Opener Alyssa Healy smashed a record 170 as Australia routed England by 71 runs to claim their seventh Women’s World Cup win in Christchurch on Sunday.
Healy’s belligerent 138-ball innings, the highest total in a World Cup final, helped Australia set a mammoth victory target of 357 at Hagley Oval which proved beyond the defending champions despite a fighting century by Nat Sciver.
Sciver’s unbeaten 148 entertained the crowd but she played a lone hand as England were bowled out for 285 with six overs to spare.
“That was pretty special from our group,” said wicketkeeper-batter Healy, player-of-the-match as well as the tournament.
“Our team sets out to win events like these.
“We have done it all but to do it on the biggest stage, I never imagined in my wildest dreams.”
Meg Lanning’s Australia finished unbeaten in nine matches, erasing their 2017 World Cup disappointment when they were stunned in the semi-finals by India in England.
The peerless Australians have now won three of the last five 50-over World Cups and own both the major global trophies, having claimed the T20 World Cup on home soil in 2020.
“I think we deserved a victory today,” said skipper Lanning.
“It hasn’t been easy but it is nice to be able to get to the end of this block and say we are the champions.”
Four days after hammering 129 in the semi-final against West Indies, Healy again burnished her big-game credentials.
Two years ago, she routed India’s bowlers in a 39-ball 75 as Australia won the T20 World Cup final in Melbourne.
On Sunday, she blasted 26 fours as Australia posted 356 for five after England skipper Heather Knight won the toss and elected to field.
England’s bowling plans were ripped to shreds as Healy and Rachael Haynes put on an 160-run opening stand, enabled by dropped catches and poor fielding.
Haynes (68) might have been run out on 19 but for a weak throw to the wicketkeeper’s end.
Seamer Kate Cross was let down twice in four balls by her team mates, with Haynes dropped for 47 and Healy for 41.
Healy cut seamer Anya Shrubsole for a single to bring up her fifth ODI century, yelping in delight as her husband Mitchell Starc, the Australian men’s fast bowler, clapped in the crowd.
She was again dropped on 136 at short fine leg by a leaping Tammy Beaumont trying to scoop Sciver.
Finally stumped by Amy Jones off Shrubsole, Healy strolled off to a standing ovation, having carried Australia to 316 for two.
With England needing more than seven runs an over, Sciver was magnificent in her 121-ball knock but ran out of batting partners.
Pace bowler Megan Schutt (2-42) did the early damage, removing both England openers to leave them 38 for two, before legspinner Alana King (3-64) took over in the middle overs.
Left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen took 3-57, sealing the win when tail-ender Shrubsole slogged to Ashleigh Gardner at mid-off.
Knight said she was “massively proud” of her team for reaching the final after losing their first three matches, and defended her decision to field first.
“I think it was a 50-50 decision at the toss,” she said.
“Credit to Australia for bringing such a performance in the final.
“They were ruthless and take the game away from the opposition.”