Kolkata: The Indian women fell agonizingly short by just nine runs in the end as England went on to clinch their fourth World Cup at the at the iconic Lord’s on Sunday.
For a greater part of the match, it looked like India would easily cruise to a win. England batted first and although opener Lauren Winfield (24) and Tammy Beaumont (23) got the team off to a decent start with a 47-run opening stand, the Indian bowlers removed both the openers in quick succession. Skipper Heather Knight too was dismissed for just a duck and India looked to tighten their grip on the game.
Wicketkeeper batswoman Sarah Taylor (45), Natalie Sciver (51) showed some resistance but the experience of Jhulan Goswami came to India’s rescue as she sent back the both of them and Fran Wilson (0) to stop the hosts from getting a huge total on the board. But cameos from Katherine Brunt (34) and Jenny Gunn (25) took England to 228/7 in their 50 overs.
This total looked achievable for Mithali Raj and co but their run chase did not begin on an ideal note as opener Smriti Mandhana’s poor run with the willow continued after she was bowled for a duck by Anya Shrubsole. But Punam Raut and Mithali Raj tried to get in and settle the innings and just when it looked that the skipper was getting her eye in, an unfortunate run-out resulted in her demise as she fell for 17 runs with only 43 runs on the board.
But Raut held her calm at the other end and took the Indian score forward with singles and doubles, occasionally going for the big shots. She along with the in-form Harmanpreet Kaur steadied the Indian chase and helped India gain control over the match.
The both of them shared a 95-run stand before Harmanpreet was sent back by Alex Hartley for 51 as England sensed a comeback. But Veda Krishnamurthy came out with an aggressive mindset and went after the bowling scoring 35 crucial runs. All was well for India until Punam Raut fell for 86 in the 43rd over.
England knew that they’ve got the big wicket and tightened the screws before Veda’s wicket made things even tougher for Mithali Raj’s team who were chasing their first world cup. The Indian middle and lower middle order showed signs of inexperience as they succumbed to the pressure of the final.
Another run-out in the form of Shikha Pandey (4) helped raise the English hopes of a fourth World Cup title before Deepti Sharma’s run out in the 49th over ensured that the Indians would have to wait for some more time before they can win their maiden World Cup.
Anya Shrubsole was the pick of the bowlers for the hosts with figures of 6/46 but it was Jenny Gunn’s tight bowling that yielded just 17 runs of the seven overs she bowled that slowered down the chase and helped England win the thrilling contest to lift the World Cup.