The crowd of over 86,000 for the T20 World Cup final at the MCG shows how far women’s cricket has come and must now be capitalised on, says former England batter Lydia Greenway.
A total of 86,174 fans – the highest ever for a women’s cricket match – watched on in the ground as Australia thrashed India by 85 runs to win the T20 World Cup for a record-extending fifth time.
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Greenway, speaking to Sky Sports News, said she was delighted by the turnout and that the Australian tournament has now set a “benchmark” for future global events.
“It was amazing,” said Greenway. “There were moments where I was sitting on my own watching the game and thinking ‘this is unbelievable’. To see how far the game has come [is great].
“At the first T20 World Cup final at Lord’s in 2009 there were around 12,000 people and that was mainly due to it being a double header with the men’s.
“The vibrancy of the crowd at the MCG and how diverse it was – everyone was there to support the women’s game and the atmosphere was electric.
“This World Cup was a real team effort. From Cricket Australia to, arguably more importantly, the media. The accessibility was brilliant – on television, on social media, in newspapers on the front and back pages.
“Australia has set the benchmark now. All the other bodies are now going to look and think ‘we have to raise our games’.”
India host the Women’s 50-over World Cup next year and will head into the tournament still searching for their maiden global title.
Harmanpreet Kaur’s side were outgunned by Australia at the MCG on Sunday – razed for 99 chasing 185 for victory – having slipped to defeat to England in the previous 50-over World Cup final, at Lord’s in 2017.
Greenway says women’s cricket needs a strong India and hopes a potential women’s IPL can help the team cope better with the pressure moments.
On India’s display against Australia, Greenway said: “As a fan of the women’s game it was disappointing. I am sure they will be really disappointed with the way their batting collapsed.
“We know how well India can play but they didn’t represent themselves as well as they had during the rest of the tournament. I think that was down to Australia literally batting them out of the game.”
“India have been there or thereabouts but not been able to cope with the pressure. It’s important India are up there. I think [a Women’s IPL] would improve their performances in big tournaments as well as grow the game.”
That was the best I have seen her bat in any format. She came into the tournament in pretty poor form but managed to find momentum and timing. Some of the balls she hit to the boundary were hard to hit to the boundary but she did it with ease
Lydia Greenway on Alyssa Healy, who smashed 75 from 39 balls
On Australia, who have now won five out of seven T20 World Cups, Greenway added: “It’s hard to think of anyone who does such a good job [in women’s sport].
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