A superb campaign by the Indian women's team came to an end with a defeat at the hands of hosts England. It was a thriller of a final that went right down to the wire. In the end, England managed to win it by 9 runs. India were given a competitive target of 228 runs, and at one stage, looked well in control. But a batting collapse towards the end meant that India could only come out as the second best side in the match.
Punam Raut played a brilliant knock, making 86 runs, but that was not enough to take the team to victory. Harmanpreet Kaut and Veda Krishnamurthy also played two excellent innings but were unlucky to end up on the losing side. Before that, 34-year-old Jhulan Goswami, quite possibly playing her last World Cup, bowled a brilliant spell of 10-3-23-3 to restrict England to 228.
Here are some of the reasons that contributed to India's loss in the final.
1. Slow start by India
Even though India had a small target to chase down, a good start always helps. Unfortunately for India, Smriti Mandhana was dismissed early without scoring and Mithali Raj and Punam Raut took some time to get going. It's not like India has never recovered after a bad start, but it just proved to be too much of a task today.
2. Shrubsole's 6-wicket haul
After they could not put up a big total, England needed someone to rise to the occasion, and they found a star in Anya Shrubsole. She was the one who started India's slide from a position of relative comfort. Coming in to bowl the 43rd over, Shrubsole picked up India's highest scorer Punam Raut first and completely turned the tide around in her next over, picking up Veda Krishnamurthy and Jhulan Goswami, both of whom were capable of carrying India over the line.
3. England's 4th wicket partnership
India had England on the ropes early on. They were 63/3 when captain Heather Knight was dismissed. But Sarah Taylor and Natalie Sciver, who have rescued England in this tournament before put on an 83-run partnership that helped England not lose ground in the middle overs. Not only did they stay on the crease, they also scored at a decent rate when they were there. Sarah Taylor's innings was particularly remarkable. She did not hit a single boundary but still scored 45 runs off 62 deliveries.
4. India's batting collapse at the end
At 191/3, with two set batswomen at the crease, India looked in a position from where they could go for the win. But Punam Raut's wicket completely turned around the game. In the very next over, Sushma Verma, promoted over Deepti Sharma, was bowled round her legs. Shrubsole's accurate bowling got rid of a well set Veda Krishnamurthy as well, and an almost perfect yorker shattered Jhulan Goswami's stumps. Suddenly India were 201/7, and from then on, the pressure of the final just seemed to be too much to overcome.