LONDON: Anya Shrubsole bowled England to a dramatic nine-run win over India in the Women’s World Cup final at Lord’s on Sunday.
India, set 229 to win, were well on course for victory at 191 for three in front of a full hose of more than 26,000.
But the dismissal of opener Punam Raut, who made a fine 86, lbw to Shrubsole, sparked a stunning collapse.
Shrubsole took five wickets for 11 runs in 19 deliveries as India, bidding for a first World Cup title on the ground where their men’s side won an inaugural World Cup crown in 1983, slumped to 219 all out with eight balls left.
Pace bowler Shrubsole finished with record-breaking figures of six for 46 in 9.4 overs — the first five-wicket haul by any bowler in a Women’s World Cup final.
Victory gave England a fourth World Cup title and third on home soil, as they gained revenge for their opening group stage loss to India.
– ‘Never give up’ –
“I’m a little bit lost for words, if I’m honest,” Shrubsole told Sky Sports.
“It was just an unbelievable game, we looked for a minute like we were out of it, but one of the great things about this team, we never give up.
“We knew if we got a couple we’d be right in the game and all was well in the end.”
England captain Heather Knight added: “I can’t stop smiling. I am so proud of this group of girls. We made it hard for ourselves but I couldn’t care less.”
Her side had a major rethink under coach Mark Robinson after themselves suffering a batting slump when they lost a Women’s World Twenty20 semi-final to Australia in India last year.
“Back in Delhi was a long time ago but it was the making of this team,” said Knight.
“Anya Shrubsole — what a hero.”
India captain Mithali Raj admitted her side had “panicked” towards the finish.
“Credit to them. They kept their nerve. There was a time when the match was in the balance. We panicked and they came out victorious.
“I would like to tell the girls I am very proud of them. They didn’t make any match look easy for the opposition.”
India suffered an early setback in their chase when Smriti Mandhana — who made 90 in their tournament-opening win over England — was bowled for a duck by Shrubsole.
Meanwhile Raj, in what was, together with fellow 34-year-old Jhulan Goswami, likely to be her last chance to win a World Cup after being on the losing side in 2005, was in good touch.
But the all-time leading run-scorer in women’s one-day internationals, effectively ran herself out for just 17.
Her exit brought in the big-hitting Harmanpreet Kaur, whose stunning 171 not out had set up India’s semi-final win over reigning champions Australia.
Kaur lofted and swept left-arm spinner Alex Hartley for two huge sixes.
Raut went to fifty in 78 balls and Kaur got there in 80 balls.
But the duo was separated when Kaur swept Harley straight to Tammy Beaumont at deep backward square to end a stand of 95.
Sarah Taylor, arguably the best wicket-keeper in the women’s game, then missed a chance to stump Raut, on 65.
Another chance went begging when Veda Krishnamurthy (10) was dropped by Knight at extra cover.
Krishnamurthy raised a fifty stand with Raut off just 54 balls with two successive fours off Shrubsole.
Raut’s fine innings ended when she was lbw to Shrubsole, having faced 115 balls including four fours and a six.
India’s target was soon under a run-a-ball but that did not matter as Shrubsole bowled England to victory.
Krishnamurthy holed out for 35 and Goswami was yorked by Shrubsole for a duck.
Shrusbole, after Jenny Gunn had dropped a simple catch, ended the match by bowling Rajeshwari Gayakwad for a duck.
Earlier pace bowler Goswami took three for 23 in 10 overs as India held England to 228 for seven.
Goswami’s haul, which saw her take two wickets in two balls, included the dismissals of Taylor (45) and top-scorer Nat Sciver (51).
But England’s tail, with Katherine Brunt making 34, took them past 200 and those runs proved vital in the end.