Today we talk about 1997 Womens Cricket World Cup. By 1997, Women’s Cricket had evolved into a much-balanced format and had come to parity with the standard of the game set by men’s cricket. The matches were played on more competitive and sporting wickets where the pitches offered an equal amount of turn, bounce, and seam with the batsmen getting the opportunity to tonk the ball out of the park and skillful bowlers getting the opportunity to pick up wickets at regular intervals.
This edition of the World Cup was hosted by India and was renamed as the Hero Honda World Cup 1997. Following are a few interesting facts about the 1997 Womens Cricket World Cup-
- The 1997 Womens Cricket World Cup was hosted by India and the spectacular landscape of India provided a beautiful option for the players. Moreover, the passion that the Indian fans have for the sport was evident from the fact that the matches were played in jam-packed stadiums with crowds filling the seats.
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- 11 teams in total participated in the 1997 Womens Cricket World Cup. This in itself was a participation record with the highest number of teams participating in the Women’s Cricket Tournament. Four teams- Australia, New Zealand, India, and England qualified to the semi-finals from where Australia and New Zealand emerged as the finalists and Australia became the eventual champions.
- Many new records were set during the 1997 Womens Cricket World Cup with players from the top cricketing nations leaving their mark in the tournament. The highest total posted during the tournament was 412/3 by Australia. Debbie Hockley from New Zealand was the highest run-scorer in the tournament with 456 runs.
- The highest score in the 1997 Womens Cricket World Cup was 229* by Belinda Clark of Australia. She also had the highest batting average in the tournament of a staggering 148.33. It became a milestone of Belinda’s career and went a long way in making her one of the greatest Australian Women’s cricketers of all time and one of the greatest captains to have played Women’s Cricket as well.
- Debbie Hockley, the highest run-scorer in the 1997 Womens Cricket World Cup, had the most number of individual hundreds in the World Cup with 2. She also had the same number of half-centuries in the tournament.
- The ominous record of scoring the most number of ducks in the 1997 Womens Cricket World Cup went to Sri Lankan Women Cricketer Thanuga Ekanayake with 3.
- Katrina Keenan of New Zealand had the highest number of wickets with 13 while Indian Purnima Chowdhury had the best bowling figures in the tournament of 5/21.
- Sangita Dabir of India had the most miserly economy rate in the tournament with 1.5 while Jodi Dannatt of Australia had the best bowling average of 7.25.
- The highest partnership record was held by Jan Brittin and Barbara Daniels of England with 203.
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- The final match of the 1997 Womens Cricket World Cup was played at the Iconic Eden Gardens in Calcutta. 80,000 spectators had gathered to watch the match between the two best teams in the competition- Australia and New Zealand. This showed the love for cricket and the passion which the Indian fans possessed who had thronged the stadium in numbers to watch two teams who were not even their home teams.
- New Zealand won the toss and opted to bat first. They scored 164 in 49.3 overs as Australia kept chipping away with wickets at crucial junctures. Debbie Hockley the highest run-scorer in the tournament scored the highest runs in the New Zealand innings as well as anchored the entire innings with a well-made and patient 79 off 121 balls. Australia chased down the target with 2.2 overs remaining and five wickets intact. Belinda Clark was the highest run-scorer with a 52 from 81 balls. In the process, Australia became 4-time world champions.
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