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Welcome to Healy’s Day

Healy australia cwc22 final

Moments before Alyssa Healy could shine, Brunt and Shrubsole were right on the money. They had Healy try harder. There were hooos and haaas, and Brunt went ‘why?!’ when she had both Healy and Haynes beaten in consecutive overs.

As the ball went past the edge of Haynes, Healy had a broad grin at the other end. She was enjoying the challenge before she would unleash herself. Healy loves challenges. She loves to be at the top of it. Going by her records, it’s easy to tell that she loves to fight in the finals… let’s just say the knockout matches. An outstanding knock in the semi-final and a couple of days later, in a different venue, in a different atmosphere, Healy was once again ready and was all set to be at the top.

Perhaps, she was waiting for the stadium to fill in, which ultimately did. The noise in the crowd got bigger with every shot she played. The current cheer outdid the previous one, and it looked like a little contest between the crowd and her. Healy giggled with every reply she had from the crowd, and she ended up putting up a show for them that they would never forget.

Not as close to what Melbourne had, but for a neutral watch, Christchurch did not disappoint but delivered. Healy soon returned the favour, one boundary at a time. Sometimes, it was at the same corner through the same stroke.

Perhaps the lowest moment of that innings was when Nat Sciver dived and dropped one off Cross. It could’ve gone either way, and the fortune chose to take Healy’s side.

It was nothing new. Fortune goes her way sometimes, and sometimes, it ends things abruptly. That’s how Healy plays. There is freedom and clarity in what she needs to do. When that catch went down, Healy continued to chuckle, and there was zero fear or any sort of pressure. As time advanced, her timing became better. When her power met exquisite timing, England became the closest spectator for everything Healy was doing. She was conducting an orchestra and was making the ball groove to her instructions.

When she raised the bat for the first time, Haynes was already there and welcomed Healy with a handshake and a laugh. Later, she was replaced by Mooney. On the other end, Healy continued to find the gap.

Finding gaps was not something 2017 Healy would often do. She was a good player but not good enough to be on par with other Australian batters in that team. She couldn’t do justice to her talent and couldn’t be that middle-order batter which Australia wanted her to be.

When Australia’s reinvention began post-2017 World Cup, Healy’s move from the middle order to open the innings was the 1st masterclass among the series of changes that Australia pulled off in these five long years. A move to the top means, she needed to work on her game and add a few new weapons.

Five years later, Healy became that 360 degrees player who had numerous shots for the same type of delivery. While Healy’s go-to pull appeared here and there, Cover drive and lofted cover drive fetched her more runs today. In fact, she smashed two consecutive deliveries at the same area and made one wonder if it was a replay.

As Healy walked past that century, she sent everyone in search of new superlatives; England in search of the new script. England kept digging for an error that never came and looked out for weakness that was never there. Healy ruthlessly manipulated the field as ramp shots and sweeps came in handy. Every time there was a boundary, the cameras had a zoom on her husband Mitchell Starc who was beaming with pride.

As she lifted her bat for the third time today, England’s World Cup dream slowly began to vanish right before them. Healy took all the blues and painted the room yellow. It began to shine just like her never-ending grin which only became bigger and bigger. Even when she was having trouble with her back, she was laughing about it in the middle with Mooney.

Alyssa Healy of Australia gets a standing ovation from her team mates as shel eaves the field during the 2022 ICC Women's Cricket World Cup Final...

188 minutes later, a misread led to her dismissal as Amy Jones completed a stunning stumping to send her off. The reinvention and the road map for this World Cup that began right after the famous 171* ended with 170.

As she walked back, handshakes followed, and the Hagley Oval stood up and applauded. They enjoyed the show. This isn’t something we get to witness every day, and it is going to take a while to do what Healy did there.

Images-  Hannah Peters / Getty

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