The 11th edition of the ICC Women’s World Cup came to an end on Sunday with England emerging victorious over India in a thrilling finale. It was a memorable journey.
We witnessed some scintillating performances both with bat and ball. While the tournament was mostly dominated by thunderous batting performances, there was a scintillating bowling performance from England’s Anya Shrubsole in the final, that won them their fourth World Cup title.
Looking back at the campaign, we will find many performances that will occupy a special place in our hearts.
Here’s a look at 10 such mesmerising performances of the tournament.
1. Harmanpreet Kaur – 171*, India vs Australia in Derby
Harmanpreet Kaur played one of the finest innings in the history of World Cup when her team needed it the most. She went berserk after scoring her fifty off 64 deliveries and plundered 121 runs in the next 51 deliveries she faced.
Her innings of 171* dug India out of a tricky situation, having lost their top three batters cheaply, and propelled them to a high total of 281/4 in an all-important semi-final clash against the defending Champions Australia.
Australia later fell short of the target by 36 runs.
2. Anya Shrubsole – 6/46, England vs India at Lord’s
Anya Shrubsole saved the best bowling performance of the tournament for the final showdown. Shrubsole turned the game on its head with a scintillating death bowling spell, which saw her claiming 5 wickets in just 4 overs.
Chasing a target of 229, India were inching towards victory, when they were comfortably placed at 191/3 in the 43rd over. However, the last ball of that over turned out to be fatal for India as Shrubsole trapped the well-set Punam Raut plumb in front of the wickets.
She struck India with a double blow in her very next over when she dismissed the dangerous Veda Krishnamurthy and Jhulan Goswami. And she finished things off with the wickets of Deepti Sharma and Rajeshwari Gayakwad in the penultimate over of the innings, thus leading England to a 9-run victory. She finished with figures of 6/46 and was also adjudged the player of the match.
3. Chamari Atapattu – 178*, Sri Lanka vs Australia in Bristol
Atapattu’s knock of 178* off just 143 deliveries against Australia in Bristol will go down in history as one of the finest ODI knocks that ended up in a losing cause. Walking out to bat at number 3, she kept plundering runs at one end as wickets kept tumbling at the other.
At the end of the Sri Lankan innings, she remained unbeaten on 178* as Sri Lanka posted a total of 257/9. However, the target didn’t turn out to be enough as Australia overhauled it by 8 wickets and 31 deliveries remaining.
4. Rajeshwari Gayakwad – 5/15, India vs New Zealand in Derby
It was a must win game for both India and New Zealand. A win for either side would have meant qualification to the semi-finals and a loss would have meant going back home. India posted 257/5 in their 50 overs riding on Mithali Raj ‘s 109, Veda Krishnamurthy’ s whirlwind knock of 70 and Harmanpreet Kaur’s 60.
Everyone was expecting New Zealand to give a tough fight. However, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, who was brought into the playing XI at the expense of Ekta Bisht, decimated New Zealand with her left arm spin.
She went on to claim 5/15 as New Zealand were bowled out for only 79 runs. Her victims included top order batters like Amy Satterthwaite (26), Sophie Devine (7) and lower order batters like Hannah Rowe (4), Lea Tatupu (5) and Leigh Kasperek (0).
5. Meg Lanning – 152*, Australia vs Sri Lanka in Bristol
Lanning had a memorable World Cup 2017 campaign as she piled up a lot of runs. Her finest knock of the tournament came against Sri Lanka in Bristol when she overshadowed Chamari Atapattu’s 178* with her magnificent knock of 152* (135).
Walking out to bat at number 3 with Australia at 5/1, Lanning built a partnership of 133 runs with Nicole Bolton. And after Bolton’s dismissal, she joined hands with Ellyse Perry to take Australia over the line with 31 deliveries remaining. Her innings consisted of 19 superbly-timed fours and one huge six.
6. Ekta Bisht – 5/18, India vs Pakistan in Derby
Pakistan had the best chance of beating India for the first time in ODI history in their group stage encounter in Derby. They had restricted India to a paltry 169/9. However, a scintillating spell of 5/18 from the left arm spinner Ekta Bisht caught Pakistan by surprise as they were bowled out for a mere 74 runs.
She opened the bowling and rattled Pakistan with the wickets of Ayesha Zadar, Sidra Nawaz and Iram Jared. Later, she came on to bowl in her second spell and picked up the wickets of Nashra Sandhu and Diana Bain to complete her five-wicket haul. Her superb bowling performance helped India to a 95-run victory, which looked unlikely after their batting performance.
7. Sarah Taylor – 147, England vs South Africa in Bristol
England’s wicketkeeper-batter Sarah Taylor made a fabulous comeback in international cricket after she took an indefinite break last year to sort out her anxiety issues. Having already struck a superb half century against Sri Lanka, Taylor took her game a notch up in the next match against South Africa.
She helped England post the second-highest total of the tournament with a superb innings of 147 off 104 deliveries. England posted 373/5. South Africa tried their best to chase down the target, but could only manage 305/9 in their 50 overs.
8. Dane Van Niekerk – 4/0, South Africa vs West Indies in Leicester
The South African skipper, Dane Van Niekerk, achieved a pretty unique feat in this World Cup. She became the first-ever player in the history of both men’s and women’s cricket to have claimed 4 wickets without conceding a single run.
Her figures read 3.2 overs, 3 maidens and 4 wickets against a hapless West Indies side, who were bowled out for 48 runs in Leicester. South Africa later went on to win the match comprehensively by 10 wickets.
9. Natalie Sciver – 137, England vs Pakistan in Leicester
Sciver’s scintillating knock of 137 runs off just 92 deliveries helped England to the highest total of this edition of the World Cup. Pakistan had reduced England to 42/2 when Sciver joined skipper Heather Knight in the middle.
She took up an aggressive role from the very beginning as Knight played the second fiddle. The duo, eventually, went on to construct a partnership of 213 runs before Heather Knight was dismissed.
Sciver carried on and struck 137 runs off 92 deliveries that consisted of 14 fours and four humongous sixes. England posted 377/7 and went on to win the match by 107 runs via D/L method.
10. Veda Krishnamurthy –70, India vs New Zealand in Derby
There were many other performances which could have ended up in this list. However, Krishnamurthy’s performance beat them all to get a place on this list due to the sheer impact it had on the result of the tournament.
She had a silent run of six matches on the trot. However, when she got the opportunity to prove herself in the must-win game against New Zealand, she grabbed it with both hands. She changed the course of the game completely.
Walking out to bat after the fall of Harmanpreet’s wicket, Krishnamurthy took charge of accelerating the innings. She did so successfully with an innings of 70 runs off just 45 deliveries with the skipper Mithali Raj in support at the other end.
India finally posted 257/5 and went on to win the match by 178 runs.
(This article first appeared on The Quint on July 24, 2017)