Huge attendance sets the bar high for the next major sporting event, says former captain Alex Blackwell
Monster MCG crowd a 'game changer'
It wasn't quite a record-breaker, but a huge MCG crowd has watched Australia crush India in the final of the ICC Women's T20 World Cup.
Organisers had hoped to fill the venue on Sunday and top the record crowd for a women's sporting event set when 90,185 people watched the 1999 women's soccer World Cup final in California.
But the final figure was 86,174 on a landmark night.
It was still the largest crowd for a women's sporting event in Australia and the highest crowd figure for a women's cricket match globally.
The turnout on International Women's Day was lauded as a seismic shift for women's cricket and sport in general.
"It's a game changer," retired Australian great Alex Blackwell said on ABC Grandstand.
"I think it sets the standard or the bar as high as possible for the next sporting event - men or women."
Openers Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney rose to the occasion, to the delight of local fans.
Healy set the early pace with five sixes and seven fours in her swashbuckling 75 from 39 balls, while Mooney was unbeaten on 78 from 54 balls, her knock including 10 fours.
"You cannot wipe the smile off my face one bit," Healy said of the crowd.
"Even if we had lost the game I still would have been smiling.
"I never thought that we would get an opportunity like this in my whole career ... I thought maybe in 20 years time."
Organisers pulled out all the stops in the record attempt, with an extensive marketing campaign that included the social media hashtag #FillTheMCG.
Officials got their dream match-up when the home team and the well-followed Indian side made it to the decider.
There was also the added interest of American pop star Katy Perry performing before and after the match.
With the game in Australia's keeping, the party atmosphere kicked up a notch with a Mexican wave circling the ground.
Ashleigh Gardener caught Poonam Yadav off Megan Schutt's bowling to end the contest, the visitors all out for 99 chasing Australia's 4-184.
2020 ICC Women's T20 World Cup
February 21:India beat Australia by 17 runs
February 24: Australia beat Sri Lanka by five wickets
February 27: Australia beat Bangladesh by 86 runs
March 2: Australia beat New Zealand by four runs
March 5: Australia beat South Africa by five runs
March 8: Australia beat India by 85 runs
For a full list of all World Cup fixtures, click HERE
* The Final will be broadcast on Fox Cricket, Kayo and the Nine Network