APRIL 4, 2022
Australia continued their dominance of women’s cricket with a 71-run win against England in Sunday’s World Cup final. Alyssa Healy’s 170 set the platform for her side to add to the global Twenty20 title they already held, prompting BBC Radio 5 Live summariser Alex Hartley to describe them as “the best sporting team in the world”. Here, the PA news agency looks at their record and assesses the merits of that claim.
Dominance in all formats
Meg Lanning’s side won all nine of their matches at the tournament in New Zealand, most by convincing margins. Nat Sciver’s century brought England within 12 runs in their tournament opener, while India took Australia to the final over, but their other successful chases came with 92, 118, 28 and 65 balls to spare, while they beat New Zealand by 141 runs and won their semi-final against the West Indies by 157. That continued a run of success which has seen them win 38 of their 39 ODIs since the start of 2018, with only September’s two-wicket defeat to India breaking the perfect sequence. South Africa and England are the only other teams with winning records in that time, while Australia’s average of 45.71 runs per wicket is almost 50 per cent higher than India’s second-ranked figure of 30.54.
Australia have won 37 and lost only seven of their 48 T20 internationals in that time, winning the World Cup in that format on International Women’s Day 2020 in front of over 86,000 fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as Beth Mooney (78 not out), Healy (75) and Megan Schutt (four for 18) powered them to an 85-run win over India. Women’s Test matches are rare and Australia have drawn all three of theirs since 2018 – though one of those helped them win this winter’s Ashes with an unbeaten record across the multi-format series.
Best in the world?
Mercedes’ dominance of F1 has come under threat (Bradley Collyer/PA)
Those figures back up Hartley’s assertion, but who else could be considered the world’s most dominant team? Mercedes’ long-running rule of Formula One puts them in the mix, although Red Bull’s Max Verstappen controversially pipped Lewis Hamilton to last season’s drivers’ title and the Silver Arrows have looked uncompetitive early in the new campaign. New Zealand’s men’s rugby team have a winning record against every Test opponent and won back-to-back World Cups in 2011 and 2015 as part of an 18-match winning run at the tournament, although that ended against England in the 2019 semi-final as South Africa matched the All Blacks’ record of three tournament wins. Defeats to the Springboks, Ireland and France in the last six months have also punctured New Zealand’s aura of invincibility since the retirements of the likes of Richie McCaw and Kieran Read. Maybe the closest comparison to Australia, though, comes from the United States women’s international football team.
The United States celebrate as captain Megan Rapinoe, centre, lifts the 2019 Women’s World Cup trophy (PA)
The USWNT have won four World Cups, never finishing lower than third, have four golds and six medals from their seven Olympics and have won every CONCACAF Championship or Gold Cup they have entered apart from a third-place finish in 2010. They have never been outside the top two of the world rankings, year-end leaders in 13 of the last 14 years, with only Germany in 2014 breaking that run, and have four of the top five goal-scorers in women’s internationals behind Canadian record-holder Christine Sinclair. At club level, Lyon had won five straight Women’s Champions Leagues, 14 French titles and eight out of nine domestic cups up to 2019-20 – and previously set a Guinness world record with 41 successive wins to May 2013 – but Paris St Germain won last season’s league title and are only three points behind this term despite OL winning 16 games out of 17. Barcelona Women have sealed their third straight league title in dominant fashion and won four of the last five domestic cups.