India falter at final hurdle

India falter at final hurdle

Cricket Women's World Cup : Hosts England edge Mithali Raj's side by nine runs to claim their fourth World Cup title

India falter at final hurdle

 The Indian women’s cricket team let slip a historic title triumph with nerves getting the better of it in a tense summit clash against England, leaving Mithali Raj’s giant-slaying side with the runners-up tag for a second time in the ICC World Cup, here on Sunday.

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.

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.

Veda had raised hopes with a cameo but her sloppy shot selection off Anya Shrubsole (6/46) in the 45th over changed the script as it exposed the tailenders to a pressure situation which they could not cope with.

Nevertheless, Indian women 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 Mithali Raj and veteran Jhulan Goswami to have a World title in their cupboards.

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 poor streak but a four-ball duck ended her campaign in the tournament on a low note as Shrubsole crashed through her defence in the second over of the innings.

Mithali Raj (17 off 31) and Punam 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 Punam called her for a run.

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

India reached 100 in the 27th over and Punam rasied her half-century with a single off Shrubsole. Harmanpreet too got to the milestone soon when she glanced Brunt to fine leg. With two batswomen going about their business untroubled, India had a firm control over the proceedings. But England fought back with the scalp of Harmanpreet.

Earlier, the coin landed in the opponents’ favour at the toss but it was hardly a deterrent as India went about the task in a professional manner. Natalie Sciver made 51 while Sarah Taylor scored 45.

score board

ENGLAND

Winfield b Gayakwad    24
Beaumont c Goswami b Poonam    23
Taylor c Sushma b Goswami    45
Knight lbw Poonam    1
Sciver lbw Goswami    51
Wilson lbw Goswami    0
Brunt (run out)    34
Gunn (not out)    25
Marsh (not out)    14
Extras (LB-3, W-7, NB-1)    11
Total (for 7 wkts; 50 overs)    228
Fall of wickets: 1-47, 2-60, 3-63, 4-146, 5-146, 6-164, 7-196.
Bowling: Jhulan 10-3-23-3, Shikha 7-0-53- 0, Rajeshwari 10-1-49-1, Deepti 9-0-39-0, Poonam 10-0-36-2, Harmanpreet 4-0-25-0.

INDIA

Punam lbw Shrubsole    86
Smriti b Shrubsole    0
Mithali (run out)    17
Harmanpreet c B’mont b Hartley    51
Veda c Sciver b Shrubsole    35
Sushma b Hartley    0
Deepti c Sciver b Shrubsole    14
Jhulan b Shrubsole    0
Shikha (run out)    4
Poonam (not out)    1
Rajeshwari b Shrubsole    0
Extras (LB-3, W-7, NB-1)    11 
Total (all out, 48.4 overs)    219
Fall of wickets: 1-5, 2-43, 3-138, 4-191, 5-196, 6-200, 7-201, 8-218, 9-218.
Bowling: Katherine Brunt 6-0-22-0, Anya Shrubsole 9.4-0-46-6, Natalie Sciver 5-1-26-0, Jenny Gunn 7-2-17-0, Laura Marsh 10-1-40-0, Alex Hartley 10-0-58-2, Knight 1-0-7-0.

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