England vs India: Women’s World Cup Final

Pressure. It’s all about pressure. Some people thrive on it, others don’t. When it came down to it, amid the carnage of a frenetic and ever more panicky run chase, it was Anya Shrubsole who held her nerve, bowled straight and stole a win for England that they had no right to claim. What a time to produce career best ODI bowling figures of 6-46.

England’s total of 228-7 was competitive, just – but better than it looked like it was going to be when they slumped to 164-6 with the dismissal of Natalie Sciver for a well made 51. Jenny Gunn’s coolness with the bat helped England into the final, and here alongside Katherine Brunt she got her team to at least a defendable total, if not one that left anyone with a great deal of certainty that they could do so.

A couple of early wickets were just what was needed and the crazy run out of Mithali Raj probably gave notice of what was to come. Yet India after that point were serene. If Kaur didn’t provide the explosiveness of her semi final innings, she instead batted responsibly and with the outstanding Punam Raut took her side most of the way to victory.

191-3, a required rate well below 6 an over, just 38 needed. In print it looks a doddle but even at the time the tension was there, and the feeling that India weren’t totally confident of getting there prevalent. Perhaps it’s not surprising, reaching the World Cup final was a huge achievement for them and one that will stand women’s cricket in India in good stead for the future, however it feels this evening.

The Indian collapse was extraordinary. Seven wickets for 28 runs in under six overs, and they will unquestionably feel they threw the game away. They weren’t alone in feeling the tension, Jenny Gunn of all people dropped a sitter just before the coup de grace, fielders made errors, and even the third umpire had to adjudicate on the tightest of stumping decisions as the game was in the balance.

Some of the shots played were dire, a reflection of the tenseness of the situation rather than anything else. Anyone who has played will know the feeling of desperation that can afflict a side who aren’t certain of their ability to get over the line. No matter how many times the players might say to each other that knocking the ball about is all that’s needed, it doesn’t happen, and each batter plays the kind of shot that leaves them aghast afterwards, and unable to explain why they did it.

Yet it only happens if the opposition are gutsy enough to stay in a game that they’re losing, that keeps it tight, waiting for the one mistake that lets them back in. Shrubsole gave little away in her final spell, creating the feeling among the batting side that the shackles needed to be broken. Laura Marsh had gone wicketless, but she was the one who started to claw the match back, the necessary precursor to allow her team mate to seize the moment.

It may be thought afterwards that there was a inevitability about the way England won, but Deepti Sharma nearly got her team there, and the manner of her dismissal, having played so calmly, came as something of a surprise. It was the last hope gone.

As for what it means for women’s cricket, this final had more attention than any previous edition, and the sell out crowd at Lords were perhaps more animated than is normally the case. It was a match that deserved a sellout and the reasonable pricing for tickets allowed that to happen, although given the ECB and Lords track record on this, doubtless next time it will be seen as an opportunity to increase them substantially. But it seems a reasonable bet that there will be more demand, and as posted yesterday this had the feel of women’s cricket coming of age.

It was flawed, but it was thrilling. Congratulations to England and for India, it may well just be the start.

Advertisements

28 thoughts on “England vs India: Women’s World Cup Final

  1. Benny July 23, 2017 / 8:08 pm

    You are EW Swanton and I claim my £5. What a superb piece of writing. Depends what you want from cricket but, for me, that game had everything. The best thing is that it felt honest and genuine. No background Flowery interference, no politics, no Directors trying to promote their importance, just a team of chaps/chapesses going out and trying their best – two teams to be fair. In fact, I thought the Aussies and the Saffers had been impressive too.

    As you allude, I suspect the money men will be perking up but that still was an enjoyable cricket experience.

    Can we get Sarah Taylor in the men’s team please?

    Like

  2. Topshelf July 23, 2017 / 9:26 pm

    It was a proper game of cricket, with a proper crowd, presented properly by Sky. It doesn’t get much better. (If only it had been FTA).

    I watched on the sofa with my two sons, who have been to women’s cricket before and loved it, and were cross with me that I couldn’t get tickets. They really don’t see much difference, it’s just cricket to them. More unusually, my wife watched with us, with just as much excitement.

    Anyone who chose not to watch it because it was “just” women’s cricket missed out.

    Like

    • Rooto July 24, 2017 / 6:32 am

      And those of us who couldn’t watch it because we don’t have Sky are annoyed. Perhaps the best news for women’s cricket is that the FTA deal that includes 2 Men’s T20s and 2 Women’s T20s doesn’t appear such a sop* this morning. I look forward to watching the team soon.

      *Not such a sop to equality between the sexes, I mean. It obviously IS a sop to us viewers in terms of FTA coverage.

      Like

    • jomesy July 24, 2017 / 1:33 pm

      I was due to take my girls to lords for first time to watch it but had to travel overseas for work on Saturday, so gutted to have missed.

      I had (and passed on) very cheap tickets under ECB All Stars initiative. I have to say the ECB’s organisation of the Stars was overpriced (as covered on these pages) and shambolic (girls received their kits in stages rather than one delivery and, according to ECB, I named all my children Eleanor, etc.) but the sessions themselves were great fun and really well executed by my local club.

      I’m delighted the ladies cricketers won

      Like

      • jomesy July 24, 2017 / 1:34 pm

        Meant to end

        I’m delighted the ladies cricketers won and that the ECB made tickets cheaply available under the Stars for young kids to go and watch.

        Like

  3. BobW July 24, 2017 / 9:20 am

    What a great game that was. I missed parts of the end as it was a battle between myself and my 12 year old son for the remote. (He wanted to watch Chris Froome win the TDF) But I did see the last wicket go down.
    Great performance by the team in the second half of the game. a real lesson on how to tighten the screws and put the pressure on when it counts. Even when defending a sub par score
    Just goes to show also you don’t need to see 600 runs a day to see a great game of cricket. (And to be honest I think most of us on here know that)
    I’ll be honest I wasn’t a great fan of women’s cricket up until five years ago.(I played cricket against Lydia Greenways dad many moons ago) But in the past few years the teams profile has changed. Sky to be fair have backed them with money through the TV deals. I’m sure more money will be going their way now. But it would have been great if that final had been on FTA TV.
    As for the standards argument. Of course it is not like the men’s game but that is not what it is about. There’s women’s tennis, hockey (remember how brilliant the GB women’s hockey team were in Rio? I don’t remember any complaining about the standard then), Athletics. Kelly Holmes anyone? It’s the sport, the competition and the love of the game. Best game of cricket I ever saw? It was in a small village in Derbyshire once. Seeing a ten year old kid hit the winning runs at nine wickets down in a tight match. The context was everything.

    Like

  4. Northern Light July 24, 2017 / 2:59 pm

    I’m glad Heather Knight isn’t my captain. She really must have made Jenny Gunn feel great with her comments about that dropped catch after the game. Cheers, skip.

    Like

    • d'Arthez July 24, 2017 / 7:32 pm

      8 teams? So we get to see the same teams over and over again; instead of a World T20, with some farcical qualification tournament in Bangladesh / Zimbabwe / wherever, before the actual tournament starts, we’ll have the same tournament, albeit with regional qualifiers.

      Having 8 teams there defeats the purpose. The qualifiers will not be part of the tournament, and hence no one will actually see the likes of Germany, France, etc. play cricket on the international stage. So, yes, the funding will help, but it won’t lead to improved visibility of the sport anywhere in the world.

      Could easily make it a 16 or even 32 team event (knockout). Seriously, if India can’t beat Germany in the first round, why would anyone expect India then to survive a group of 4 with 3 much better teams than Germany in it?

      They don’t even have to give T20I status to these games, so who cares if say England racks up 350 against Fiji?

      Incompetence, incompetence, incompetence.

      Like

      • SimonH July 24, 2017 / 8:45 pm

        I don’t see how a regional qualification system is going to work given the uneven distribution of cricket teams across the world (except by blatant gerrymandering which is a distinct possibility).

        Presumably SA will qualify every time so long as they can beat Zimbabwe and Kenya? One delight should be that England will have to play the Dutch which brings some great banana skin potential. How many teams will qualify out of Ocenia? One or two would make all the difference for NZ.

        The biggest problem is in Asia. India, Pakistan, SL, Bangladesh and Afghanistan all in close proximity. What chance do Nepal have? It would be bloody hilarious if India didn’t qualify.

        Like

        • d'Arthez July 25, 2017 / 5:48 am

          I am sure it will be gerrymandered, if there is a qualification tournament. After all, if the IOC wants cricket for the eyeballs from the subcontinent, any kind of qualification tournament they come up with will be geared towards making certain the subcontinental team (at least those with eyeballs) will have an easy time qualifying.

          That is of course assuming there will be a qualification tournament … if not (and given the greed at the ICC, I am assuming there won’t be; and it will all be based on rankings, with a regional tournament in the West Indies deciding which national team may represent the region), it is basically just asking the IOC to pay for a World T20. Undoubtedly that will mean the revenue sharing model will be altered again, to compensate the big boards for missing out on the rights (as the IOC will hold them), so that Associate funding from the ICC gets reduced to a fraction of what it is nowadays.

          Kind of defeats the purpose, but then again the ICC defeats the purpose in all matters.

          Like

          • SimonH July 25, 2017 / 7:58 am

            EXcellent analysis D’Arthez.

            Any thoughts on Duminy? It seems a bit weird from the outside that he can go from “you’re our No.4 in all circumstances” to “you’re not even our first reserve and can go home” in the space of one Test! They might at least have invented some sort of cover story (broken finger… body soreness… ).

            Like

          • d'Arthez July 25, 2017 / 12:29 pm

            No idea. But I guess they did not want to give rise to the suspicion that Duminy was not backed to the hilt. And it is obvious they did – I think he has 2 hundreds and 3 fifties from 20 matches, at an eye-watering average of 29, since the tour of Sri Lanka (yes he made an unbeaten hundred there, but his other innings were all single digit scores, so even that would not improve his average much). Interestingly, he batted at 8 in the first Test for his ton there, so it seems that he was picked as much as a bowling option as a batting option. The kind of muddled thinking that England currently display with Dawson.

            And while his batting average at #4 seems decent (40 from 22 innings with 2 not outs), 136 runs for 1 out were scored when he replaced Kallis for one Test in 2012 (3rd Test in and against New Zealand if memory serves). Excluding that, it is 34.94 – and that is heavily massaged by his figures against Sri Lanka in South Africa. Take those two outliers away, and he does not even average 28, at #4.

            Besides a return of 2 fifties and 2 tons since being picked as a specialist #4 from 20 innings is hardly great – even moreso when half of these fifties and tons had come at home against Sri Lanka. Stephen Cook has been dropped while doing better than that – never mind that opening is a much tougher gig than being a #4 (not everywhere in the world, but I imagine there are easier batting positions than opening in say South Africa and New Zealand).

            His away average since becoming the permanent #4 (in August 2016) is 26.27. With nearly half of those runs (141 out of 289, from 12 innings, including one not out) scored in one innings in Perth. His next highest score was 39.

            Philander basically averages the same with the bat, and he is a somewhat more useful bowling option than Duminy as well.

            Don’t forget that Duminy nearly retired from Test cricket two years ago, and was only talked out of it by Ashwell Prince.

            Like

  5. Mark July 24, 2017 / 5:05 pm

    UK Serious Fraud Office opens investigation into Rio Tinto group.

    Perhaps some bods in Whitehall want to make sure the Ashes goes ahead? (Snark)

    Like

  6. Zephirine July 24, 2017 / 9:43 pm

    A bit late to the party but here are some thoughts on the final from a female commenter.

    That was a very enjoyable match, and it was proper. An event. Not a curtain-raiser for a men’s match, with mostly empty stands. It really was sold out and I noticed on TV how many of the audience stayed for the presentations and beyond. The bar takings were probably pretty low, people seemed to be there to watch the cricket. Lots of kids and families. £30 top admission fee no doubt helping.

    Women’s cricket hasn’t gone corporate yet, on or off the field. They don’t have bunches of empty seats that some firm bought for their top salesmen of the year, who are all in the bar. They don’t have players with a whole team of agents each. Even a lot of the England players still don’t have kit sponsorship, apparently. It’ll change, but at the moment it’s still got a kind of wholesome old-time feeling to it.

    Before the women got central contracts, there was a period of some years when England women cricketers had part-time work for the ECB going round schools doing introduction-to-cricket sessions. I think a few others did similar for their counties. So there are quite a lot of kids growing up who actually associate cricket with women, not as a women’s game necessarily but as a game that women know about.

    In the pre-contract days, one thing that always struck me was how young the England women’s cricketers were. They seemed mostly to come in through college or uni teams and (I suppose because of the small player pool) they could be playing for England at 19 or 20 or younger – but then they’d leave at 24 or 25 because they had to start a real career somewhere else. With a very few exceptions like Lottie Edwards, their England cricketing lives ended pretty early. Now that it’s possible for them to make cricket their career for a while longer, we should see results in terms of skills and athleticism developing further.

    You may have had a relatively small number of clicks for this event, but how pleasant it is to be able to comment here on a women’s match without some man popping up to tell us all how the standard’s really low and his team at Little-Dickling-on-the-Wold could demolish Sarah Taylor or Harmanpreet Kaur in no time.

    Liked by 4 people

    • thelegglance July 24, 2017 / 10:34 pm

      Excellent post. I’d forgotten that they sent them round the schools and clubs. The bit at the end is exactly why I got so irate at the treatment of Charlotte Edwards. This was someone who gave half her life to it, much of which wasn’t paid. The rights or wrongs of whether it was time to move on were irrelevant. The treatment of a player who had shown such dedication to her country angered me. She deserved much much more respect.

      Still, didn’t seem the time to mention that in the post.

      Liked by 1 person

      • northernlight71 July 25, 2017 / 7:33 am

        +1 on the treatment of Charlotte Edwards. It still rankles, especially now that any criticism of it will be met by “Well, it was obviously the correct thing to do because we’ve won the World Cup.”

        Perhaps she wasn’t enthusiastic enough about a trip to Sandhurst?

        Like

        • Zephirine July 25, 2017 / 11:25 am

          I agree about Charlotte, I think it was clumsily done and she should have been enabled to step back in a more dignified way and on her own terms. I don’t know the inside dirt on her relationship with Claire Connor, they go way back but it may be a bit of a ‘frenemy’ thing.

          Obviously there were various factors. Her knee problems meant that she really couldn’t run fast between the wickets, but the team had been living with this because of her leadership input. She dated from the unpaid era when dedication was all, but now the terms and conditions were going to be a bit different and the ECB was looking for return on investment. And they’d got this guy in, who wanted to make it his team….

          Again, I think age is significant here. It had got to a stage where most of the players were a LOT younger than her, at an age when that matters. She’d become the mother hen, not first among equals, which isn’t really good. So you can see the reasons for her going.

          And like other ex-Englanders she’s had some nice wins outside the bubble:
          http://media.gettyimages.com/photos/southern-vipers-captain-charlotte-edwards-poses-for-a-portrait-with-picture-id593231250

          I’m not sure about Mark Robinson. Some of the players have spoken enthusiastically about how he’s brought them along and helped them to achieve more. At this stage, he may be what they need. But I think there’s Flower potential there.

          Like

          • thelegglance July 25, 2017 / 11:30 am

            The decision to move on from her may well have been the right one, I don’t have the in depth knowledge to offer a meaningful view, so yes I agree we can see the reasons for her going. My problem is with the way it was done. She was treated with a total lack of respect, which given her contribution over the years was totally unacceptable.

            Liked by 1 person

          • SimonH July 25, 2017 / 11:46 am

            Flower potential Exhibit A:

            Like

  7. Mark July 25, 2017 / 11:33 am

    Pardon my cynicism, but isn’t part of the ECBs new enthusim for womans cricket a ruse to extract ever more lottery funding from the govt for whatever white elephant project they next want to construct? Remember, they finally got round to letting woman into the Lords pavilion just as they were sniffing around for some lottery funding. I believe they were told to go forth and multiply as long as they were men only.

    I see the RFU is now boasting about how much money they are putting into womans rugby. Does Twickenham need a new visitor centre or something?

    There is sport as participatory, and sport as a comercial spectator event. I am afraid I see no evidence that womans sport has moved to the second stage. The first stage is fine. Woman wanting to play sport, but the idea that it will be financially commercial I’m sceptical about.

    The truth is the majority of people don’t want to watch womans sport in large numbers. Now you may call me sexist, but the reality is most woman don’t want to watch any sport let alone womans sport.. Certainly not commercially. Sure they will drag along with boyfriends and husbands and there is a small amount who do like to watch mens football or rugby. But the numbers are still small.

    Now there may be a an audience for it on terrestrial TV, but that is because people without Sky are so starved of any sport these days. People will watch the Olympics with womans events, but that is 2 weeks every 4 years. And they are not paying any extra than the licence fee for it. People will watch many sports if it’s free. They even watched Curling once in a blue moon.

    There are plenty of men who either ridducule womans sport or are just cave men types and think woman should stick to cooking and knitting. But as I say, the biggest problem is not men, but it is that most woman are just not interested. And certainly not paying commercially for it on a regular basis.

    Perhaps that may change.

    Like

    • Zephirine July 25, 2017 / 1:44 pm

      The truth is the majority of people don’t want to watch womans sport in large numbers. Now you may call me sexist, but the reality is most woman don’t want to watch any sport let alone womans sport.. Certainly not commercially. Sure they will drag along with boyfriends and husbands and there is a small amount who do like to watch mens football or rugby. But the numbers are still small.

      I would previously have sort of agreed with you, Mark, but last Sunday’s crowd rather proved me wrong. 27,000 is a lot of people and they seemed to be interested, not just getting pissed.
      I think kids are the key here – people will take their kids to a women’s match – especially if the tickets stay so much cheaper – because there won’t be so many drunks, frankly. And the women play the shorter forms mostly.

      Women watching sport, well… Certainly most women don’t feel the need to have sporting allegiances as men do, and the sporty girls tend to be a relatively small clique in most schools. Generally, women follow sports when they fancy the players, which mostly means they want to watch nice young guys, unless they’re the other way inclined. Watching on TV is better for this, because close-ups.
      So you’re not likely ever to get women turning out in large numbers to watch women’s cricket matches on a regular basis. But then, how many people of whatever gender now turn out to watch men’s cricket? Who watches athletics or swimming? Apart from football, and in some areas rugby, attendance at all sports is low except for the big occasions. And last Sunday managed to be a big occasion. And women do turn out for those – look at Wimbledon.

      Re the administrative motivations, I’m sure your cynicism is justified. However, it is an odd fact about Giles Clarke that he has always supported women’s cricket and in particular the England women’s team. Perhaps he just likes having nice young girls being polite and grateful to him and not muttering about their sponsorship deals and why they didn’t get a big enough car this year.

      Like

      • thelegglance July 25, 2017 / 1:55 pm

        It’s such an interesting question – why people go to specific sporting events. I’m going to the World Athletics Championships next month, and I can’t honestly remember the split on the evening between the men and women (I’ll obviously look it up at some point), and the truth is I really don’t care. It’s elite performance and male or female just isn’t remotely important. Yes, it would have been nice to have the tickets for Usain Bolt, and maybe the fact he’s a man does have some bearing on his fame, but I’m honestly not sure it’s that simple.

        I’ve wondered with the cricket whether (prior to last weekend) the big differential in interest could be explained by there being such a vast gulf in standard between men and women playing – this is a function of it being much smaller and more recent in the women’s game – and perhaps the standard has narrowed sufficiently that people feel they are going to see a level that is worth paying for. Maybe, maybe not, I’m thinking out loud more than anything.

        To use your Wimbledon example, I probably would prefer to watch a top level man rather than a woman, but in that instance it’s not about the level of play, it’s about it being over 5 sets rather than 3, and the potential for a more memorable match. If it was the same (and honestly, I struggle to see why it isn’t, it’s not like women lack stamina) then I can’t see it would make any difference to me.

        Like

    • Mark July 25, 2017 / 6:38 pm

      Some commemts from below that article……

      can’t see why anyone outside the players’ families would bother watching this. A) it’s cricket! B) its WOMEN’S cricket! The standard is appalling!!

      Sky really need to stop pushing women’s sports. It’s embarrassing.

      the english team looked like men in wigs! the size of em!

      Womans cricket womens football.the standard is awful but dare say it and your accused of chauevinism.but its a fact.

      If those figures are right, and pardon me if smell a rat.( Higher than test cricket? Higher than India vs Pakistan in CT? Same as a Sunday premiership game?) then fair play to the orgainser.

      Sorry, not buying it. The only possible is that for most of the game there was little else on. The leading players in The Open didn’t go out until mid afternoon. Was it shown on the free to air sky channel?

      ON ANOTHER NOTE

      I see the success of the woman’s WC has started the usual English disease of post match congratulations, and putting all the credit on the coaches. If you played for England ladies before this years event you must be pleased to hear from Selvey that you were not professional. Only ECB appointed coaches in the Selvey era are acceptable. F you!

      Like

      • Zephirine July 25, 2017 / 8:26 pm

        We do have to bear in mind that India were playing and expected to win.

        Gotta love a Daily Mail idiot who can’t even spell chauvinist when he obviously is one.

        Like

    • dannycricket July 26, 2017 / 5:54 am

      I think that might be higher than the most recent Ashes viewing figures, which I think shows how many more people cricket could attract if it was cheaper to watch. It was shown on Sky Sports Mix, which is available to all Sky and Virgin TV customers for ‘free’, as were all of England’s other games in the tournament.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s