ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020
'An iconic image': Australia's first T20 World Cup triumph
In our latest World Cup final flashback, Alyssa Healy takes us inside her first international tour and a special moment in Australian cricket history
Laura Jolly previously wrote for News Corp Australia and the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, and is now cricket.com.au Women's Cricket Editor providing dedicated coverage to all aspects of the women's game
May 16, 2010, Barbados (West Indies)
Final result: Australia defeated New Zealand by three runs
Player of the match: Ellyse Perry (3-18)
Ellyse Perry stands at the top of her mark, sweat beading on her forehead.
The evening is humid, the tension palpable.
One last delivery will determine the winner of the 2010 T20 World Cup, and the equation is simple: New Zealand need five runs to win, or four to force a Super Over, with devastating allrounder Sophie Devine on strike, unbeaten on 29.
Charged with sending down that final ball is 19-year-old Perry, who has burst onto the international scene but is yet to taste World Cup glory.
What happens next is arguably the most iconic moment in the history of the ICC Women's T20 World Cup.
Devine hammered a powerful straight drive – a shot that should have flown down the ground to the boundary – but Perry managed to somehow stick out her right foot and deflect the ball to mid-on, conceding just a single.
"It was a weird moment," Australia wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy recalls. "Once she struck it, I thought it was four, I thought she'd hit it well enough, straight enough that our mid-on, mid-off weren't going to get there.
"And then to see a big size 9.5 come down to the middle of the wicket and kicking it to midwicket… it was amazing.
"It was probably the most iconic vision we've seen in the women's game over the last 10 to 15 years, and something that all of us who were in the inner ring at that time will never forget."
#OnThisDay in 2010, @EllysePerry (a year before playing in a FIFA World Cup!) 'put her boot out' to prevent a Super Over and give Australia their maiden #T20WorldCup crown. The Aussies will be defending champs on home soil in 2020! 🇦🇺🏏 pic.twitter.com/2pAVdLphVs— T20 World Cup (@T20WorldCup) May 16, 2019
That win sparked an unparalleled run of Women's T20 World Cup success for Australia, who would go on to win the 2012, 2014 and 2018 titles.
But if it hadn't been for Perry's right foot – and her lightning-fast reflexes – it could have been a very different story.
The three-run, final-ball victory was the first of three consecutive titles claimed by the Australians, who have won four of the six events to date.
Australia's 2010 campaign – the second ever Women's World T20, with the inaugural event won by England – was book-ended by thrillers.
First, they overcame Ashes foes England by the narrowest of margins in their opening game in the Caribbean.
Both teams were bowled out for 104. Then, both teams finished 2-6 in their Super Over.
They were eventually split by the number of sixes scored – Australia's one, courtesy of Jess Cameron, compared to England's none.
But for the players involved, it is the location that lives strongest in their memories.
"It was probably my first proper tour," Healy said. "I had played against New Zealand before, but I really enjoyed that trip more than anything.
"The cricket was the side part, to me it was just being in the Caribbean and loving life.
"But culminating with that last game against New Zealand, and defending the title with Ellyse Perry's boot at the end of it, I think it's a fairly iconic image."
Healy had been a late addition to the squad, called in as a replacement for wicketkeeper – and Australia captain – Jodie Fields.
That in itself caused some amusement upon arrival in the Caribbean, when Healy was allocated the plush quarters reserved for a team captain, instead of stand-in Alex Blackwell.
"It was a strange feeling, I wasn't in the squad at all and then they rang me to see if I'd come along," she said.
"I just really enjoyed the moment and enjoyed playing cricket for Australia in a World Cup and I think that was the best memory that I had."
The remainder of the group stage went smoothly for Australia: Shelley Nitschke dominated in a 24-run win over South Africa, then Perry starred with the ball to seal victory over West Indies.
A perfectly timed chase against India then cemented Australia's spot in the decider, as a half-century from Blackwell secured a seven-wicket win with seven balls to spare.
Then, to Barbados for the final.
Australia had tasted defeat in their two previous World Cup campaigns, losing a third-place play-off on home soil in the 2009 ODI event before being knocked out in the semi-finals when the inaugural T20 World Cup was held in the UK months later.
It made Blackwell's team all the hungrier to snap their drought and it was trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand left standing in their way.
Arriving early at Kensington Oval, the Australians first watched their male counterparts suffer an emphatic seven-wicket defeat to England in the final of the men's tournament.
"There were a few nerves about, being a World Cup final, it's never easy, but it was the first time that we'd played after the men, too, which I thought worked really well," Healy recalled.
"We got to watch a little bit of their game and then we were all trying to warm up on the ground while England was celebrating the win.
"And the Aussie boys were obviously coming out to wish us luck, that was a really cool experience but it was a long time to wait.
"We didn't play a lot of night games in that stage in women's cricket, so it was a long day to wait for a World Cup final … I just remember being nervous, being excited and looking forward to getting out there."
Blackwell won the toss and chose to bat, but things did not go Australia's way early, the top order falling cheaply as Nicola Browne claimed 2-11.
Leah Poulton, who top-scored with 20, steadied in a 30-run stand with Jess Cameron, but both fell in quick succession attempting to up the run rate.
At 5-51, it took a rearguard from Sarah Elliot (19no) and Lisa Sthalekar (18) to lift Australia to 8-106.
"I think everyone knew that we were probably a bit short and New Zealand had a really good batting line up," Healy said.
"But we knew that if we put a really good bowling performance together, we might be able to get the job done."
Early strikes from Perry and Clea Smith ensured the pressure was immediately placed back on New Zealand, with Suzie Bates (18), Sara McGlashan (1), Amy Satterthwaite (4) and Rachel Priest (5) all falling cheaply as the White Ferns fell to 5-36, still needing 71 off 54.
But the game still had a few twists and turns up its sleeve.
The first came as Devine (38no) and Browne (20) swung the momentum back in New Zealand's favour.
The next came courtesy of a piece of fielding Healy believes was every bit as essential, but less-heralded, than Perry's last-ball effort.
"I remember feeling like New Zealand had got away from us and then to see a flying Shelley Nitschke at backward point save a boundary, I felt like that was a real momentum shift," Healy said.
"That was crucial and defending such a low total, to save three runs like she did, I think at the end of the day probably won us the match.
"Pez's boot definitely won us the game in that last ball – but I think Shelley's dive on the boundary is something that sticks out."
However, the dangerous Devine remained at the crease, keeping New Zealand's hopes alive with a four and a six from the final two balls of the 19th over, leaving them needing 14 runs from the last six balls.
A single, followed by four twos set up the now famous final moment.
And, of course, the celebrations after.
"They were very rowdy," Healy laughed. "It was special. I think to have the boys there as well, it was the first experience that I'd had of both sides celebrating one another's success.
"I remember having a beer with Michael Clarke afterwards in the changing room and just talking about cricket and while they didn't win, (to have them) celebrate our success was really special for us."
2020 ICC Women's T20 World Cup
Australia squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Erin Burns, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy (wk), Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
February 18: Australia v South Africa, Karen Rolton Oval
February 21: Australia v India, Sydney Showgrounds
February 24: Australia v Sri Lanka, WACA Ground
February 27: Australia v Bangladesh, Manuka Oval
March 8: Final, MCG
For a full list of all World Cup fixtures, click HERE
* All matches will be broadcast on Fox Cricket and Kayo, while Australia’s matches will also be broadcast on the Nine Network