Following their tense semi-final win over South Africa at the Bristol County Ground, England are now fully focused on winning the Women’s Cricket World Cup at Lord’s on Sunday. But for the sake or their nerves (and everyone England supporter’s finger nails) they will hope that their margin of victory is greater than just the two wickets they defeated the Proteas by!
Lord’s is entirely sold out for the final on Sunday, with all 30,000 tickets snapped up well in advance. The England and Wales Cricket Board will be ecstatic that the hosts have reached the final, their seventh from 11 Women’s World Cups. India would be the ECB’s preferred finalists due to the amount of television viewers the cricket voracious country are certain to bring in.
England will now face either Australia or India at the Home of Cricket on Sunday, both of whom proved testing opposition in the competition’s Group Stage. In the second match of the tournament, India beat England by 35 runs after the home side fell short of chasing down their target of 281.
Australia’s ladies, known colloquially as the Southern Stars, are by far the most successful nation in cricket history. They have won the Cricket World Cup an astounding six times, most recently demolishing the West Indies by 113 in the 2013 final in Mumbai, India.
England’s bowling was excellent in the win over South Africa, but it will need to be even better regardless of whom they face in the final. Heather Knight’s side bowled just four wides in their 50 overs, the sum total of all the extras they conceded. Whereas South Africa sent down 17 wide deliveries out of 25 extras, an amount that proved crucial in the end.
A rematch between old rivals Australia and England would make for spectacular viewing too, especially if the game is anything like as close as when they met in the Group Stage. England won the toss and chose to bat, with Tammy Beaumont’s steady 49 from 88 balls setting the foundations for the lower order to blast them to a decent total of 259-8.
Skipper Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry, who top-scored with 70, looked like they would guide the Stars to victory – but their partnership was broken by the excellently economical Alex Hartley, before the rest of England’s bowlers chipped in with crucial wickets. Needing 10 from the final two balls, Australia were kept alive by a misfield from Natalie Sciver to concede four, but Jess Jonassen was unable to find the maximum she needed from Jenny Gunn’s last ball.
The World Cup final will be screened live on the new Sky Sports Cricket channel (404), as well as Sky Sports Mix from 10am on Sunday morning.