London: India spearhead Jhulan Goswami took three key wickets as hosts England were held to a total of 228 for seven in the Women’s World Cup final at Lord’s on Sunday.
The 34-year-old pace bowler, in what could well be her last chance to help India win an inaugural World Cup title, enjoyed a superb return of three for 23 in her maximum 10 overs, including two wickets in two balls.
Her haul included the dismissals of star batsman Sarah Taylor (45) and top-scorer Nat Sciver (51).
England, who saw captain Heather Knight bat first on an overcast morning, were in a dire position at 164 for six in the 38th over.
But their tailenders kept them in the game by batting out the full 50 overs and ensuring India would at least have to chase a total in excess of 200 in front of a full house of some 26,500.
Jenny Gunn (25 not out) and Laura Marsh (14 not out) added an unbroken 32 in 25 balls.
India, losing finalists in 2005, were bidding to triumph on the same Lord’s ground where their men’s team won a first World Cup title back in 1983.
By contrast England, one of the traditional powers of the women’s game, were aiming for a fourth World Cup crown.
England made a steady start against an India side who had beaten them by 35 runs in their opening pool match in Derby on June 24.
But from 47 for none, they lost three wickets in quick succession to be 63 for three in the 17th over, with leg-spinner Poonam Yadav (two for 36) taking two for one in five balls.
Lauren Winfield (24) was bowled round her legs trying to sweep left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad before Yadav saw England’s other opener Tammy Beaumont (23) hole out to Goswami at deep midwicket.
The sweep proved Knight’s undoing when she was lbw for just one to Yadav, hitting across the line, although India had to review before she was dismissed.
Taylor and Sciver, who hit Deepti Sharma straight back over head for a fine four, put on 83 before Goswami struck in her second spell.
Taylor was well caught low down the legside by opposing wicket-keeper Sushma Verma.
And 146 for four became 146 for five when Fran Wilson was lbw for a golden duck next ball to Goswami’s yorker.
Katherine Brunt survived the hat-trick, with Sciver completing a 65-ball fifty, including five fours.
But Sciver too fell lbw to Goswami, sensibly kept on by India captain Mithali Raj.
Sciver reviewed, more in hope than expectation, but replays indicated the ball would have crashed into middle stump.
England were now 164 for six in the 38th over, with all their top-order batsmen dismissed after Goswami had taken three for two in 10 balls.
Brunt survived the hat-trick and made a useful 34 before she was brilliantly run out by Sharma’s direct hit from mid-off. – AFP