Record Book – England v India at the Women’s World Cup

  The final of the eleventh edition of the Women’s World Cup, between hosts England and a vibrant India, is underway at Lord’s, in what promises to be a riveting battle. While England have won the title thrice, India, on the back of remarkable wins over New Zealand and Australia, will be looking to lay their hands on the trophy for the first time.

  England and India have clashed on ten occasions in the Women’s World Cup, dating back to their first meeting in the 1978 edition. England hold a slight advantage, but India have won the most recent contest, on the opening day of the ongoing tournament. As the summit clash heats up at the Mecca, let us revisit the past World Cup encounters between the two sides.

Kolkata, 1978

  This league match at the iconic Eden Gardens was incidentally the first ever ODI that India Women played. It was a forgettable outing for the hosts, as they were shot out for a paltry 63 in 39.3 overs, with skipper Diana Edulji (18) being the top-scorer. Opening bowler Glynis Hullah returned figures of 6.3-4-2-2. England overhauled the total in the 31st over to win by nine wickets.

Auckland, 1982

  The 1982 edition, played in New Zealand, featured five teams, each team playing every other thrice. England saw off India by four wickets at Auckland’s Cornwall Park, chasing down a target of 113 with 24 overs to spare. Earlier, only captain Shanta Rangaswamy (50) stood tall as India were bowled out for 112 in the 53rd over. Hullah was at her stingiest again, taking 2/5 in 9.2 overs.

      Indian pacewoman Jhulan Goswami returned figures of 4/27 to set up a convincing win against England at the 2005 World Cup (source – thehindu.com)

Wanganui, 1982

  India exacted revenge in the second round, at Cooks Gardens in Wanganui, achieving ODI success against the Englishwomen for the first time. Wicketkeeper Fowzieh Khalili, opening the innings, stroked a career-best 88 to propel India to 178/7 in their 60 overs. In reply, the Indian bowlers, led by leggie Shubhangi Kulkarni (3/19), condemned England to a 47-run defeat in the 56th over.

Nelson, 1982

  England were back to their ruthless best at Trafalgar Park, where they subdued India with a dominating display. Pacer Janet Tedstone (4/17) and off-spinner Carol Hodges (3/9) tore through the Indian batting, and the total of 61 in 37 overs made for sorry reading. England cruised to a ten-wicket victory in the 22nd over, and went on to reach the final, which they lost to Australia.

Finchampstead, 1993 

  In what was possibly the best match of the tournament, the hosts eked out a last-gasp win. Jan Brittin scored 100 in England’s total of 179 – they lost their last seven for 22. Edulji, leading India again, took 4/12 with her left-arm spin. India went from 83/2 to 128/7 in reply, but the tail kept them alive. In a tense finish, number eleven Laya Francis was run out with four needed from two balls.

Lincoln, 2000

  The two teams played out another tight affair, this time in New Zealand. The English attack bowled with control to keep India to 155/7, Chanderkanta Kaul scoring 45. England crashed to 35/4 in the 21st over, before Claire Taylor (60) steadied the ship. India however had the final say, pinching an eight-run win with four balls left, off-spinner Rupanjali Shastri (3/25) being their best bowler.

      England captain Charlotte Edwards scored a match-winning 109 against India at Mumbai in the 2013 Women’s World Cup (source – ICC) 

Pretoria, 2005

  India, who would go on to enter their maiden final, notched a facile seven-wicket win. Pace ace Jhulan Goswami (4/27) and left-arm spinner Neetu David starred as England were bundled for 139, despite fifties from Charlotte Edwards (58) and Arran Brindle (51*). India slipped to 35/3, but Anjum Chopra (64*) and Rumeli Dhar (42*) dropped anchor, the win coming in the 46th over.

Sydney, 2009

  Eventual winners England stamped their supremacy in a nine-wicket win against India in the group stage at the North Sydney Oval. Holly Colvin (3/22) and Jenny Gunn dented the middle order, building on a fine start from Isa Guha (2/16). Mithali Raj top-scored with 59. The target of 170 was chased down in the 39th over, with Caroline Atkins and Claire Taylor both remaining unbeaten on 69.

Mumbai, 2013

  Reeling from a defeat to Sri Lanka in their opening game, defending champions England bounced back with a 32-run success against the hosts at the Brabourne Stadium. Captain Charlotte Edwards led from the front with a stroke-filled 109, powering England to 272/8. Despite the best efforts of Harmanpreet Kaur (107*), India could only manage 240/9, thanks to pacer Katherine Brunt (4/29).

Derby, 2017

  India began the 2017 edition positively, recording an impressive win against the hosts. Openers Punam Raut (86) and Smriti Mandhana (90 in 72 balls) set the tone with a 144-run alliance, following which captain Mithali Raj scored 71. Facing a challenging total of 281/3, England wobbled to 67/3 and were eventually dismissed for 246 in the 48th over, Fran Wilson’s 81 going in vain.

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Specials – When the Women’s World Cup was last held in England

  The Women’s World Cup, the final of which is being played at Lord’s today, returned to England after 24 long years. The 1993 tournament was the fifth edition and featured eight teams, then a new record. 

  Interestingly, the 60-over format was persisted with, even as the men’s World Cup had shifted to the standardized 50 overs back in 1987. Australia were defending the title, having won the previous edition in 1988 at home. Here is a look back at a few highlights and moments from the 13-day-long tournament.

A transformed roster, two decades on

  England had earlier hosted the inaugural edition in 1973, which featured an intriguing mix of teams. Besides the hosts, Australia and New Zealand, there were Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago playing as separate nations – unheard of in men’s international cricket – as well as an International XI and a Young England outfit.

  On the other hand, 1993 saw the West Indies play the tournament for the first time, while Denmark also made their World Cup bow.

Heavyweights dish out opening-day drubbings

  Veteran opener Janette ‘Jan’ Brittin impressed for the hosts in their opening game against Denmark with a sublime 104 that led to a 239-run rout of the opposition. Chasing a total of 286/3, the highest of the tournament, the Danes lost their last five wickets for one run to be bowled out for 47.

  On the same day, Australia began their title defence with a breeze, subduing the Netherlands, who were bundled out for 56 thanks in main to a remarkable return of 12-7-8-4 from pacer Brownwyn Calver, by ten wickets.

      England, hosts of the 1993 edition of the Women’s World Cup, won their second title after defeating New Zealand in the final at Lord’s (source – gettyimages/espncricinfo.com)

The Netherlands win their first World Cup game

  Having endured eight straight defeats in their maiden World Cup appearance in 1988, it would not have been surprising to see the Dutchwomen go winless again, especially after the limp display against Australia.

  However, their second match, against newbies West Indies, presented the ideal opportunity to break the duck. And they did it in quite resounding fashion, defending 158 to win by 70 runs, with Pauline te Beest (62) and Anita van Lier (4/24) doing the star turn.

England see off India in a pulsating climax

  In what was possibly the best match of the tournament, the hosts eked out a last-over victory against India. Brittin was in the thick of things again, scoring 100 in England’s total of 179 – they lost their last seven wickets for 22.

  The evergreen Indian captain Diana Edulji bowled splendidly, taking 4/12 with her left-arm spin. India went from 83/2 to 128/7 in reply, but the tail kept England on their toes. Eventually, number eleven Laya Francis was run out with four needed from two balls.

Underdogs play out a thriller of their own

  An equally exciting finish followed three days later, when Ireland staved off a brave Dutch challenge. The Netherlands could manage only 134/8, with skipper Nicola Payne (46) being the top scorer.

  Ireland looked on course at 60/2, but were put on the brink thanks to an incisive spell from Ariette van Noortwijk (4/21). It was left to Judith Herbison and Susan Bray, at nine and ten respectively, to stitch an unbroken stand of 32 and ensure a two-wicket win in the 57th over.

     Karen Smithies, England’s 24-year-old captain, receives the World Cup trophy at Lord’s. She was also the joint highest wicket-taker of the tournament (source – ICC/gettyimages)

New Zealand signal their intent with a clean slate

  The White Ferns failed to finish in the top two in the first four editions, but they were the standout team in the league phase this time, with seven wins out of seven. Despite being bowled out for 127 against England, they ensured that it was enough for a 25-run win.

  The lowest total, 40 by the Netherlands, of the tournament came against New Zealand, with Jennifer Turner taking 5/5. They reserved their best for Australia, blowing them away for 77 en route to a ten-wicket win.

Hosts prove their superiority in the summit clash

  However, New Zealand’s unbeaten streak was broke  when it mattered most – in the final at Lord’s on 1st August, 1993 – a historic occasion for the women’s game. England, whose only league loss had come against New Zealand, got back with a facile 67-run win to secure their second title.

  Brittin (48) and Carole Hodges (45) steered England to 195/5, before New Zealand ambled to 60/2 in the 27th over, at which point the run out of Debbie Hockley turned the tide towards England. New Zealand fell to 71/5, and never really recovered, terminating at 128 in the 56th over. Gillian Smith took 3/29 for the hosts.

Presenting the chart toppers

  Jan Brittin, England’s batting pillar, was the leading run-scorer in the tournament, tallying 410 runs at 51.25, including two hundreds. The highest individual score came from the bat of Helen Plimmer, who scored 118 for England against Ireland.

  Karen Smithies, captain of England, and Julie Harris of New Zealand – both medium pacers – were the leading wicket-takers with 15 scalps each, while New Zealand’s Jennifer Turner recorded the best bowling figures, a sensational 5/5 against the Netherlands.  

SPECIALS – Women’s Test cricket

  In this Specials edition, we take a look at the history and current scenario of women’s Test cricket around the world. Cricket might be universally known as the Gentlemen’s game, but women too have been playing Test cricket since 1934-35.

Dwindling Number Of Tests

  Unfortunately, the number of Women’s Tests are dwindling at a furious pace. A mere four Tests have been played in the last six seasons – highlighting the predicament of the longest format when it comes to Women’s cricket. The latest instance of a Test was in January 2011, when Australia Women beat England Women by 7 wickets in a one-off Test at the Bankstown Oval in Sydney. So far, ten nations have played Tests, which includes the top eight nations plus Ireland and Netherlands. But in spite of a 78 year-old history, only four nations have played more than 12 Tests – England (89), Australia (69), New Zealand (45) and India (34).

  In all, just 133 Tests have been played since Australia Women and England Women contested the first ever Women’s Test at Brisbane in 1934-35, a game which England Women won by 9 wickets. Not surprisingly, 45 of the 133 Tests have been Australia v England contests, Australia holding a 11-8 edge. The last Test which was not an Australia-England encounter was back in 2007, when Netherlands Women played their first and only Test against South Africa Women at Rotterdam – the hosts lost by 159 runs. Both Australia and England have the most wins, with 19 each.

220px-Test_cricket_-_women_-_1935      Action from the second Women’s Test between Australia and England at Sydney in 1934-35 (source – wikipedia.org)

Records

  The highest total in a Women’s Test is 569/6, made by Australia against England at Guildford in 1998, while the lowest is 35 by England against Australia at Melbourne in 1957-58. Among individual records, England’s Jan Brittin is the highest run-getter with 1935, followed by her countrywoman Rachael Heyhoe-Flint with a tally of 1594. Brittin also holds the record of playing most number of Tests – 27 from 1979-1998, and the most hundreds – 5. The leading wicket-taker is England’s Mary Duggan, who took 77 wickets including a sensational 7/6 against Australia at Melbourne in 1957-58.

  The best bowling figures in an innings are left-armer Neetu David’s 8/53 for India against England at Jamshedpur in 1995-96, while Pakistan’s leg-break bowler Shazia Khan holds the record for the best match-figures – she took 13/226 against West Indies Women at Karachi in 2003-04. Another Pakistani, Kiran Baluch, has the highest individual score – 242 in the same match mentioned above. Australia’s medium pacer Rene Farrell is the only woman to take a Test hat trick – she achieved he feat in the 2010-11 Sydney Test mentioned above. The ground where the most Tests have been staged is the County Ground in Worcester, which has hosted 9 Tests.

Australia-v-England---Day-007           Australia’s Rene Farrell is the only woman to have taken a Test hat-trick (source – theguardian.com)

The Origin Of Overarm Bowling

  When cricket originated, all bowlers delivered the ball underarm where the bowler’s hand is below waist height. However, so the story goes, in the early 1800’s, John Willes became the first bowler to use a ’round-arm’ technique after practicing with his sister Christina, who had used the technique, as she was unable to bowl underarm due to her wide dress impeding her delivery of the ball. Christina, due to her dress, basically invented overarm bowling – undoubtedly the single most important contribution by a woman to the game of cricket. 

_1711398_brittin300           England’s Jan Brittin – most matches, runs and centuries in Women’s Tests (source – bbc.co.uk)

Hall Of Fame

  Two Women’s Test cricketers have been included in the ICC Hall Of Fame – Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, who represented England in 22 Tests from 1960-1979 and Australian batswoman Belinda Clark, who played in 15 Tests from 1991-2005 – were inducted into the prestigious list in 2010 and 2011 respectively. 

158965-pn-zoe-goss  Zoe Goss, who played 12 Tests for Australia,  is famously known as the woman who once dismissed Brian Lara in an exhibition match (source – news.com.au)

Twenty20 Takes Over

  It is evident that the Twenty20 format is now regarded as the most popular and most frequently-played format when it comes to Women’s Cricket. 186 Women’s Twenty20 internationals have been contested since the inaugural match was played between England and New Zealand at Hove in August 2004 – interestingly, 6 months before the first Men’s Twenty20 international. In the same period, only 11 Women’s Tests have been played, thus signifying that sadly, the extinction of Women’s Tests might be a possibility. Surely, Twenty20 has proved to become the most viable format for Women’s cricket – both for the players and spectators, and the Women’s World Twenty20 is being held simultaneously along with the corresponding Men’s event since 2009. 

Apathy of the Administrators

  Hardly any efforts are made to promote Women’s cricket, and this leads to negligible media coverage and extremely low spectator turn-out. Women’s cricket needs to be marketed properly to generate interest and innovations like a new dress code must be brought in – but that is not happening.

  The 10th Women’s 50 overs World Cup is scheduled to be held in India in January 2013 – a tournament that will, to a certain extent determine how much importance is being given to the Women’s game by the administrators.