Cricket: Australia crush India to win Women's T20 World Cup in front of huge crowd at MCG

Australia's players celebrate after a victory against India in the Twenty20 women's World Cup cricket final match between Australia and India in Melbourne on March 8, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

MELBOURNE (REUTERS) - Opening batswomen Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney scored glittering half-centuries as a ruthless Australia crushed India by 85 runs to win a record-extending fifth Women's Twenty20 World Cup in front of a heaving Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.

The explosive Healy blasted a 39-ball 75 and pillaged five sixes from India's hapless bowlers while Mooney finished with an unbeaten 78 from 54 balls, driving the defending champions to an imposing total of 184 for four.

Having dropped both the Australian openers when they were on single figures in a dismal fielding display, a shell-shocked India later crumbled under the floodlights to be out for 99 after 19.1 overs.

Megan Schutt claimed the final wicket of tail-ender Poonam Yadav, with Ash Gardner scrambling forward from the mid-wicket boundary to catch an attempted slog and send home fans in the crowd of 86,174 into a frenzy.

Blighted by injuries, Australia had to grind through a slew of do-or-die matches to reach the decider after losing their tournament opener to India.

Yet shorn of talismanic all-rounder Ellyse Perry and front-line fast bowler Tayla Vlaeminck, Meg Lanning's side produced their best performance of the tournament in the match that counted.

For India, who lost the one-day World Cup final to England at Lord's three years ago, their wait for a maiden global trophy in women's cricket will go on.

They will rue a nervous start at the MCG, where opening bowler Deepti Sharma sent down three full tosses and was plundered for 14 runs in the first over.

The 16-year-old opener Shafali Verma's dream tournament ended in huge disappointment, when she dropped Healy at cover on nine runs and was later caught behind for two by the wicketkeeper-batsman.

Rajeshwari Gayakwad put down a caught and bowled chance that would have dismissed Mooney for eight and the openers went on to produce a 115-run stand that set the platform for victory.

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