The England Women’s cricket team, led by inspirational captain Charlotte Edwards, today won the ICC Women’s World Cup after beating New Zealand by four wickets at the North Sydney Oval.
It is the first time England have won the coveted Trophy since 1993 when they beat New Zealand at Lord’s. It is also the first time an England team has won a global ICC event.
Post match a delighted Edwards said, “This is amazing. We have worked so hard to achieve what we did here today and I am so proud of all the girls. We needed a good performance to beat this New Zealand side and that’s exactly what we produced.
“I am almost lost for words, this is what I have dreamed of since I was a little girl and for it to happen is fantastic. I’ve been to four World Cups, so to finally win one is just incredible.”
Nicky Shaw was the accidental hero of the match, despite only finding out she would be playing minutes before the toss after Jenny Gunn failed to shake off a calf injury.
Seemingly with one hand on the trophy after they reached 109 for one in reply to New Zealand’s 166 all-out, England then lost five wickets for just 40 runs as the final turned on its head.
While others lost their heads, Shaw kept her composure to see England home with the most valuable 17 not out she is ever likely to score.
Shaw watched as Holly Colvin struck the winning runs with 23 balls remaining before embracing her team-mate while the rest of the England squad invaded the pitch in celebration.
Earlier in the day, Shaw took a career best 4-34 to dismantle the New Zealand top order in a spell which included three wickets in 15 balls.
England’s plans were thrown into disarray when Gunn pulled up after bowling in the warm-up but Shaw grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
New Zealand captain Haidee Tiffen won the toss and elected to bat first but it was England, inspired by a pumped-up Katherine Brunt, who went for the jugular.
The Barnsley pace bowler regularly beat the bat and deserved a wicket although the pressure she generated resulted in a wicket at the other end; Isa Guha tempting Kate Pulford with a wide delivery which she slashed hard to gully where Claire Taylor held smartly.
First Shaw dismissed the dangerous Suzie Bates, caught by Caroline Atkins at mid-on, then the next ball induced Amy Satterthwaite to nick behind.
It got even better for England when Shaw sent back Haidee Tiffin, the skipper edging to Sarah Taylor for 30 as New Zealand slipped to 62 for four after 16 overs.
Holly Colvin chose the perfect time to pick up her 50th ODI wicket, looping up a tempting delivery which the fluent Sarah McGlashan punched straight to the dependable Lydia Greenway at midwicket. It was soon 92 for six when fellow spinner Laura Marsh, an injury doubt before the game having been struck on the wrist by Brunt in the nets, followed Colvin’s lead by bowling Aimee Mason as she attempted to sweep.
England’s day got even better when the returning Brunt found Sarah Tsukigawa’s edge with Taylor taking her third catch of the game. Lucy Doolan and Nicola Browne mounted an entertaining rearguard action with the former regularly peppering the fence as New Zealand reached 134 for seven when the second drinks break was taken after 37 overs.
One stroke highlighted Doolan’s growing confidence – an audacious scoop off Shaw whilst down on one knee. The 21-year-old continued, taking her side past 150 with a cheeky reverse sweep off Charlotte Edwards. The boundary, Doolan’s eighth, also took her past her previous best ODI score and brought up the 50-partnership with the more restrained Browne.
New Zealand opted to take their batting powerplay at the start of the 45th over, Browne greeting the decision by pulling Edwards for four through square leg. Marsh finally ended the 63-run partnership, which came off 99 balls, when she fired a quicker ball down the legside past the advancing Doolan who was stumped by Taylor for an excellent 48. It was the off-spinner’s 16th wicket of a wonderful World Cup.
Edwards reduced New Zealand to 166 for nine in the next over, the 47th, by trapping Sophie Devine leg before and the innings ended moments later when Shaw ended Browne’s 78-ball vigil by pinning her in front. England made a perfect start in search of realising their World Cup ambition as Sarah Taylor and Caroline Atkins saw off the new balls with few alarms.
Atkins adopted her normal sedate approach, working the ball through the infield to pick up singles and cleverly rotate the strike. Apart from an inside edge which flew for four, the opener had to wait until the 20th over for her next boundary – a delightful cover drive off Doolan.
Taylor, on the other hand, played herself in before latching on to anything short in length, launching into a series of vicious pulls and square cuts as she cruised to 39 before eventually flicking a half-volley into Tiffin’s hands at midwicket.
New batter Claire Taylor looked in sublime form, cracking four boundaries as she moved effortlessly to 21 during a 35-run stand with Atkins. But just as she looked capable of leading England past the winning post, she dashed down the wicket to Mason and was bowled by a full delivery as England stuttered to 109 for two in the 27th over.
The England dressing room would have suffered a bout of the jitters when, with just two more runs added, Atkins, who had crept to 40 from 85 balls, sliced a long hop from Mason straight into Devine’s hands. Talismanic captain Charlotte Edwards was adjudged caught behind off Doolan, who finished with 3-23, to leave England 121 for four.
Beth Morgan soothed the nerves with a couple of boundaries but the mini-revival did not last long, Greenway mistiming a lofted drive off Mason straight to Satterthwaite. Shaw marched to the crease seemingly unperturbed at needing 28 from 11.3 overs, immediately unfurling a sublime cover drive off Sophie Devine which raced for four.
Fingernails were further gnawed when Shaw and Morgan, having removed ten from the target, got in a muddle attempting a suicidal single, the latter being run out by a combination of Tsukigawa, Priest and Pulford. But Shaw rose tall and dragged England home.
When the team have finished celebrating their deserved victory, all thoughts will turn to this summer’s Women’s World Twenty20, which takes place on home soil in June – alongside the men’s competition.
Edwards said, “I’m delighted we have taken our form from last year into this competition and we’ll look to continue in the same vein for the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 in June and then for the npower Women’s Ashes and the NatWest Women’s Series against Australia later in the summer.”
Louise Hudson, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine