Meg Lanning, often regarded as the most successful captain in women's cricket, has officially tendered her resignation as skipper of the Australian women's team following their shocking thirty-six run loss to India in the semifinals of the ICC Women's World Cup. The Australian women's cricket team were the defending champions and heavy favourites to make the final against hosts England, but a slight rain delay reduced the match to 42 overs a side and after Lanning lost the toss to her Indian counterpart Mithali Raj, the Aussies were forced to field.
Initially it looked like it would have been another stroll in the park for Australia as they had the Indian women reeling at 101 for 3 at one stage, but a brilliant unbeaten century from Harmanpreet Kaur, who ended on 171 not out, helped propel the Indian women to a formidable 281/4 from their allotted 42 overs.
In their turn at the crease, the Australian women's much vaunted batting lineup who had a comprehensive eight wicket win over the Indians earlier in the tournament, were unable to repeat such heroics when it mattered the most as both openers Nicole Bolton and Beth Mooney failed to lay a solid foundation for the other batsmen as they only made 14 and 1 respectively before being sent packing. The big scalp though was Lanning who was clean bowled without troubling the scorers off the penultimate ball of the fifth over as Jhulan Goswami claimed the prized wicket.
However, despite worthy contributions of 38, 75 and 90 from Ellyse Perry, Elyse Villani and Alex Blackwell respectively, chasing 282 for victory proved too much for the Southern Stars as they have now surrendered a second world title in two years following their shocking T20 World Cup final loss to the West Indies women last year.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference after the defeated and demoralized Aussie women arrived in Canberra today; Captain Meg Lanning, fighting through tears, had this to say:
"Gosh this is hard. I honestly don't know how to describe what we are feeling now. I really thought that we had a good chance of winning today and going on to the final to exact some revenge over England. But it's apparent that our earlier loss to the Englishwomen last week came back to bite us in the butt. Now we realize the importance of those three costly runs that we went down under by. No pun intended. But I reckon had we played a full fifty overs against the Indians today, things would definitely have been different. The toss was a crucial one to win. I would have opted to bat first too had we won the toss."
"But Kaur played a brilliant innings and I am afraid that we were just not up to the task today which is so un-Australian of us. I even failed with the bat by making a golden duck. It is a well- known fact that whenever I bat well we always win but I take fully responsibility for this defeat. So, without further hesitation I hereby tender my resignation as Captain of the Southern Stars."
As she handed the letter to a shocked Cricket Australia Chairman David Peever.
Lanning ended by saying:
"I hate losing and I hate failing with the bat whenever I play. But at least the good thing now is that after a month of intense cricket, I and the rest of the Australian women's team will be getting some much deserved rest. I am not even backing any of the teams in the final on Sunday because they both defeated us. So when the final is being played, I'll be sleeping like a baby and trying not to have nightmares about this debacle."