What a match! A match that really matched the status of a World Cup final. It was cricket that was the winner…precisely Women’s Cricket that emerged winner.
England is the Wold Champion in women’s cricket. They beat India at Lord’s by 9 runs. Batting first England scored 228 for 7 wickets in their full 50 overs. Veteran Jhulan Goswami, playing in her last World Cup match, was the star of Indian bowling. She took 3 wickets in 23 runs and brought India back in the match. Poonam Yadav took 2 wickets in her 10 overs.
India, while batting, lost Smriti Mandhana early who was bowled without scoring a run. Even, captain Mithali Raj came under pressure and was run out after a surprising running between the wicket. But Punam Raut and Harmanpreet Kaur hold the innings. Punam scored 84 runs while Harmanpreet scored 51. But towards the end none of the Indian batters could show resistance and India lost a very close match by only 9 runs.
This was India’s second final in World Cup. But both times India ended at the losing side. In 2005 India lost to Australia and this time they lost to England. But the game of cricket got a new meaning through this year’s Women’s World Cup. Indian women’s cricket took many steps forward after this year’s event. There were many positives that came out after India’s performance this year. A country where women’s cricket was confined to only two names-Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami- now know the likes of Harmanpreet Kaur, Deepti Sharma, Shikha Pandey and others.
The television viewership has increased and so is the attendance in the gallery. Today’s final match at Lord’s saw around 30,000 people watching women’s cricket. The ‘Indian Army’ of England who are continuously present during men’s matches were of constant support for the women’s team. Even many Indians traveled from different parts of England to witness the final match. The newspapers covered the reports of matches regularly, and even put some news in the front pages. Television reporters thronged to the houses of Indian women’s cricketers to have sound bites of their family members. Really it was a change in the mindset of people.
Perhaps the young girls from India could not keep their nerves strong in this final match. It was a big stage and fighting against England at Lord’s is always a tough job in hand. But well done girls! You all are really path-breakers.