Anya Shrubsole took six wickets as England defended 228 in dramatic final in London
ANYA SHRUBSOLE’S six-wicket haul won England the World Cup — and proved that sometimes dreams do come true.
Swing bowler Shrubsole applied the dramatic finishing touches to a thrilling match in front of 26,500 fans — the first full house for a women’s match at Lord’s.
There was chaos and confusion, panic and pantomime during the closing overs.
But, hey, who cares? England won the World Cup.
And Shrubsole’s personal story lent an emotional, fairytale subtext to England’s nine-run win.
Back in 2001, her father Ian was dismissed from the final ball of the National Club final at Lord’s and his team Bath lost to Bramhall, Cheshire, by four runs.
On Friday, Ian posted a snap on Twitter of his nine-year-old daughter staring dreamily across the outfield. Even then, she wanted to play at the famous old ground.
Now, Anya finished with 6-46.
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That included an incredible final burst of 5-11 in 19 balls.
Player of the Match Shrubsole said: “I’m a little lost for words, if I’m honest.
“It was an unbelievable game and the great thing about this team is that we never give up. I was here watching my dad play in the National Club knockout.
“To come back 16 years later as a World Cup winner is just amazing. It was a dream that I never thought would come true.”
And captain Heather Knight added: “It was a huge thrill for all of us to play at Lord’s.
“I remember when I first came here aged 12 or 13, I was in awe of the place.
“I hope this tournament will help to grow the women’s game. The support has been amazing and there’s never been a better time to be a young girl playing cricket.”
When all-rounder Jenny Gunn spilled the easiest of catches at mid-off, with India needing just ten runs, she must have feared she had dropped the trophy.
But with the very next ball, Shrubsole bowled No 11 Rajeshwari Gayakwad and collected her sixth wicket.
Don’t forget, Shrubsole also dramatically hit the winning runs in the semi-final and went over immediately to console the South African players.
India were cruising at 191-3 in the 43rd over but a mix of run-outs, madcap shots and Shrubsole’s composure in the mayhem transformed the game.
England won a vital toss — they are better at defending totals than chasing them — and looked in control when Sarah Taylor and Nat Sciver put on 83 for the fourth wicket.
But Taylor strangled a legside catch and Fran Wilson was out first ball. Then Sciver was lbw aiming across the line.
England’s 228-7 total was 30 short of what seemed likely and, when Punam Raut and Harmanpreet Kaur made accomplished half-centuries, the game looked over.
Taylor missed a stumping and Knight put down a simple catch in the covers.
But then came the panic and Shrubsole’s inspired spell.
Indian skipper Mithali Raj, the highest scorer in the history of women’s ODIs, said: “We didn’t hold our nerves — we messed it up in the end.”