In Review

Women's cricket hits new heights as England win World Cup

Anya Shrubsole is the hero at a packed Lord's as the home team beat India in a thrilling contest

England won the Women's Cricket World Cup in the most dramatic of circumstances in front of a packed Lord's as India collapsed from 191-3 to 218 all out while chasing 229 to win.

The architect of India's downfall was Anya Shrubsole, who won the match for England with an incredible spell of five wickets for 11 runs in 19 balls to finish the match with figures of 6-46.

The home side seemed done for as India marched towards their target, but Shrubsole had other ideas as she instigated a collapse that earned England their fourth World Cup triumph.

"It was a thrilling, almost unbelievable finish: down to the wire, with the lights on, the rain falling steadily, India visibly tightening under the pressure of a run chase of which they had for so long appeared in control, and the crowd gripped by it all, frenzied in their support for their respective team," says Michael Atherton of The Times. "The umpires wisely kept the players out in deteriorating conditions, and one by one India's batsmen came and went, picked off by a combination of Anya Shrubsole's unerring accuracy and their own shortcomings."

India were poised at 191-3 in the 43rd over, needing just 38 more runs to win, when the Somerset bowler "tinkered with fate", says Vic Marks of The Guardian.

"The dismissal of Poonam Raut, who had batted with such polish and poise for her 86, prompted the first signs of panic among the chasers. Then there was a certain magic about every Shrubsole delivery, partly because just about all of them had that special quality; they were straight."

The match will go down as one of the "great Lord's finals" says Marks, while Atherton says it provided "confirmation of the strides the women's game has made, and justification of the investment the authorities have made in transforming what was an amateur and often derided format into something professional - in the best sense of the word - and admired".

The last time the Women's World Cup was held in England was in 1993, recalls Jonathan Liew of the Daily Telegraph

"The players were still wearing skirts. Women were still banned from the Lord’s pavilion. The tournament almost fell through due to a lack of finance. In the final, Karen Smithies's England scored 195 off 60 overs, and won at a canter in front of a largely empty Lord's. The whole thing was forgotten about within hours.

"Now England were lifting the World Cup trophy in front of a capacity Lord's crowd, in a match being televised around the world, in a tournament with prize money of £1.5m, with the logos of blue-chip sponsors plastered all over the ground. Women's cricket has been on an epic journey, and perhaps the most exciting part is that nobody knows quite how far it still has to travel."

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