England denied Twenty20 glory
England’s women agonisingly fell at the final hurdle in pursuit of the World Twenty20 title as Australia defended their crown in an enthralling encounter at Colombo.
Charlotte Edwards’ side’s form has been imperious in recent times and they understandably headed into this tournament as favourites.
Yet they were unable to secure the coveted sprint-format crown for the second time today, with Australia following up their success in the Caribbean two years ago.
Meg Lanning and Alyssa Healy got the defending champions - who were asked to bat - off to a flying start, laying the platform for a quite excellent 34-ball 45 from Jess Cameron.
Cameron’s was the outstanding innings of the match, the number three mixing shots that showed off her impressive power - that is virtually unrivalled in the women’s game - with deft sweeps.
The upshot was Cameron falling five runs short of what would have been a richly deserved half-century - though her effort still proved decisive.
Holly Colvin starred for England by taking 2-21 and helping restrict Australia in the latter overs as they eventually posted 142 for four.
Despite Edwards striking an aggressive 28 - that included a quite glorious flick over midwicket for six - England lost wickets at regular intervals in reply as Jess Jonassen claimed 3-25.
Pace bowler Ellyse Perry showed typical quality and claimed the prized wicket of Sarah Taylor, with Jonassen taking centre stage by ousting Lydia Greenway, Danni Wyatt and Katherine Brunt.
England’s cause looked lost at 101 for seven - though Jenny Gunn set up an exciting finish by striking one four and a six in a 14-delivery 19.
Danni Hazell then briefly raised hopes of an unlikely success in compiling 16, but could not strike the decisive blow with six needed off the final ball as Australia emerged victorious.
Live Text Commentary
12:59pm - END OF MATCH - AUSTRALIA WIN BY FOUR RUNS - England fall agonisingly short following an enthralling final over. After the first ball is a dot, Osborne delivers a no-ball that yields two. Colvin and Hazell then rotate the strike but fail to find a boundary, with the latter run out off the penultimate delivery. With six needed off the last ball, Hazell then hits to midwicket for one. Huge disappointment for England, whose form over the last year has been imperious.
12:51pm - Holly Colvin strikes a four down the ground to leave England needing 16 off the final over. Australia are favourites, but there's always a chance!
12:46pm - WICKET! Gunn c Jonassen b Hunter; ENG 113/8 - England are not giving up without a fight. Danni Hazell strikes Hunter over long-off for four before Gunn delivers a maximum down the ground. But, off the final delivery of the over, she scoop-sweeps into the hands of Jonassen at short fine-leg. England need 23 from 12 balls with just two wickets left.
12:37pm - WICKET! Brunt b Jonassen 3; ENG 101/7 - Katherine Brunt falls attempting a cut to a delivery too full and is bowled. England need something really special now and are running out of batters.
12:33pm - DROPPED CATCH! - Having taken the aforementioned catch, Blackwell has just shelled a sitter after Jenny Gunn had skied one. The batter then capitalises by flicking over square-leg for four. England need 42 from 24 balls to secure what would now be an unlikely victory.
12:28pm - WICKET! Wyatt c Blackwell b Jonassen 9; ENG 90/6 - That sums up England's day; we have just seen a quite outstanding catch. Wyatt moved down the pitch and nailed one to cover, where Alex Blackwell dived forward and took the unlikeliest of chances.
12:23pm - WICKET! Brindle b Sthalekar 13; ENG 86/5 The returning Sthalekar finds huge turn, which gets rid of Brindle. The batter completely missed an attempted sweep and saw off stump uprooted.
12:19pm - DROPPED CATCH! - England get impetus from a dreadful piece of fielding as Arran Brindle, having cut Jonassen for four in the spinner's previous over, strikes a full-toss to deep midwicket, where Alyssa Healy shelled a chance and watched as the ball went for four.
12:11pm - WICKET! Greenway c Hunter b Jonassen 4; ENG 63/4 - Jess Jonassen is in on the act now. Greenway looked to have timed her flick over midwicket well, but Hunter appeared and claimed an excellent catch.
12:08pm - WICKET! Taylor c Fields b Perry 19; ENG 61/3 - I was about to say Taylor is warming up nicely, but Australia’s star has got rid of England’s. After the number three produced an authoritative pull for four, she has edged behind looking to hit over cover. Massive blow.
12:03pm - Lydia Greenway is going to her favoured sweep, epitomised by her trying the stroke to the first four deliveries faced - the third of which almost went to the boundary, only for Rachael Haynes to deliver a fine piece of fielding. The ball may have touched part of her body as she contacted the rope, but the umpire gave Haynes the benefit of the doubt.
11:53am - WICKET! Edwards c Perry b Sthalekar 28; ENG 44/2 - That's a huge blow for England as their captain moves down the pitch and hits Sthalekar down the throat of Perry at deep midwicket.
11:52am - Edwards greets the introduction of Erin Osborne by trotting down the pitch and striking over midwicket for six. The opener follows that up with an aerial boundary down the ground and another through midwicket either side of Taylor clipping Hunter through fine-leg for four.
11:41am - WICKET! Marsh c & b Hunter 8; ENG 20/1 - The introduction of Julie Hunter does for Marsh, who clips tamely back to the swing bowler. That looked a struggle for the opener as she mixed the odd boundary with too many dot balls. Sarah Taylor, the Twenty20 player of the year, comes in. Key period coming up.
11:37am - Excellent opening boundary for Marsh as she slog-sweeps off-spinner Lisa Sthalekar, who is typically bowling with her hat on. Edwards then flicks gloriously through midwicket off Perry; the openers are struggling to rotate the strike, however, and will be looking to up the ante in the next couple of overs.
11:30am - Well, that over actually ended quite dramatically as an Edwards cover-drive struck Jess Cameron in the knee. Oh, and the star of Australia's innings has had to leave the field. A quite bizarre series of events - it did not seem to hit her too hard, but clearly caught an awkward area.
11:28am - Ellyse Perry, Australia’s pace spearhead, opens the bowling, and immediately finds some swing. Her first ball, however, is edged past gully for four by Charlotte Edwards - who was then beaten as the over yielded no more runs.
11:09am - ENG OF INNINGS - AUSTRALIA 142/3 - Colvin finishes an outstanding spell of 4-0-21-2 by conceding six runs off the penultimate over. Marsh then follows that up as six come from the last, meaning England - who chased 145 to win versus these opponents earlier in the tournament - require 143.
11:03am - Excellent stuff from Colvin, whose set of six yields just four runs and a wicket. Wyatt initially fails to follow up her fellow tweaker’s efforts and is swept for four by Alex Blackwell - though the other five deliveries bring Australia only three.
10:56am - WICKET! Cameron c Gunn b Colvin 45; AUS 119/2 - Huge, huge wicket for England. Colvin breaks through and gets rid of the dangerous Cameron, who was really beginning to unfurl some fine strokes. A tame dismissal in the end as the number three moves down the pitch and hits to long-on.
10:55am - This is a real gem of an innings from Cameron, who has just accelerated Australia’s charge with three quite brilliant shots. A heave brings the first six off Shrubsole, who is then ramped over the wicketkeeper’s head and cut through cover for fours. Seventeen from that over.
10:52am Amazing shot from Cameron, who reverse-sweeps a Marsh full toss to the boundary. Australia are looking in good shape to post a commanding total. Big last five overs coming up in this innings.
10:44am - Lisa Sthalekar finds her first boundary with an excellently-timed pull through midwicket off Hazell, whose spell finishes on 4-0-23-1.
10:35am - WICKET! Healy b Hazell 26; ENG 68/2 - Healy departs playing the swivel pull that has yielded such excellent results so far. A Hazell off-break finds a little turn and seemingly keeps low to castle the opener.
10:34am - Number three Jess Cameron is showing the ability to follow up her colleagues’ good work as a fine sweep brings four before a gorgeous aerial straight drive does likewise.
10:31am - Good stuff now from England as Laura Marsh and Colvin put the squeeze on the batters.
10:23am - WICKET! Lanning c & b Colvin 25; AUS 51/1 - Holly Colvin makes the big breakthrough for England! The left-arm spinner tempts Lanning down the pitch, yet the impressive opener can only chip back and watch as a smart return catch is held. England need to apply the pressure now.
10:21am - Another swivel pull from Healy brings a boundary off seamer Anya Shrubsole, with Australia reaching 47 without loss in a productive six-over powerplay.
10:18am - England are bowling a little too full on a pitch that is looking better with every over. Lanning continues to prosper with a swept four off Hazell and her partner finds the fence in the next, striking Danni Wyatt through cover.
10:11am Australia rotate impressively off spinner Danni Hazell before Brunt makes the huge error of over-stepping delivering a ball that is driven excellently through cover by Lanning. The opener subsequently strikes over the same area for another boundary from the free hit, after which Alyssa Healy adds her first four with a lovely pull; the defending champions are off to a fine start.
10:02am - A fine over from Brunt, who is finding her usual away swing. Meg Lanning, however, also looks confident from the off and cuts impressively through point for the first boundary.
9:59am - We have heard the national anthems and are ready for action. Katherine Brunt will get proceedings under way.
9:57am - And here is the Australia XI: Meg Lanning, Alyssa Healy, Jess Cameron, Lisa Sthalekar, Alex Blackwell, Jodie Fields, Rachael Haynes, Erin Osborne, Julie Hunter, Ellyse Perry, Jess Jonassen.
9:48am - Here is the England team in full: Charlotte Edwards, Laura Marsh, Sarah Taylor, Arran Brindle, Lydia Greenway, Danni Wyatt, Jenny Gunn, Anya Shrubsole, Danni Hazell, Katherine Brunt, Holly Colvin.
9:46am - There is potentially some bad weather around the Premadasa Stadium, so we will sit with fingers crossed in the hope of a full game. It's bright and sunny at the moment and Katherine Brunt et al will be licking their lips at the prospect of getting after Australia's batters on a good-looking surface.
9:32am - ENGLAND WIN TOSS AND BOWL - Edwards has won the toss and asked Australia to bat. England have successfully chased targets in three of their four games and will fancy doing so again as they look to win the crown for the second time.
9:24am - Defending champions Australia have lost just one match in the competition thus far, against England in the group stage. Charlotte Edwards' side, winners of the tournament in 2009, boast an unbeaten record having defeated everyone they have played with relative ease.
9:15am - Hello and welcome to ecb.co.uk's live coverage of the Women's World Twenty20 final between Australia and England. Today we will see the best two sides in the female game battle it out for the trophy in Colombo.