CAPE TOWN (AFP): Australia’s all-conquering women cricketers were hailed Monday as among the greatest sporting teams the country has ever produced after winning yet another Twenty20 World Cup.
Meg Lanning’s side beat hosts South Africa by 19 runs at Newlands in Cape Town on Sunday to lift the trophy for a sixth time in the last seven tournaments.
“Don Bradman had the Invincibles. Meg Lanning has the Immortals,” said The Australian newspaper.
“Where Bradman’s legendary team was labelled as such just for one tour of England after the war, the Australian women’s team is now an era of unprecedented world domination.”
Australia were already reigning 50-over World Cup champions and they won the inaugural Commonwealth Games gold medal last year.
“It’s a spectacular achievement and one that has been criminally underappreciated in recent weeks,” the broadsheet added.
“For this Australian team not to be nominated for the Laureus World Sports Awards is a disgrace and makes a mockery of the once-prestigious awards.”
The England women’s football side has been nominated for this year’s Laureus team award, along with five others, including the French men’s rugby team and Formula One’s Red Bull. But Lanning’s world-beaters were overlooked.
The Sydney Morning Herald lauded them as one of the all-time greats.
“They’ve played in a way that has changed the status and perception of women’s cricket forever and made some of them household names,” it said.
“It’s almost impossible to deny that when everything that matters is taken into account — achievement, grace, inspiration to a generation and social impact -– they’ve put more stakes in the ground than any other.”
Lanning has now led the team to five titles at ICC tournaments, with Sunday’s triumph adding to her previous wins as skipper in 2014, 2018 and 2020, and the 2022 one-day World Cup victory in New Zealand.
Overall, she has been part of seven World Cup-winning teams.
Opener Beth Mooney, whose unbeaten 74 set up the victory over South Africa, said Lanning should be considered one of the finest leaders in world sport.
“When Meg retires — hopefully not for a few more years — I think she’ll go down as one of the greatest leaders not just in cricket, but in sport, and just generally as well,” she told reporters.
“I think she’s got an immense cricket brain. She’s cool, calm and collected under pressure and she’s got empathy as well.”