 for three, England needed 16 from the last over bowled by off-spinner Erin Osborne. The tail provided the thrills through Danielle Hazell and Holly Colvin, a catch was dropped, a run-out was effected and Australia retained the title by a mere four runs. England finished with 138 for nine.

England skipper and ‘Player-of-the-Tournament’ Charlotte Edwards (28) started the chase in style, driving the first ball bowled by Ellyse Perry towards the cover picket.

A lot hinged on Charlotte after Julie Hunter scalped Laura Marsh in the fifth over. Charlotte offered reassurance with a six off Erin but with Pune-born Lisa Sthalekar’s off-break eliciting a futile clout that went down deep mid-wicket’s throat, England struggled for a toehold.

A brief flicker ensued when Jenny Gunn hoisted a six off Julie Hunter but the seamer had her revenge and gradually for England, it proved to be a tale of so-near-and-yet-so-far.

Fine tempo

Earlier, Australia’s Meg Lanning and Alyssa Healy set a fine tempo in the Power Play that went for 47 runs laced with seven fours.

The openers negated England’s plans of getting an early breakthrough following Charlotte’s decision to field on winning the toss.

The openers’ subsequent exits slowed down the scoring rate, which during the Power Play hovered at an impressive 7.9. ‘Player-of-the-Match’ Jess Cameron (45, 34b, 5x4, 1x6) and Lisa Sthalekar then added 51 runs for the third-wicket.

It was an alliance dominated by Jess and she hoisted seamer Anya Shrubsole for a six in the latter half of the innings. Those runs proved crucial in the end.

The scores:

Australia: Meg Lanning c & b Holly Colvin 25, Alyssa Healy b Danielle Hazell 26, Jess Cameron c Jenny Gun b Holly Colvin 45, Lisa Sthalekar (not out) 23, Alex Blackwell (not out) 13. Extras (lb-1, w-8, nb-1): 10. Total (for three wkts., in 20 overs): 142.

Fall of wickets: 1-51, 2-68, 3-119.

England bowling: Katherine Brunt 2-0-20-0, Danielle Hazell 4-0-23-1, Danielle Wyatt 3-0-20-0, Anya Shrubsole 3-0-31-0, Holly Colvin 4-0-21-2, Laura Marsh 4-0-26-0.

England: Charlotte Edwards c Ellyse Perry b Lisa Sthalekar 28, Laura Marsh c & b Julie Hunter 8, Sarah Taylor c Jodie Fields b Ellyse Perry 19, Lydia Greenway c Ellyse Perry b Jess Jonassen 4, Arran Brindle b Lisa Sthalekar 13, Danielle Wyatt c Alex Blackwell b Jess 9, Jenny Gunn c Jess Jonassen b Julie Hunter 19, Katherine Brunt b Jess Jonassen 3, Danielle Hazell (not out) 16, Holly Colvin (run out) 8, Anya Shrubsole (not out) 0. Extras (b-2, lb-2, w-6, nb-1): 11. Total (for nine wkts., in 20 overs): 138.

Fall of wickets: 1-20, 2-44, 3-61, 4-63, 5-86, 6-90, 7-101, 8-120, 9-137.

Australia bowling: Ellyse Perry 4-0-24-1, Lisa Sthalekar 4-0-16-2, Julie Hunter 4-0-36-2, Erin Osborne 4-0-33-0, Jess Jonassen 4-0-25-3.

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