Healy claims fam­ily brag­ging rights

Pretoria News - - SPORT - |

AUS­TRALIA’S pug­na­cious wick­et­keeper-bat­ter Alyssa Healy has an­other claim for brag­ging rights in her fa­mous crick­et­ing fam­ily af­ter star­ring in her team’s fifth Women’s T20 World Cup tri­umph yes­ter­day.

Opener Healy led from the front with a bril­liant 39-ball 75 as Meg Lan­ning’s Aus­tralia roared to an 85-run win in front of a crowd of 86 000 at the Mel­bourne Cricket Ground on In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day.

Her hus­band Mitchell Starc, fast bowler for the Aus­tralian men’s team, was among the thrilled fans, hav­ing come home early from the tour of South Africa to watch his wife ham­mer the In­dian bowlers.

Five years be­fore at the same venue, Starc bowled New Zealand’s hard-hit­ting cap­tain Bren­don McCul­lum for a duck in the fi­nal of the one-day World Cup to set Aus­tralia on the path to a dom­i­nant win in front of 93 000 fans.

Her un­cle Ian Healy, who kept wicket for Aus­tralia and is third on the all-time list for to­tal dis­missals in Test cricket, would have beamed in pride when his niece snaf­fled an edge to re­move In­dia’s 16-year-old prodigy Shafali Verma for two.

Asked who had the up­per hand now in the fam­ily, Healy wasted no time in re­spond­ing.

“One hun­dred per­cent me,” told re­porters, beam­ing.

“I’ve been a part of a lot of suc­cess­ful World Cup cam­paigns now, but to do it here on home soil was al­ways go­ing to be in­cred­i­bly dif­fi­cult to do.

“I guess Mitch and I are 1-1 on she that stage.”

Healy was dropped on nine by fel­low opener Verma at cover and made sure In­dia would pay.

She scored con­sec­u­tive sixes off spin­ner Ra­jesh­wari Gayak­wad and later, three sixes in suc­ces­sion off the hap­less medium pacer Shikha Pandey to send the ter­races into delir­ium.

By the time she was dis­missed slogging spin­ner Radha Ya­dav, Healy and open­ing part­ner Beth Mooney had put 115 on the board by the 12th over.

Mooney went on with the job and went off un­beaten on 78, hav­ing driven Aus­tralia to an im­pos­ing 184/4.

Mooney was named player of the tour­na­ment af­ter fin­ish­ing top of the runs list with 259 at an av­er­age of 64, the high­est to­tal in the tour­na­ment’s seven edi­tions. Although Aus­tralia have won plenty of global tro­phies, see­ing 86 000 fans at the MCG was a first for a team that has claimed al­most all of their ma­jor sil­ver­ware over­seas.

With the at­ten­dance eas­ily the big­gest for a women’s sport­ing event in the coun­try, it felt like a wa­ter­shed mo­ment for the game and for women’s sport in gen­eral.

The Aus­tralian play­ers, for all their bril­liance, have long been over­shad­owed by the men’s team and their achieve­ments only be­lat­edly recog­nised.

“I don’t think that any­thing’s ever go­ing to top that,” said 29-year-old Healy, who danced with her team­mates on stage with Amer­i­can pop singer Katy Perry at the post-fi­nal con­cert.

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