The performance and example put on by the entire Australian Women’s Cricket Team throughout the entire T20 World Cup sent shivers up the spine, in the best possible way, of the entire nation securing them as the fitting winners of the 2020 The Don Award. The Don Award is judged to be the Australian sportsperson or team who through their performance and example has most inspired the nation.
“…It is a huge honour to receive the Award. There is a lot of history involved with The Don Award and for our team to be recognised in this way is certainly a huge honour and very special.” – Meg Lanning, Australian Women’s Cricket Team Captain
“…that’s one of the things we talk about as a team is making sure we’re inspiring the next generation so to be able to do that on the biggest stage during one of the biggest tournaments we’ve had in women’s cricket was really special for the group and then to have it topped off by winning The Don Award is extremely special and something that we are very humbled by.” – Beth Mooney.
The Australian Team found themselves in a knockout tournament following a surprise defeat at the hands of India in their first match in February at the Sydney Showground Stadium.
The team, led by captain Meg Lanning, put on a solid performance across the rest of the group stage helping to ensure that Australia’s hopes of a fifth title was still on the cards. Progressing to the semi-final, where rain could have seen Australia out without a ball being bowled, the team were able to come out in front securing their spot in the final.
The final was played against Australia’s first match victors, India, in front of a record crowd of 86,174, the largest crowd for a women’s cricket event in the world.
Despite the speedbumps during the semi-final, South Africa’s target being reduced by the DLS method and an injury to allrounder Ellyse Perry, the team rose in the final. They put on a clinical display winning by 85 runs, having made 4 for 184 in their twenty overs before getting India all out for 99 in just over nineteen overs.
The team performance was achieved with Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney doing what they do best with the bat, finishing the top two run makers, 259 and 236 respectively. However, the performance wasn’t limited to just the crease but with the ball as well. Megan Schutt and Jess Jonassen finished in the top three bowlers, Schutt taking the most wickets with 13 and Jonassen equalled second with 10.
The inspiration of the team’s efforts was seen by many including Sir Donald Bradman’s granddaughter, Greta Bradman who said:
“I was there when the team won the T20 World Cup, and it was an emotional day. My grandfather would be so proud of where cricket is today and would be thrilled to know that the whole team is being awarded The Don Award.”
Son of Sir Donald Bradman AC and namesake of The Don Award, John Bradman addressed the entire Australian Women’s Cricket team in October to privately award them with this wonderful recognition.
“…It is such a pleasure to meet you. I have watched you play and enjoyed your cricket played at the very highest calibre and it is truly such a delight to meet you. Not just a delight to watch you play, but I’ve also enjoyed watching the standing of the team rise steadily in the community higher and higher, such that it’s not just a pleasure to meet you, it is an honour to meet you.
…I have the pleasure of announcing the name of the winner of The Don Award for each year. Typically, this takes place on a grand occasion but in this unusual year we are doing this at this particular time (morning, via Zoom). So, it is with very great pleasure that I announce that the winner of The Don Award for 2020 is the Australian Women’s Cricket Team (applause).
I must add to that a personal note of congratulations, this is a very special award and I think it is especially well deserved, so you have my personal very warmest congratulations. I have no doubt that my dad would have been absolutely thrilled with this result, so well done, well done.” – John Bradman.
All pictures credit to Getty Images