England, bidding to become double world champions, were bowled out for 105 with two balls remaining in Antigua.
Australia were poor in the field but leg-spinner Georgia Wareham took 2-11 and completed a stunning run-out to restrict England.
Ashleigh Gardner backed up her 3-22 with an unbeaten 33 as Australia chased down the total with 29 balls remaining.
After winning the toss and opting to bat, England were unable to find any rhythm, with only Danni Wyatt (43) and captain Heather Knight reaching double figures.
In comparison to their fielding, Australia were ruthless with the bat, as captain Meg Lanning and Gardner worked the ball around the field with ease.
The chase looked all too easy as the match came to a close with nearly five overs to spare – with some England players left in tears as Australia celebrated their first world title in four years.
England began the tournament without Katherine Brunt or Sarah Taylor – two of their most experienced players – but the performances of left-arm spinners Kirstie Gordon and Sophie Ecclestone helped them reach the final.
Video: Australia v England – Womens World T20 2018 highlights
However, their nerves at reaching a major final showed as they made a frenetic start with the bat and never really settled into the innings.
In truth, England should have been dismissed for much less but Australia were sloppy in the field, with player of the tournament Alyssa Healy twice spilling chances behind the stumps.
A major benefit of making a conscious decision to foster a dressing room where aggressive cricket is supported without exception means the days of depending on the skipper alone are over. Now with our batting lineup that weve got I can play a lot more freely, she explained. I can just go out there and play rather than feel like Ive got a lot of responsibility. Over the last year or so were not relying on one or two players anymore, and I think that probably found us out a little bit in World Cups.
The seamers, though, excelled. Megan Schutt was economical, taking 2-13, while Ellyse Perry became only the second player to take 100 T20 international wickets as she trapped Natalie Sciver lbw.
It was the teenage Wareham, the youngest member of Australias squad, who produced the best bit of fielding, running out the in-form Amy Jones with a direct hit from mid-on.
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The young leg-spinner then dismissed Lauren Winfield and Sophia Dunkley in consecutive balls as Englands middle order struggled to rotate the strike.
Knight offered brief hope for England when she struck Gardner for a straight six in the 18th over, but she holed out to the next delivery with England 98-8.
As a reference point, that semi-final loss in last years World Cup has been a permanent feature of the conversation around how this side is so vastly improved, above the shoulders most of all. We spoke about that as a group and not hiding away from that fact, she continued. The biggest thing has been that weve been able to learn and really grow.
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England were able to get over the 100 mark but two wickets fell in the final over as they failed to bat out their 20 overs.
Knights side needed to be accurate with the ball to restrict Australia but they started badly, with Anya Shrubsoles first over disappearing for 14 runs.
Back then, Lanning was batting with one arm all-but falling off, her right shoulder so badly injured that it required surgery that kept her out of last summer entirely. Its had a massive impact on the way I look at the game, she said of that enforced layoff. That timeout for me was extremely difficult; harder than I thought it was going to be.
Ecclestone produced a fine flighted delivery to dismiss the in-form Healy for 22, but the England bowlers were too loose at key moments.
Gardner took her time to settle in but two sixes down the ground off Gordon accelerated Australia towards their target, with Lanning anchoring the chase.
The final itself was not high quality but the competition – the first time the tournament has been separate from the mens – has largely been a success, with more than 9,000 fans – around 10% of the entire population of Antigua – watching at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
Ex-England captain Charlotte Edwards on BBC Test Match Special: “England have done really, really well. These two teams are the best resourced teams in world cricket. England did lose their best two players before the tournament, but it would have been disappointing for them not to reach the final.
“England have unearthed some really special talent in this tournament, like Kirstie Gordon and Sophia Dunkley, but some of the senior players havent performed.”
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England captain Heather Knight: “We kept losing wickets at key times and werent able to post a total that was competitive, but Im proud of the girls for reaching another world final.
“We had a lot of inexperience out there, hopefully this will make it better for them in the future. Australia were better than us, so congratulations to them. Were a bit raw at the moment.”
Australia captain Meg Lanning: “We havent had the success we would have liked over the last couple of years.
“The last two World Cups hurt. Weve had to change a few things and the group has really embraced that. This is a really satisfying win.”
England coach Mark Robinson on TMS: “There was an opportunity to win, and thats what you cant deny.
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“We came in as slight underdogs. But the disappointing thing is, we got ourselves into positions. What we havent been able to do, in this period of time, is get enough form and rhythm into the batters.”
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4 – Number of Womens World T20 titles for Australia. They previously won the titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014 before finishing runners-up to West Indies in the 2016 edition. Like in this edition, they beat England in the summit clash in 2012 and 2014.
Season Hosts Teams Winner Runner Up Most runs Most wickets 2009 England 8 England New Zealand A Watkins (200) H Colvin (9) 2010 West Indies 8 Australia New Zealand S McGlashan (147) N Bowne/ D David (9) 2012/13 Sri Lanka 8 Australia England C Edwards (172) J Hunter (11) 2013/14 Bangladesh 10 Australia England M Lanning (257) A Shrubsole (13) 2015/16 India 10 West Indies Australia Stephanie Taylor (246) S Devine/ D Dottin/ L Kasperek (9) 2018/19 West Indies 10 Australia England A Healy (225) D Dottin/ A Gardner/ M Schutt (10)
Alyssa Healy took the attack to Anya Shrubsole in the second over, punishing her for bowling short. Sophie Ecclestone had the in-form batter of the tournament bowled with a beauty and Danielle Hazell sent back Beth Mooney to add some pressure, but England were allowed nothing else.
4 – Man of the Match awards won by Australias wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy – the most by a player in a single edition of the Womens World T20. She went past Englands Anya Shrubsoles three such awards in the 2014 edition of the tournament. She finished the leading run-getter with 225 runs along with 12 dismissals behind the wicket and was also adjudicated Man of the Series for her efforts.
75 – Sixes hit in the tournament – the highest-ever in a single edition of Womens World T20. In terms sixes per game, the ratio of 3.41 (75 sixes from 22 matches) is surpassed only in one other instance – 53 sixes from 15 games in 2010 (3.53 maximums per match).
48.51 – Percentage of runs scored off the bat that came from boundaries alone – the most in a season of Womens World T20. Along with 75 maximums, 440 boundaries were also hit. The previous highest was 48.29% in the inaugural edition in England in 2009 while the lowest was 42.61% in the 2010 edition in the Caribbean.
16.11 – Average runs per wicket in the tournament – the lowest-ever in a Womens World T20. Despite an increase in percentage of runs scored from boundaries and more sixes hit, the batters found the going tough on the slow tracks of the Caribbean. The tournament run-rate of 6.03 was only a slight upgrade from 5.99 in the previous tournament in India two years ago.
Ellyse Perry had Nat Sciver as her 100th wicket, Wareham took two in two balls, and Ashleigh Gardner finished with three wickets as England pushed their total to three figures before folding for 105 in 19.4 overs.
Year Mat Avg SR 100s 50s Sixes Boundary % Sixes/mat 2009 15 17.51 95.23 0 13 27 48.29% 1.80 2010 15 15.99 96.92 1 9 53 42.61% 3.53 2012 17 16.07 87.38 0 6 30 45.04% 1.76 2014 27 16.75 95.19 1 17 57 46.50% 2.11 2016 23 17.64 94.35 0 13 43 43.70% 1.87 2018 22 14.98 93.36 1 14 75 48.51% 3.41
2.76 – Difference between batting and bowling average in World T20 2018 – the lowest difference between bat and ball in a single edition of the tournament. Like all the previous editions, this season also witnessed ball (average of 17.75) dominating the bat (14.98).
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140 – Wickets taken by spinners in the tournament from 22 matches at 6.36 wickets per game – both the highest-ever in a single edition of the Womens World T20. Spinners took a wicket every 18.3 balls which turns out to be the best for a season while the average of 18.50 per wicket was bettered only once before – 17.73 in 2010. Spinners bowled 52.73% of the total overs which happens to be the highest percentage of overs bowled by the ilk in a single edition of the tournament.
Year Wkts Overs Per of overs Avg ER SR 2009 64 230 40.27% 21.46 5.97 21.5 2010 82 253.2 43.88% 17.73 5.73 18.5 2012 89 302.5 49.66% 18.79 5.52 20.4 2014 115 461.1 44.19% 24.08 6.00 24.0 2016 134 462.2 52.34% 19.93 5.77 20.7 2018 140 428.2 52.73% 18.50 6.04 18.3
17.07 – Average for pacers in the tournament – the best-ever for a single edition of the Womens World T20. The strike-rate of 17.7 also happens to be the best in a season for the pacers while their economy rate of 5.76 is dwarfed only by 5.70 in the 2012 season in Sri Lanka. Four of the top five wicket-takers in the tournament were pacers – Deandra Dottin (10), Megan Schutt (10) and Ellyse Perry (9).
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Year Wkts Overs Per of overs Avg ER SR 2009 82 317.1 55.52% 23.69 6.12 23.2 2010 80 299.4 51.89% 24.03 6.41 22.4 2012 60 261.3 42.89% 24.86 5.70 26.1 2014 170 536.2 51.39% 18.69 5.92 18.9 2016 97 392.4 44.44% 25.02 6.18 24.2 2018 120 355.3 43.76% 17.07 5.76 17.7
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1.43 – The difference in average between spin and pace in 2018 Womens World T20. In none of the previous five editions was the difference less than two. Likewise, the difference in strike-rate reads 0.6 – first time ever it is below one. There was little to choose between spin and pace, a first in the tournaments short history.
194/5 by India against New Zealand in the opening game in Providence is the highest team total in the history of the tournament. The previous record was 191/4 by Australia against Ireland in Sylhet in 2014. West Indies 187/5 against Sri Lanka in St Lucia sits in the third place.
46 by Bangladesh against the hosts Windies on the opening day of the tournament in Providence happens to be the lowest team total in Womens World T20. The entire innings lasted 14.4 balls which makes it the shortest completed innings in Womens World T20. The previous lowest total was Bangladeshs 58/9 in 20 overs against England in Sylhet in 2014 World T20.
225 – Runs scored by Alyssa Healy – the highest in World T20 2018. Overall it is the fourth-highest in a single edition of the tournament and the highest tally for a wicketkeeper in a season.
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103 by Harmanpreet Kaur is the third century in Womens World T20 after Meg Lannings 126 against Ireland in Sylhet in 2014 and Deandra Dottins unbeaten 112 against South Africa in Basseterre in 2010. It is also the first three-figure score for India in the shortest format.
21 – Balls taken by Australias Alyssa Healy and New Zealands Sophie Devine to reach their respective fifties against Ireland – the fastest in tournaments history. Both the knocks came at the Providence Stadium. There has been only one quicker fifty in Womens T20I history – off 18 balls by Devine against India in Bengaluru in 2005.
3- Bowlers taking ten or more wickets in World T20 2018 – Dottin and the Australian duo of Ashleigh Gardner and Megan Schutt. There have been only three previous instances of bowlers taking ten or more wickets in a season in the history of the tournament – 11 by Julie Hunter in 2012, 13 by Anya Shrubsole in 2014 and ten by Natalie Sciver in the same season.
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5/5 by Deandra Dottin are the best bowling figures in Womens World T20 bettering South Africas Sune Luus 5/8 against Ireland in Chennai in 2016. Indias Priyanka Roy (5/16 vs Pakistan) in Taunton in 2009 and Australias Julie Hunter (5/22 vs West Indies) in Colombo RPS in 2012 are the others to take five-fers in the previous seasons of the tournament.