Tony Becca, Contributor
Those who know the Australians know that they are a proud and confident bunch, and that when they are better than you, when they believe they are better than you, they are going to let you know it.
They strut around for you to see, fluffing their feathers like peacocks.
Last Sunday, at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai, they took on the West Indies Women's team in the World Cup final, and when it was all over, they had notched up the highest total in World Cup finals, they had defeated the West Indies by the largest margin of runs in the finals, and they had rattled up two individual scores of over 50 - the most by any team in a World Cup final.
Before that, they had won the Cup five times out of the nine finals, and they had scored seven out of the nine 50s made in the finals, including the only century.
Last Sunday, the Australians, led by Meg Lanning, 31, Rachael Haynes, 51, Jes Cameron, 75 off 76 deliveries, and captain Jodie Fields with an undefeated 36, with pace bowlers Ellysee Perry and Megan Shutt, who cornered them with a little swing, and off-spinners Lisa Sthalekar and Erin Osborne, who stifled them with some flighted and spinning deliveries, won comfortably, by 114 runs and by 41 deliveries.
And, except for a dropped catch or two, they gave a lesson on how to field and on how to take catches.
For me, however, throughout the duration of the match, I experienced a burning sense of pride, not because I did not want the West Indies Women to win, not because I did not pray that the West Indies would win, but because I did not believe that the West Indies would win the match.
Deep down, I knew Australia were better than the West Indies, and I had that itching feeling that they would win.
It is true that Australia did lose to the West Indies a few days before, but as far as I was concerned, that was just one of those things that happen in sports every now and again.
Australia probably got caught up in their own PR exercises and felt they were invincible.
I could not see it happening again, not with a West Indies team which relies on one or two batsmen to make their runs, on one or two bowlers to take enough wickets, and which only occasionally fields beyond the ordinary.
AUSSIE LINE-UP DELIVERED
On top of that, a look at the Australia line-up shows the difference between the two teams.
A look at the Australian line-up shows a team with Lanning, Haynes, Cameron, Alex Blackwell, and Fields good enough to set a good total, and with a few others down the order to add to it, with Perry and Schutt, Sthalekar and Osborne, plus a few others to take a few wickets, and enough players who will bring off a brilliant catch or two.
The batting averages tell the difference between the two teams. Only Stafanie Taylor and Shemiane Campbell match any of the Australians in terms of averages, and only Deandra Dottin, apart from Taylor, has the quality of a batsman.
While the bowling can hold its own, with Taylor averaging 17.71, Shanel Daley 19.86, Anissa Mohammad 16.60, and young Shaquanna Quintyne coming in at 19.25 runs per wicket from her off-spin, the batting depends too much on Taylor and is too inconsistent.
With all the weaknesses of the West Indies Women's cricket team and the fact that Australia made 259 for seven in the final and dismissed the West Indies for 145 in 43.1 overs, I enjoyed their performances throughout the tournament, and I enjoyed it because I saw a team that seemed to be working hard to get better, because I saw a team that lost its first match by 105 runs hit back to beat and to win its second by 209 runs, because I saw the team post the highest total of the tournament of 368 for eight, and after losing to England, recovered to beat South Africa, New Zealand, and the mighty Australia to contest the final.
I enjoyed their performances, because I saw a team that went into the tournament as rank outsiders at number five and after losing their opening match by a mile, after they were dismissed for 101 to lose the third, after scraping into the Super-Six round winning one and losing two matches, ended up winning all three matches in the Super-Six round, and finished the tournament only behind the pre-tournament favourites.
Taylor may not be the best batsman in women's cricket, although she finished second with 314 runs, and she may not be with Suzie Bates of New Zealand finishing in first position with 407 runs, not with Charlotte Edwards of England finishing in third position with 292 runs and scoring two centuries, plus Sophie Devine of New Zealand, Mithali Rai of India, and Marijanne Kapp of South Africa around, but I also enjoyed her innings of 171 off 137 deliveries against Sri Lanka from beginning to end.
Taylor's stroke play was beautiful, pleasantly so, and so were the bowling, the beautiful form, of Perry and Sthalekar.
I also enjoyed Dottin's power while she cracked 12 sixes in beating the tournament record.
In terms of skill, the West Indies Women are not, understandably so, close to the West Indies men's team, and in terms of technique, the West Indies men's team are much better than the West Indies women's team, but in India these past few weeks, the West Indies Women's team showed what the West Indies men's team, most of them, have not shown for a long, long time, including in the recent T20 world championships in Sri Lanka.
The West Indies Women's team showed that they are learning, that they want to learn, that they are enjoying every moment of it, and that every dollar is well spent as far as they are concerned.
The West Indies should be proud of them. They have represented the people of the West Indies well, and they deserved every bit of success they enjoyed, Australia or no Australia.
The board also must be proud of them after getting behind them a few years ago. There is always another time, and another World Cup to win, especially as they seemed hungry for more success.