ENGLAND 228/7 ( Sciver 51 Goswami 3-23)
INDIA 219 (Raut 86 Shrubsole 6-46)
Anya Shrubsole produced a match winning spell of bowling to help see the host nation England becoming the 2017 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Champions for the fourth time in history this past weekend at Lord’s.
In a match that had everything from good bowling, good batting, run-outs, dropped catches and even the weather playing a minor part to play too – all in all it proved to be one of the most memorable World Cup Finals in history.
It was a month ago to the day, that saw the two sides meeting again after they opened the tournament at Derbyshire’s County Ground and saw on that occasion India coming out on top by 35 runs. Since then, however, it had seen India losing two group games to South Africa and Australia, before thrashing New Zealand and shocking the World Champions in Australia in the Semi’s to make their way to the final.
For England, it saw them using the defeat as motivation for the rest of the tournament and after defeating Australia in Bristol, and in what was the turning point of their World Cup, it saw them making a home final again win a tight victory over South Africa in the Semi finals.
With a sell-out crowd at the ‘Home of Cricket’ – It saw a final that was befitting what had been a terrific tournament over the last month. England’s openers got off to a steady start to open the final, as the pair moved the score along until Lauren Winfield was bowled around her legs by Rajeshwari Gayakwad for 24, as the Yorkshire Diamond player attempted a sweep shot that proved unfruitful.
One thing that has been something of a familiar trend during this World Cup for England, has been the ‘domino effect’ of the top-order batsmen getting out cheaply in the matches and that trend continued on. With Winfield going cheaply, it saw Tammy Beaumont following shortly after with an attempted slog off a high full-toss off by Poonam Yadav and have Jhulan Goswami taking the catch to dismiss the opener for 23 and have the hosts 60-2.
England seemed to be set in their ways or convinced that trying to play the sweep shot from the Indian spinners was the best way to go, but sadly it was the way to go if you wanted to get out. England’s Captain Heather Knight tried to sweep and was given out on 1 after it was reviewed for an lbw, that wicket saw the hosts 63-3 and starting to look shaky after their good start.
Sarah Taylor and Natalie Sciver then started to kick on for the home side and began to build a total for the England Innings, as the took the score past a hundred and looked in good nick. Just as Taylor and Sciver were looking comfortable for the hosts it saw things then begin to change after Sarah Taylor tickled a ball down leg side and into the gloves of wicketkeeper Sushma Verma and have the England batter departing short of her fifty – and have India claiming their fourth wicket.
Fran Wilson faced one ball before she headed right back to the dugout as Goswami picked up her second wicket and was on a hat-trick too. With the Indian’s not having looked dangerous or remotely threatening in attack, it saw the wicket of Taylor turning the game their way looked to keep the pressure on their opponents. England was then heading into real danger of posting a very low total when Natalie Sciver went for 51 trapped lbw, and with the hosts 164-5, the game had really swung in the Indians favour.
When Jenny Gunn came out to join Katherine Brunt in the middle, it saw the two Yorkshire players trying to generate a good total for their opponents to chase but they were finding it hard to reach the boundary and pick up and big runs. Things got even harder for hosts when Brunt was run-out by a direct hit from Deepti Sharma’s thrown at the stumps and that seemed to be perhaps the body blow to England’s World Cup chances.
With five overs remaining and a new batsman at the crease in Laura Marsh joining Jenny Gunn, England went on the attack and tried to bolster their total and have Marsh scoring 14 from 11 balls and Gunn finishing up on 25 not out as well, with the two of them putting up a fight late and giving England hope of claiming glory.
India in reply was set 229 for victory from their 50 overs, and with the pitch playing as slow as it was unusually at Lord’s, it seemed to play right into the hands of the Indian side for their run chase. England made an early breakthrough through the bowling of Anya Shrubsole as she bowled one that found the gate and sent Mandhana packing for a duck to give the hosts a great start.
Much like England in their Innings, India didn’t seem to be in much trouble from the bowling attack at all and was slowly going along to their task comfortably. That was till the England picked up the huge wicket of talented batsman Mithali Raj, as after some brilliant fielding by Nat Sciver saw her picking up and throwing to Sarah Taylor who then whipped the bails off, it needed the third umpire to check if she made her ground.
The replay shown Raj for some unknown reason didn’t even bother to attempt in stretching for the line and that saw subsequently run out for 17 and hand England a massive boost in the India’s Innings. India quickly steadied the ship with opener Punam Raut and Harmanpreet Kaur, with both putting on 95 for the third wicket stand before Kaur then attempted a slog sweep that went only as far as Beaumont off the bowling of Alex Hartley to have the Indian’s 138-3.
From that point onwards in the game, it saw the Indian side beginning to chase down the target that they were set and leave the England bowlers and players chasing shadows as their opponents ate into the target. Raut was scoring for fun and had Veda Krishnamurthy supporting her too, with the duo looking aggressive and have the England side on the rack and more importantly than that, ahead of the run rate.
As the runs began to dwindle down in India’s favour, it saw a light shower starting fall and with ‘Duckworth and Lewis’ possibly being needed, it saw the home fans watching the game getting out of reach and having everything going the way of the side wearing light blue.
With India requiring 38 runs off 44 balls to win the World Cup, it saw England needing a wicket more than ever and not only that, but a hero needed too. Step forward England’s Anya Shrubsole as that hero. Shrubsole came back into the bowling attack and picked up the big wicket of Raut trapped LBW for 86 and that wicket seemed to spark the home sides bowlers into life, which gave them a huge boost going into the final few overs.
Alex Hartley then bowled Sushma Verma out for no-score in the next over to give England a glimmer of hope, and so when Shrubsole got Krishnamurthy and Goswmani out in the same over to leave India 201-7 with 28 from 31, this World Cup Final was back on.
This final had been turned completely on its head by Shrubsole’s bowling, so with the game on a knife-edge and having two sides not giving up, it made sure that this was going all the way down to the wire and made for a thrilling finale. Deepti Sharma and Shikha Pandey were the two batsmen for India that in truth, needed to finish the job off for them as the game was getting tighter and fingernails were being chewed too.
With singles being collected by the batting side and seeing them needing just 11 more runs from 16 balls for victory, it was still looking like it was Indian’s to lose. Shrubsole seemed to have the Midas touch late on in the contest, as after a push shot by Pandey saw the England player picking up and throwing to Taylor being the stumps, it saw Pandey being run out for 4 and make England now slight favours as we went on.
India just couldn’t find any gaps in the field in which to pick up runs from, and so when Sharma lofted her shot off a Shrubsole delivery it allowed Sciver to make the catch and leave England one wicket away from clinching the World Cup. Two balls later should have sealed victory the home side, after Poonam Yadav tried to use power and got her shot selection horribly wrong and yet somehow Jenny Gunn dropped an absolute dolly of a catch.
That could have been a huge moment in the game if India could find a hole in the English sides defences, as it was, Anya Shrubsole made sure that the dropped chance would prove little more than a bit of late drama to proceedings and see her clipping Gayakward’s off stump to see England crowned once more as World Cup Champions for the first time in eight-year.
Victory on home soil was made even sweeter by the fact that they avenged their only loss in the tournament to the side that inflicted it upon them on the opening day of the World Cup and so brought closure in a sense with the victory. There was more success for England though, as Surrey Stars player Tammy Beaumont scooped the Player of the Tournament award – after the opening batsman top scored with 410 runs during the tournament.
Glory for England was tinged with a bit of sadness too though, as earlier this year former England captain Rachel Heyhoe-Flint passed away at the turn of the year and if not for her then none of this would have been possible at all – as it was English Cricketing legend who pushed through for a Women’s Cricket World Cup to happen and took two years for the Inaugural tournament to take place in England back in 1973.
So this win was a fitting way for someone who helped bring the tournament back to these shores when nobody wanted to host it, but to have her home Country hosting what has been without a doubt the greatest Women’s World Cup tournament ever held – winning it has just been the cherry on top.
Another brilliant observation around the grounds has been the site of young girls playing the game and will hopefully see an influx of girls wanting to take the game up and that image has been on of the biggest legacies taken from these 2017 World Cup tournament, without a shadow of a doubt.
Taken from Cricbuzz.com