In a bright day at Lords, England played hosts to India in the Women’s World Cup final. Three time champions England looked as the favorites on paper. Meanwhile, the Indians were high on confidence after thrashing Australia in the semi-finals. This set up a high octane final showdown between the two teams for the coveted title. After a pulsating finish, India just fell short by just 9 runs and England win the World Cup.
The England Innings
England won an important toss and elected to bat first. They got off to a good start in the first ten overs without losing a wicket. However, three quick wickets pushed them on the backfoot. Poonam Yadav grabbed the scalps of the big fish Tammy Beaumont and skipper Heather Knight.
Following a short spell of consolidation by the English batswomen, veteran bowler Jhulan Goswami dealt a double blow to the hosts. Sarah Taylor and Fran Wilson fell of consecutive deliveries in the 33rd over. Goswami struck again in the 38th over to reduce England to 168/6 in 40 overs. She finished with figures of 3/23 off 10 overs.
However, England fared well in the last 10 overs of the match. They managed to score 60 runs to end at a decent score of 228/7 off their full quota of 50 overs. Natalie Scriver shone for England with a classy 50. Katherine Brunt(34) and wicketkeeper Sarah Taylor(45) too chipped in with important contributions.
India got off to the worst possible start as opener Smriti Mandhana fell to Shrubsole in the 2nd over for a duck. Thereafter, skipper Mithali Raj steadied the ship with Punam Raut for 10 overs before succumbing to a horrible mix-up between the two. Next up, it was last match’s hero Harmanpreet Kaur to the crease and she didn’t disappoint.
Harmanpreet stood ground with Punam and both of them steadied the ship with a solid partnership of 95 runs. Just when it looked as if India would run away with the match, Alex Hartley removed Kaur for a well compiled 51. The match was precariously positioned with India needing 91 off 99 deliveries at this stage.
All looked cozy for India even after Harmanpreet’s departure with the fiery strokeplay of Veda Krishnamurthy. However, the resilient English women struck back with 4 quick wickets to send the match back into a tailspin. This included the crucial wickets of Punam Raut and Veda Krishnamurthy. India needed 28 runs to win off the last 5 overs.
However, 19 year old Deepti Sharma held her nerve almost till the end until she fell with the target firmly in sight. After loads of harakiri in the end, England held their nerve to capture their 4th World Cup title. India can be proud of their effort in this tournament but this match was firmly in their grasp until they let it slip!