You like me are looking forward when Team India face hosts England in the Women’s World Cup final at Lord’s on Sunday. Since the tournament’s began back in 1973 two years before the men’s World Cup commenced it has been dominated until recently by England and Australia, with New Zealand in the year 2000, the only other country to have won the event.
The final in this year’s edition come full circle on Sunday, with Team India having upset the trend to defeat England by 35 runs in the tournament opener in Derby on June 24.
I do hope the women don’t follow then men and we see a repeat pattern with what happened with Pakistan just last month again in England, still not over that.
“It isn’t going to be easy for England,” expressed India captain Mithali Raj after her side’s exciting semi-final win over six-times champions Australia in Derby on Thursday.
The 36-run victory over the title-holders was built on Harmanpreet Kaur’s foundation 171 not out. There was nothing ‘ladylike’ about the fiercely competitive Kaur’s angry reaction towards batting partner Deepti Sharma after almost being run out on 98.
For Raj and co pace bowler Jhulan Goswami, the leading run-scorer and wicket-taker in women’s one-day international history respectively, this could be the last chance the two 34-year-olds have to win the World Cup. The impact of the day goes far beyond stretches to just their cricket careers. India’s victory back in 1983 men’s World Cup final at Lord’s transformed the country on to limited overs cricket and led the world’s second most populated nation to become the sport’s financial powerhouse.
If India win this Sunday you could have equally far-reaching consequences, as M.Raj expressed . “It’s an opportunity for the Indian team to make it big in India,” M.Raj is appearing in her second World Cup final 12 years after her first.
“Everybody will be glued to the television on Sunday,” she noted while reminiscing India’s 98 run defeat by Australia in the 2005 final at Centurion, South Africa, was simply not even broadcast. If we can pull it off, there will be nothing like it. It will help the future of women’s cricket.” she added
A Positive for Team India of this World Cup is that they have not been over reliant on Raj and Goswami, who however produced the delivery of the tournament to bowl Australia captain Meg Lanning for zero on Thursay’s semi-final. The likes of Smriti Mandhana, Punam Raut and Sharma have also stepped up their game when required.
On another note England however since their opening defeat by Team India, have had the potentially useful experience of winning two close games, defeating Australia by three runs in pool play before knocking out South Africa by just two wickets in a semi final where they found it bit difficult chasing a modest target of 219 in Bristol on Tuesday.
England captain Heather Knight is one of several seasoned campaigners along with bowlers Jenny Gunn and Katherine Brunt. Sarah Taylor, has arguably been the team’s star performer.
“We can take a lot of pride into this game regardless of what’s going to happen,” Taylor said. “We’ve worked really hard to get here and we’ve fought like anything.”
“A year ago I wasn’t even thinking that I could potentially play cricket again, so this is massive,” Taylor said, adding she now relished the prospect of appearing in a final in front of a sold-out crowd of more than 26,000 at ‘the home of cricket’. “You want to play at Lord’s, you want to play in a World Cup final and you want to play in front of a packed house — that’s the situation you want and we’ve got it.”