MELBOURNE                   -            Opening batswomen Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney scored glittering half-centuries as a ruthless Australia crushed India by 85 runs to win a record-extending fifth Women’s Twenty20 World Cup in front of a heaving Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.

Player of the match Healy blasted a 39-ball 75 and pillaged five sixes from India’s hapless bowlers, while Mooney, named player of the tournament, finished with an unbeaten 78 from 54 balls, driving the defending champions to an imposing total of 184 for four. Having dropped both the Australian openers when they were on single figures in a dismal fielding display, a shellshocked India later crumbled under the floodlights to be out for 99 after 19.1 overs.

Fast bowler Megan Schutt took four wickets and sealed the win when tail-ender Poonam Yadav slogged high and into the safe hands of Ash Gardner. The catch sent home fans in the crowd of 86,174, a record for a women’s sporting event in Australia, into a frenzy on International Women’s Day. Blighted by injuries, Australia had to grind through a slew of do-or-die matches to reach the decider after losing their tournament opener to India.

Yet shorn of talismanic all-rounder Ellyse Perry and front-line fast bowler Tayla Vlaeminck, Meg Lanning’s side produced their best performance of the tournament in the match that counted. “I’m just really proud of the group and staff. We’ve had everything thrown at us through this tournament,” skipper Lanning said at the trophy ceremony. “There were definitely some tough times there but we stuck together as a group. “It’s been massive, 86,000 people at the MCG - I never thought I’d see that.”