ICC Women's World Cup final 2017: India go down fighting to England at Lord's, win hearts

FP Sports, Jul, 23 2017

London: There was heartbreak for India as Mithali Raj and Co faltered at the last hurdle in the Women's World Cup 2017, losing by a whisker against England. This was the second time that India finished runner-up in the showpiece event, having lost in the final to Australia in 2005 as well. England won their fourth world title, and while there were contrasting emotions, Sunday's final was a magnificent advertisement for women's cricket in general in India in particular.

It was an anti-climactic result for India since they were well on course for a memorable triumph, sitting pretty at 191 for three in 42.5 before a batting collapse saw them bowled out for 219 in 48.4 overs.

Indian players are dejected after losing a thriller of a final against England in the Women's World Cup. AFP

Indian players are dejected after losing a thriller of a final against England in the Women's World Cup. AFP

Needing just 38 runs off 43 balls, the Indian lower middle order committed harakiri losing seven wickets for 28 runs in 6.5 overs.

Opener Punam Raut (86) and Harmanpreet Kaur's (51) steady half centuries had set the platform but once they departed it was far from a smooth ride as England's consistent strikes turned it into a cliff-hanger.

Veda Krishnamurthy (35 off 34 balls), Sushma Verma's (0) and Jhulan Goswami (0) were dismissed in space of nine balls.

Krishnamurthy had raised hopes with a cameo but her sloppy shot selection off Anya Shrubsole in the 45th over changed the script as it exposed the tailenders to a pressure situation which they could not cope with.

Nevertheless, the Indian women's team emerged as a force in world cricket with some inpsiring peformances such as Harmanpreet Kaur's fearless strokeplay.

However, it was one last chance for captain Raj and veteran Jhulan to have a world title in their cupboards. India were making their second appearance in a World Cup final. They lost their previous final, against Australia in Centurion, by 98 runs in 2005.

A proven performer for far too long, Jhulan delivered with three wickets in the most widely watched game in the history of women's cricket as India restricted the hosts to 228 for seven.

Smriti Mandhana (0) must have been desperate to break her run-less streak but a four-ball duck ended her campaign in the tournament as Shrubsole crashed through her defence in the second over of the Indian innings.

Raj (17 off 31) and Raut added 38 runs for the second wicket before the captain trudged back to pavilion following a lazy run out. Surprisingly, Raj gave up half way after Raut called her for a run.

India were steady, going little under four an over, but England were fielding well to ensure there were no freebies. Harmanpreet came to the crease with a bag of burden on her shoulder and batted with maturity.

In company of Raut, she kept the scoreboard ticking and twice lofted left-arm sppiner Alex Hartley over the ropes, signalling that things were very much under control.

India reached 100 in the 27th over and Raut rasied her half-century with a single off Shrubsole. Harmanpreet too got to the milestone soon when she glanced Katherine Brunt to fine leg.

With two batswomen going about their business untroubled, India had a firm control over the proceedings. But England got exactly what India did not want to lose at that time: Harmanpreet's wicket.

The Moga girl swept Hartley straight to Tammy Beaumont at deep square leg when even England had not expected a wicket and that too of the most dangerous batter in Indian line-up.

She did not set the field on fire like the way she batted against Australia but it was a significant knock, although it did not prove to be enough in the end.

Earlier, the coin landed in England's favour at the toss was hardly a deterrent as India went about the task in a professional manner.

Leading the show was the redoubtable Jhulan, who scythed through the English middle-order.

The highlight of the lanky bowler's outing was the back-to-back dismissals of Sarah Taylor and Fran Wilson, which pegged England back.

Taylor is a legend of the women's game and Sciver entered the marquee match on the back of two centuries, and Jhulan had them caught behind and trapped in front of the wicket.

In what could be her last match, Taylor walked off to an ovation from the almost sell-out Lord's crowd after scoring 45 off 62 balls. The veteran English batswoman, surprisingly, could not hit a boundary in her innings.

The in-from Sciver struck 51 off 68 balls, hitting five boundaries in the process, before her recovery act was cut short by Jhulan in the first ball of the 38th over.

A former ICC Player of the Year, Jhulan finished her spell with impressive figures of 3/23 in the allotted 10 overs, which included three maidens.

The end of Jhulan's spell proved to be a boon for England, who rode on Brunt's 42-ball 34 and Jenny Gunn's 25 off 38 balls towards the end to sign off with a respectable total.

After Jhulan, leg-spinner Poonam Yadav was the most impressive bowler, finishing with two 2/36 in her quota of 10 overs.

England were off to a decent start with openers Lauren Winfield (24) and Beaumont (23) putting on 47 runs in a little over 11 overs. Rajeshwari Gayakwad gave the spirited visitors their first breakthrough when she removed Winfield.

Yadav dismissed the other opener and skipper Knight in a span of two overs to leave England in a spot of bother at 63 for three in the 17th over.

Taylor and Sciver steadied the ship with a partnership before spearhead Jhulan returned and removed Sciver.

The hosts then got some useful runs from the willows of Brunt and Gunn.

In spite the narrow loss in the final India's performance made all and sundry proud and that was the mood on Twitter. Here is a collection of tweets:

With PTI inputs.

Published Date: Jul 23, 2017 | Updated Date: Jul 23, 2017



Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 4493 125
2 South Africa 3395 110
3 England 4097 105
4 Australia 3087 100
5 New Zealand 3114 97
Rank Team Points Rating
1 South Africa 5957 119
2 Australia 5505 117
3 India 4579 114
4 England 5645 113
5 New Zealand 5123 111
Rank Team Points Rating
1 New Zealand 1625 125
2 England 1962 123
3 Pakistan 2417 121
4 West Indies 2222 117
5 India 2183 115