Meg Lanning breaks Ricky Ponting record in historic T20 World Cup triumph
Ricky Ponting has been surpassed as the most successful captain in ICC tournaments.
Meg Lanning has elevated herself into the history books thanks to Australia's triumph over South Africa in the 2023 T20 World Cup final last weekend, beyond a previous high-mark set by former men's captain Ricky Ponting. The 19-run victory over the tournament hosts in Cape Town saw the Aussies win back-to-back World Cup titles, defending their triumph from 2020.
In doing so, Lanning was lifted into rarified air, with her fifth ICC title as captain seeing her surpass Ponting as the most skipper in international tournaments. In addition to the aforementioned World Cup triumphs, Lanning has also lead Australia to victory in the 2014 and 2018 T20 World Cups, as well as the 2022 ODI World Cup.
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The latest success under Lanning made a further mockery of the team's exclusion from the list of nominees for the Laureus World Sports Awards' team of the year. Guided by a swashbuckling and unbeaten 74 from 53 deliveries by Beth Mooney, the visitors were able to hold off the Proteas in a tense finish.
Having won the toss and elected to bat, Australia were able to defend their total of 156, restricting South Africa to 6-137 in reply. Among a fine combined effort from the Australian bowlers, Megan Schutt, Darcie Brown and Jess Jonassen also each took a key wicket as the Australians won a 13th world title in all in white-ball cricket.
Australia didn't notch up the victory at a canter, though. Laura Wolvaardt's 48-ball 61 and Shabnim Ismail's 4-1-26-2 inspired romantic hopes of an historic win for the first-time World Cup finalists South Africa.
Opener Wolvaardt had put the hosts within 48 runs of a win with her third straight fifty that anchored a 35-ball 55 partnership with Chloe Tryon. But Schutt trapped Wolvaardt lbw in 17th over, leaving too much to do for Tryon, who fell for 25 off 23.
Earlier, Mooney's quickfire 15-ball 33 stand with No.6 Ellyse Perry (seven off 5 balls) ensured the defending champions scored 46 in the death overs. The left-handed opener Mooney's clutch innings, reminiscent of her match-winning fifties in the finals of the 2020 T20 World Cup, the 2022 ODI World Cup and the Commonwealth Games final, again proved indispensable.
Most ICC titles as captain 👇
5 - Meg Lanning (2014, 2018, 2020, 2023 T20 WC and 2022 ODI WC)
4 - Ricky Ponting (2003, 2007 ODI WC and 2006, 2009 CT)
3 - MS Dhoni (2007 T20 WC, 2011 ODI WC, 2013 CT)
QUEEN ✨ #SAvAUS scorecard ▶️ https://t.co/OtAUKVbcHJ | #T20WorldCup pic.twitter.com/0yVQhLhYGw
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) February 26, 2023
Australia stand out after brutal snub from world sports awards
The lengthy list of achievements for Australia made them stand out among the nominees for the aforementioned Laureus team of the year nominations, which included Argentina men's football team, England women's football team, France men's rugby team, Golden State Warriors NBA team and the Red Bull F1 team.
However they were completely overlooked by the Laureus awards, which are supposed to recognise the best athletes and teams all around the world. Sports reporter Lachlan McKirdy tweeted last week: "Reckon it's pretty ridiculous the Aussie women's cricket team wasn't nominated for team of the year."
On Sunday night, McKirdy tweeted: "Add another World Cup to the tally. The best team in world sport? It’s hardly even a debate anymore." England women's cricketer Alex Hartley wrote: "Australia showing yet again why they are the greatest sporting team of all time."
Ash Gardner was named player of the tournament and delivered another stand-out all-round performance on Sunday to hand Lanning a memorable win in her 100th T20 international as captain. Gardner helped propel Australia's batting innings with 29 off 21 balls and then defended 26 off the final over to finish with 1-20 off four overs. Her heroics ensured her side completed a three-peat in 20-over World Cups.
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