The Indian women’s cricket team caved in under pressure to lose the ICC Women’s World Cup final by nine runs after a batting collapse at the Lord’s on Sunday.
eteran pace spearhead Jhulan Goswami had struck three blows to restrict England to 228 for seven after the hosts elected to bat and opener Punam Raut (86) and semifinal star Harmanpreet Kaur (51) had edged India closer to victory. (IND v ENG SCORECARD)
However, Harmanpreet holed out to the deep and Punam was trapped leg-before before panic saw Indian batsmen fall to a spate of cross-batted and mistimed shots.
England seamer Anya Shrubsole emerged the leader for the hosts, capturing six wickets for 46 as India were dismissed for 219 in 48.3 overs to suffer a second heartbreak. India had lost to Australia in their first World Cup final in 2005.
India, who upstaged Australia in the semifinals, seemed to have done enough to chase down the target without much ado. Although Smriti Mandhana fell early and then skipper Mithali Raj was run out, Punam and Harmanpreet overcame a dry spell to steadily score runs.
Harmanpreet, the toast of India after her sensational 171 not out in the win over Australia, once again weighed in with the bat. However, she could not see off the chase, caught at deep backward squareleg playing her favourite shot to the leg.
Harmanpreet hit three fours and two sixes. Punam, who suffered cramp, looked set for her second century of the tournament, and a likely one in a winning cause, when Shrubsole trapped her leg before to trigger the collapse.
From 191 for three, India lost their last seven wickets for 28 runs as the England players, who had missed a stumping and dropped a catch earlier under pressure, tightened their grip to complete a hat-trick of title victories at home, and their fourth overall.
The Indian women’s cricket team missed 12 years ago. They were far more assured, but could not keep their nerves once England broke the crucial partnership between Punam and Harmanpreet.
India at one late stage needed just 38 runs in 43 balls, but were still unable to focus and get the job done as they put themselves under pressure.
England’s modest total was possible thanks to Natalie Sciver’s 51 and wicketkeeper Sarah Taylor’s 45. Indian spinners kept a tight leash on the scoring with leg-spinner Poonam Yadav complementing Jhulan Goswami’s 3/23 by claiming 2/36.