England edged past India in front of a packed house at Lord’s to secure the 2017 Women’s World Cup in a scintillating grand finale.
Having won the toss and elected to bat, England posted 228-7 thanks in part to a partnership of 83 by Natalie Sciver and Sarah Taylor, who have both enjoyed fantastic tournaments.
India’s Jhulan Goswami, who has taken more Women’s ODI wickets than any other, claimed three key scalps, which were pivotal in restricting England.
In reply, India appeared to be making serene progress, with Punam Raut and semi-final hero Harmanpreet Kaur well set. But the dismissal of Raut for 86 gave England an opportunity and Anya Shrubsole grabbed it with both hands, running through the rest of the India batting line-up and sealing victory with a swinging yorker.
Shrubsole’s match figures of 6-46 was a record in a Women’s World Cup Final, and she rightly scooped the Player of the Match award.
Many WWC17 Classic Fantasy gamers watched on with a vested interest, hoping the points they earned would propel them up the leaderboard.
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Here we round up the pick of the stats from WWC17 Classic Fantasy:
Best batter: Harmanpreet Kaur, India (8.0)
Kaur had a quiet start, with a high score of 24 going into India’s final group game against New Zealand. Since then, she’s been unstoppable, racking up three consecutive fifty-plus scores, including an astonishing 171* against Australia, which knocked the defending champions out of the competition at the semi-final stage. She finished with 359 runs and 672 Classic Fantasy points. Top work.
Best bowler: Katherine Brunt, England (8.5)
Brunt crossed the 100 ODI landmark during the tournament and was consistent with bat and ball. Despite only taking five wickets, the leader of the attack was consistently economical and contributed vital lower-order runs at a good strike-rate, including 45* against Australia and a pivotal 34 in the final. She registered 462 Classic Fantasy points in total.
Best wicketkeeper: Sarah Taylor, England (7.5)
Having taken a break from England duty, Taylor could not have dreamt of a better way to return to international cricket. Her 99 knockout-stage runs held her side together, while against South Africa in the group stages she made her ODI personal best, 147, in a partnership of 275 with Tammy Beaumont. She was just as good behind the stumps, effecting six dismissals, including a leg-side stumping of South Africa’s Trisha Chetty in the semi-final that will live long in the memory. Her 690 Classic Fantasy points were the most by a non-all-rounder.
Best all-rounder and highest point-scorer: Natalie Sciver, England (7.0)
A breakout tournament for a player who will now be considered among the world’s elite. It was with the bat that Sciver dazzled; she was the only player to score two centuries, while her tournament strike-rate of 108 was also exceptional – the most by any player with more than 250 runs. Her innovative ‘Natmeg’ shot was one of the most iconic moments of the tournament. She wasn’t bad with the ball or in the field either, taking seven wickets at 29 and grappling six key catches. She finished on 840 Classic Fantasy points. An awesome achievement for someone still learning their craft.
The Big Shot – most sixes: Lizelle Lee, South Africa (8.0)
Lee has a reputation as a fearsome striker of the ball – after 59 ODIs, she already sits second on the list of most sixes in the format – and she didn’t disappoint, smashing 12 maximums. Seven of those came in one innings as she smashed 92 off 65 against India – the third occasion on which she has belted seven sixes in an ODI innings. West Indies Deandra Dottin, Harmanpreet Kaur and New Zealand’s Sophie Devine are the only others who have done so – once.
Best bargain: Tammy Beaumont, England (5.5)
Beaumont only fully established herself in the side a year ago; after scoring 342 runs in a three-match ODI series against Pakistan, she secured the opening berth following the retirement of Charlotte Edwards. In this tournament, she notched 145 against a South Africa attack many consider the sharpest around, 93 against a strong New Zealand side to guarantee semi-final qualification, and 49 against pre-tournament favourites Australia – England’s highest scorer in the game. Beaumont was remarkably consistent; she was never dismissed in single figures and topped the run-scoring charts with 410, making her a steal at 5.5.
You’re a savvy lot you Classic Fantasy gamers, and you clearly looked at the stats before picking your XIs for the final. Sarah Taylor, Heather Knight and Natalie Sciver were all among the top four most-selected players, with the trio also ending the tournament in the top-five Classic Fantasy point-scorers.
Elsewhere, there was lots of faith shown in India’s Smriti Mandhana – the sixth most popular pick despite a high-score of 13 since her second game of the tournament. Australia’s Ellyse Perry had even more fans; she was the fifth-most popular pick for the final despite Australia being knocked out in the semis! She’s good, but not that good!
England edged the Classic Fantasy Finals Day Dream Team with six players to India’s five. Experienced bowlers were the top point-scorers on both sides; Anya Shrubsole with 186 – more than a third of her overall tournament points – and Jhulan Goswami with 104. This bucked the trend of the tournament, where bowlers rarely threatened the top ten highest point-scorers in any given round.
Ultimate Dream Team
The overall Classic Fantasy Dream Team was also dominated by finalists, as they contributed nine of the 11 players – four from India, five from England. The two others were both from Australia – Nicole Bolton and Ellyse Perry, who both had excellent tournaments. Perry was especially prolific, racking up 814 points – just 26 points off Natalie Sciver in first place, despite playing one game fewer.