The England women’s team won their fourth World cup title defeating India by 9 runs in the final at Lord’s. India at one stage looking to swiftly glide towards a comfortable chase finally choked down a few runs short of the target. England pulled out a winner out of thin air from where India was 191-3 was pulled down to 219 all out. Anya Shrubsole was the star of the English bowling attack grabbing 5 crucial wickets to clean up the Indian chase.
Winning the toss, England decided to put up a total on the board. Starting well they summed a 47-run partnership for the 1st wicket. Then in a fury, India bounced back and took 3 wickets on the trot to break the English top order. Captain Knight was sent back for just one run. Sciver and Taylor then stabilized the innings accumulating 83 for the 4th wicket. Jhulan here came to the rescue of India as she sent both of them packing one after other in a short while. Being 6 down for 164, England looked to in deep trouble and India was all in charge. But some death overs strikes from Brunt and Gunn helped the English team to 228 in their 50 overs.
Considering the Lord’s pitch and a World Cup final match, this total was not being considered as enough to defend by the experts. But when it comes to a pressure situation, no one can predict the future. England had shown some exceptional batting performances all through the tournament even against strong sides like South Africa and Australia. This was being considered as a below average score compared to likes of England. Their batting department had been their strong hand in the tournament but it failed to establish its supremacy on the final day.
Nonetheless, they had another 50 overs to try and defend the score. Surely, they started well by claiming Mandhana for a duck in the 2nd over after she looked clumsy with her footwork on a low bounce pitch. Unable to adapt to the conditions, she missed a straight delivery on to her stumps. Out came Ms. Dependable for India, Mithali Raj. When both Mithali and Punam were looking to be well set on the pitch, the former was sent back in a run out mishap. India was then looking in all sorts of problems being two down for 42. But the hero from the last match, Harmanpreet along with Punam did not give the chase, they built a healthy 95-run partnership for the 3rd wicket with Harmanpreet being the larger contributor.
She was caught at deep backward square attempting a maximum over the square boundary at the score of 51. Punam then paired with Veda Krishnamurthy and was cruising towards the Indian victory till Punam was struck lbw by Shrubsole. This was probably the biggest turn around in the game. Requiring just 38 off 43 at that stage with 7 wickets in hand is what any team could have hoped for in the chase. But it all finally resulted in a hasty collapse of the lower middle order and tail-enders. Lack of experience and not having chased totals in the tournament might have been some of the factors that the Indian women could not cope up with.
Shrubsole was adjudged Player of the Match and Tammy Beaumont was awarded the Player of the Series Trophy. It was, however, the closest the Indian women’s team ever came to the World title. Millions of Indian supporters expressed their support through twitter and other social media. This win could have done for Women’s cricket what 1983 did for Men’s cricket in India.
At the end, it’s not about the loss. It’s about how you bounce back.