The Indian women’s team will take on hosts England in the finals of the Women’s World Cup 2017 to be played at iconic Lords Cricket Ground tomorrow. Harmanpreet Kaur played a special knock of 171 not out against the defending Champions Australia at County Ground, Derby which helped the Mithali Raj led the side to reach the finals of their history for the second time. It promises to be a mouthwatering clash.
The Indian women have performed exceptionally well in the tournament so far. They defeated strong England side in the opening match by 35 runs. In the first two matches, opener Smriti Mandhana made 196 runs. Captain Mithali Raj is the second highest run getter with 392 runs. She has hit 1 century and 3 half centuries, has a chance to surpass Perry in the finals against England. The Indian women won four back to back matches in the tournament. Indian women’s were outplayed by South Africa and Australia in the next two matches. In the virtual quarter finals against New Zealand, the Indian women played with positive intent and won the match by a massive 186 runs margin
Punam Raut too has performed well in the tournament with 295 runs in 8 matches. His best score came against Australia of 106 which the Indian women lost. Harmanpreet Kaur played a great knock of 171* which helped India to post a massive total and win the match by 36 runs. VedaKrishna Murthy has done a good job playing cameo knocks.
All the Indian bowlers including Goswami, Ekta Bisht, Gayawkad, Shikha Pandey have been outstanding. The Indian team needs to play their best cricket tomorrow at Lords and lift their maiden title. Their best performance came during the 2005 edition in South Africa where they reached the finals. It would be an ideal gift for Raj and Goswami to win the title for team India.
As far as England is concerned, they lost their opening match to India. But after that they won all their matches with ease. In the semi-finals against South Africa, England bowled well and restricted the visitors to 218. Chasing the modest target of 219, they were cruising at one stage, but lost wickets. Fran Wilson and Gunn partnership made sure that they were on target to go into finals. The match went to the final over, with 2 runs required; Shurbshole hit a boundary and won the match by 2 wickets.
The England team has a strong batting line up consisting of Beaumont, Winfield, Sarah Taylor, Heather Knight, Sciver, Fran Wilson, Brunt, Gunn. Their bowling also looks solid with the likes of Brunt, Gunn, Shrubsole, Laura Marsh, and Hartley. They will be looking to take revenge and win their fourth World Cup.
It is a sell-out crowd with more than 26,500 tickets have been sold out for Women’s World Cup 2017 final which is more than 4,000 packed crowd during the England vs. Australia group stage match held at Bristol.
The expected crowd at tomorrow’s finals at Lords should be around 27,000. It promises to be the loud atmosphere.
The Indian team will depend on Mandhana to contribute big after the first two matches, captain Mithali Raj to contribute once more. From the bowling department, Goswami, Pandey and spinners need to come good if they have to defat England in the finals. For England, Sarah Taylor would play a key role, Beaumont and Winfield to provide a solid start, in bowling Shurbsole, Gunn has to come good if they to contain the Indian batting line up.
After the semi-finals win over Australia, Mithali Raj said “If we can pull it off in the final, it will be a big thing in India. It would be kind of revolution in women’s cricket in India. Everybody has emphasized that we need to win an ICC tournament, so this is the stage and this is the platform. I probably wouldn’t have a word to describe it,” the 34-year-old said.