The final of the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 was played between hosts England and India at Lord’s on Sunday in front of a sell-out crowd. Just when India were cruising towards the finish line, England got back into the game to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. They beat India in a nerve wrecking(even ‘nerve wrecking’ can’t explain the emotions this match made everyone go through) contest by just 9 runs to clinch their fourth World Cup title, much to the joy of the English spectators in the crowd.
When Jenny Gunn one of the best fielders in this England side dropped a sitter which also happened to be India’s last wicket, for a second it felt like she dropped the World Cup; earlier Sarah Taylor missed out on a tough stumping chance and captain Heather Knight dropped a rather easier catch by her standards.They say catches win matches, England dropped two of those, yet in the most dramatic of finals ever witnessed in the longest of times, pulled off a miraculous victory; a victory which was never there for the taking until the last ball of the forty-third over was bowled. India were in cruise control mode when opener Punam Raut (top scorer of the match with 86 off 115) and Veda Krishnamurthy were batting, these two stitched an almost run a ball fourth wicket partnership of 53 before Raut missed out on a length ball from Shrubsole, she was declared leg before wicket, India were 191 for 4 and required another 38 runs from 46 balls. Earlier, Harmanpreet Kaur, the supergirl from the semi-final scored a steady 51 before losing her wicket to Hartley and before that captain fantastic Mithali Raj, likely playing her last World Cup, got run-out for 17 (oh Mithali, if only you had dived). Speaking of last World Cup, veteran bowler Jhulan Goswami produced a spell of a lifetime, taking 3 for 23 to help restrict the mighty England batting to a meager total of 228. If someone had asked Mithali at the start of the match if she’d take 228, surely she would’ve said yes. England batting faltered, just like it did against South Africa in the first semi-final: Sciver (51) and Taylor (45) almost rescued them in the middle overs, but gave their wickets away just when they looked set to launch. Brunt, Gunn and Marsh scored 34, 25* and 14* respectively to ensure England had a half decent total to defend.
38 runs from 46 balls with six wickets in hand, you’d not want to bet against the batting side but then funnier things have happened in this stupid old game of cricket. The final which before the forty-third over looked one sided and boring all of a sudden came to life and how, what were the odds?! Anya Shrubsole bowled a mind boggling spell, a spell which will be forever etched in our memories, she took five wickets from nineteen balls and conceded only eleven runs to change the course of the match and help England clinch a famous victory. India went from 191/3 to being bowled out for 219. They lost 7 for 28 in 35 deliveries; a dream that had almost turned into reality was shattered in those 35 deliveries.
India should be proud of what they’ve achieved in this World Cup. Their side never gave up and kept on playing like champions throughout the tournament. England clinched their fourth World Cup title, their third in home conditions. (Their men’s team can surely take a lesson or two from the ladies to find inspiration to win their first ODI World Cup)
England v India ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 Full Match Highlights
Nat Sciver who had already scored 318 runs and taken 7 wickets in the tournament before this match, continued to shine. Her fifty might not have been one of the quickest but in the context of the match; this was a mature and steady knock to help her team consolidate in the middle overs. Sciver also hit five fours. The only thing missing from this innings was a Nat-Meg.
‘Anya Shrubsole’, you would want to delete this name from your memory if you’re an Indian. This woman changed the course of the match in the last 19 deliveries bowled by her; she took five wickets, gave away no more than eleven runs and robbed India of their victory. Before these 19 deliveries, she had only taken wicket and conceded 35 runs. Shrubsole's match winning performance with a doubt earned her the player of the match award as well.
Anya Shrubsole castles Smriti Mandhana for a duck
Punam Raut is dismissed by Anya Shrubsole for 86
Veda Krishnamurthy and Jhulan Goswami fall in quick succession to Anya Shrubsole
India lost its last three wickets in a cluster to fall nine runs short