The Australian women's cricket team is being hailed as the best to ever play the sport after rewriting history to claim a seventh Women's World Cup trophy, courtesy of a 71-run win in the final against England.
In one of the most incredible triumphs the sport has ever seen, it was fitting that Australia's Alyssa Healy played the greatest innings ever seen at a cricket World Cup - in either the women's or men's editions.
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Healy smashed an astonishing 170-runs in the decider to break Aussie men's great Adam Gilchrist's previous record of 149 runs in a World Cup final (against Sri Lanka in 2007).
It marked back-to-back centuries for Healy after she made 129 in the semi-final against West Indies, making her the only player to score two hundreds in one women's World Cup.
Together, Healy and Rachael Haynes also combined for the highest opening partnership in a women's World Cup final, making 160 before Haynes was finally dismissed.
Healy powered Australia to 5-356, combining with Haynes and Beth Mooney for two monster partnerships.
Australia's star wicketkeeper made 100 off as many balls and then thrashed away, bringing out the scoops, sweeps and flicks before finishing with 170 off 138.
Australian victory appeared certain as Healy left the field to a standing ovation and backslaps from her English opponents.
However, Nat Sciver pulled England within touching distance of a world-record chase, belting 148 not out from 121 deliveries.
Sciver, who entered the contest at 2-38, was denied a fairytale finish as she ran out of partners with 38 balls left, England all out for 285.
For Meg Lanning's side, it capped off an absolutely perfect month of cricket that saw the Aussies win all nine games to claim the World Cup trophy for a seventh time.
Former England men’s captain Nasser Hussain described Lanning’s side as the “greatest women’s cricket side to have played the game” and it was a sentiment shared from fans across the world after their unforgettable display.
— Najrul Islam Rakib (@NajrulRakib) April 3, 2022
World cup for the Aussies 👌
This australian team 🔥🔥🔥
Greatest womens cricket team ever 🙌🙌👏👏👏👏
— ബ്ലീറ്റ് (MI) (@DrBleet) April 3, 2022
Nasser Hussain called it right, this Aussie womens team is probably the greatest of all time. This team under Meg Lanning has always given me the feels of Ponting's unbeatable Aussie side. GOATS!#CWC22
— Wasiyullah Budye (@iWasiyullah) April 3, 2022
— Jodie C (@Jodie0512) April 3, 2022
The greatest team ever go the girls!! Aussies win again!! https://t.co/eUfaO90Up9
— Peter Duncan (@Peteduncan30) April 3, 2022
The greatest Women’s cricket team ever, congrats Aussies 🍻🏆
— Jett Shaw (@Jettshaw23) April 3, 2022
What a knock by Alyssa Healy - 170 in 138 balls. Arguably the greatest ever knock in the final of women's World Cup. Magnificent innings by an incredible performer.
— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) April 3, 2022
That innings of Alyysa Healy is one of the greatest ODI innings i have ever seen. Period.
— Keerthana KR (@KeerthanaKR5) April 3, 2022
Alyssa Healy has just played one of the greatest innings in World Cup history. Just dismissed for 170 💪
— adrian barich (@adrianbarich) April 3, 2022
•129(107) in Semifinal.
•170(138) in Final.
Alyssa Healy in this World Cup - 9 Innings, 509 Runs, 2 Hundreds, 56.56 Average. What a Incredible Performance by Alyssa Healy. She's brilliant throughout this tournament. One of the greatest ever performance. #CWC22 pic.twitter.com/CCv2P3vxnN
— CricketMAN2 (@ImTanujSingh) April 3, 2022
Alyssa Healy smashes best World Cup knock ever
"That was a special game of cricket," Healy said. "And that was pretty special from our group."
The win ends a five-year wait for another crack at the trophy after their upset semi-final loss in 2017.
"We've been working towards it for a long period of time. Everyone's been talking about it for a long period of time so to finally get over the line was pretty cool," Healy said.
Healy struck 26 boundaries on her way to the biggest total in any short-form World Cup final, men's or women's, an innings summed up by former captain Lisa Sthalekar.
"This is ridiculous from Alyssa Healy!! We are witnessing the best innings ever in a FINAL!!" she said.
Such was Australia's dominance, captain Lanning didn't bat until Australia were three down, and Ellyse Perry - the subject of injury doubts before taking her place - could also relax in the stands until the 48th over.
Healy combined with Haynes, who made 68, for an opening stand of 160 - the biggest partnership of a Women's World Cup final.
Healy and Beth Mooney, elevated to first drop, then put on a similar clinic with a 156 runs together.
Lanning (10), Ash Gardner (1), Tahlia McGrath (8 not out) and Perry (17 not out) were able to throw the bat late as Australia racked up their monster score.
Set a world record 357 for victory, England set about their chase with admirable determination, keeping the run rate above six per over.
However, they lost wickets at regular intervals, with Megan Schutt (2-42 off eight) removing both openers in her opening spell.
Sciver was the thorn in Australia's side, hitting 15 fours and a six, surviving as her teammates fell.
King (3-64 off 10) trapped captain Heather Knight in front for 26 and then bowled Sophia Dunkley around her legs for 23.
Jess Jonassen (3-57 off 8.4) provided steel at the death, claiming the final wicket to spark pandemonium.
England's sliding doors moment came in the 21st over when both Haynes and Healy were dropped, four balls apart, off Kate Cross' bowling.
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