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Australia down England in thrilling Women's T20 Final

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Reigning champion Australia defeated 2009 winner England in the final of the ICC Women's World Twenty20 at R.Premadasa Stadium today and in doing so, Australia, became the first team (male or female) to retain the ICC World Twenty20 trophy.

Jess Cameron led the way with the bat as Australia reached 142 for four – a score that was close to what Australia set when the teams clashed in the group stage. On that occasion England successfully overhauled Australia's total of 144 but, this time, England's big hitters Charlotte Edwards and Sarah Taylor were unable to replicate their Galle match-winning performances as Australia's all-round effort saw the side to victory by four runs.

Australia had not exhibited any decisive individual performances until today but peaked at the right time, and, after being put in to bat, the Southern Stars got off to an excellent start as openers Meg Lanning and Alyssa Healy put on a devastating opening partnership of 51, scoring at a run a ball until Lanning was caught and bowled by Holly Colvin for 25. Healy continued the charge until being out second, bowled by Danielle Hazell in the eleventh over for 26 with the score on 68.

But the real batting power was supplied by Jess Cameron, who came in at number three and smashed the England bowlers around the park, scoring five fours and the first six of the final. She was joined at the crease by Lisa Sthalekar, and the two put on another 51-run partnership. But it was the 15th over of the Australia innings that might have been the most decisive, as Cameron plundered 17 off Anya Shrubsole. When Cameron departed off the first ball of the next over, Australia was already on its way to an imposing score.

Alex Blackwell made a brief cameo, scoring 13 before being run out on the last ball, leaving Australia on 142 for four from its 20 overs. Left-arm spinner Colvin was the pick of the England bowlers, taking two wickets for 21 runs, with the lowest economy rate of the side.

Under increasingly gloomy skies, England's batters were uncharacteristically circumspect. Openers Charlotte Edwards and Laura Marsh were responsible for the slow start and when Marsh tried to force the pace in the fifth over she was caught and bowled by Julie Hunter, England had only reached 20 runs– well short of the 47 Australia managed in its powerplay. Edwards picked up the pace and scored 28 off 23 balls, including four fours and one six, before being caught leg-side by Ellyse Perry. With the tournament's leading run scorer out of the way, the Australia bowling attack upped the ante, and dismissed England's danger player Sarah Taylor for 19, though not before she smashed two fours. England's middle and lower orders put some life into the run chase with Arran Brindle (13), Jenny Gunn (19) and Danielle Hazell (14) all scoring quickly. But it was all in vain as England needed a six off the last ball.

For Australia, Jess Jonassen picked up three wickets, while Sthalekar and Hunter took two each. Australia batter Jess Cameron was named Player of the Match. There was some small consolation for England captain Charlotte Edwards, who was named Player of the Tournament.

The win was all the more sweeter for Fields having missed out on her side’s 2010 victory due to injury.

“I am just so happy right now, words can’t explain the feeling. I know how happy the girls were in the West Indies and to watch that from the couch was definitely hard but today makes everything all worth it.

“I am just so proud of the way the girls played, we kept our heads under pressure and just fought each ball. We knew we had set a decent total, but England are a class side and we had do everything right today to win, and I think we did just that,” Fields said.

Charlotte Edwards said: “Obviously we are all disappointed, we wanted to be lifting that trophy tonight. Australia were better than us today, we were under par with the ball and the first six overs of their innings was probably the difference between the two teams. Our lack of discipline up front proved costly for us.

“We were confident we could chase that target down, we did it before in Galle and back all our batters, but we lost wickets in clustered and made it harder for ourselves.

“I’m disappointed to have lost, but I’d much rather play in an exciting final and we saw some great shots played today, I think it was a great spectacle for women’s cricket and we’re all proud to have been part of that.

“We’ll go away and put this game to bed and then turn our focus to preparations for the ICC Women’s World Cup.”