Charlotte Edwards, England's disappointed captain, said Australia were deserved winners after her team were comprehensively outplayed in the Women's World T20 final. England struggled to a score of 105 for 8 in their 20 overs, finishing the tournament without having hit a single six, but Edwards said their deficiencies in the final went further than not being able to clear the ropes.
Edwards was one of four batsmen in England's top six to score at less than a run a ball and her opening partnership of 23 in 5.4 overs with Sarah Taylor established the innings' damagingly slow tempo. Australia chased the target down with almost five overs to spare, their greater power the most obvious facet of an overwhelming win, and Edwards said the batting as a whole had been a let-down.
"It's not been a problem in the past. We've won a lot of Twenty20 games, been the most successful Twenty20 side in the world and not hit a lot of sixes," she said. "This tournament, we've not hit as many as we'd like, but also we haven't hit as many boundaries as we'd like today as well. It's something we're going to have to work on when we get home but I don't think that's the reason we lost this World Cup final, I think purely they bowled better than us and we weren't up to scratch with the bat."
With the advent of professionalism in the England women's game, Edwards admitted specific training and talent identification may be required in future. "I think it's something our coaches will look at now. We haven't hit a six in the tournament and it's something we're going to have to improve on. The other teams have much more of a power aspect to their games. It will be something to address when we get home."
England have now lost two consecutive World T20 finals to Australia in different but similarly demoralising ways, as well as being defeated in a crucial World Cup match last year. Despite England twice winning points-based Ashes series over the last eight months, Australia's grip in global limited-overs competitions seems increasingly tight - they hold the 50-over title to go with three consecutive 20-over victories - but Edwards didn't want to over-analyse another painful loss.
"We came in today really confident, we've won the last two Ashes series, played really well against them," she said. "We had a young side today, we just didn't play well enough, I'm not going to look too deep into it, it's T20 cricket, you haven't got a chance to rebuild like a Test match or one-dayer. We just weren't good enough."
Meg Lanning, Australia's captain, took charge for the limited-overs leg of England's Ashes tour earlier this year, winning the ODIs and T20s 2-1, and her belligerent 44 sealed the title at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium. "We know they've got a real threat with the bat," Edwards said. "I thought Meg played exceptionally well but when you're chasing 105 you can come out and play like that; 105 is never going to win you a World Cup final."
Lanning's masterful display contrasted with that of Edwards, whose 13 was not unplucky but extended a poor record in major finals, having made 28 and 9 in previous World T20 deciders and 10 at the 2009 World Cup. The failure was collective but Edwards did not want to dwell on another defeat to Australia. While England's men came home with a green-and-gold glaze from their Ashes tour, Edwards was in charge of an historic win.
"I'm incredibly proud, I've just said to the players, the way they've conducted themselves over the last six-eight months has been amazing," she said. "To go out to Australia, beat that Australia team in Australia was one of our greatest achievements. We haven't brought the players we'd like here, we've got two or three sat at home. But the girls have been outstanding, the people who have come in have performed well, today was just one of those days where we didn't turn up and Australia did."
Injuries to Katherine Brunt and Laura Marsh depleted England's squad, while Holly Colvin recently stepped away from the game to focus on other careers. Edwards, however, has no plans to relinquish charge of a side that features a core of young players and hopes to extend her international career beyond 20 years at the 2017 World Cup, when she will be 37.
"I'm enjoying my cricket as much as I have done. There's some big World Cups coming up, hopefully 2017 in England, which is something that's really motivating me to play on," she said. "I'm really enjoying it, we've had some young players out here who've really, really improved. So I'm not going to be too downbeat. We've had a brilliant winter, this is a disappointing end to it. Would have been great to win this as well but I'm motivated as ever."