England eye ‘perfect’ World Cup final

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Anya Shrubsole hit the winning runs in England’s semi-final win over South Africa
ICC Women’s World Cup final: England v India
Venue: Lord’s Date: Sunday, 23 July Time: 10:30 BST
Coverage: In-play video highlights, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and text commentary on the BBC Sport website, mobile and app.

Seamer Anya Shrubsole says England are aiming to produce the “perfect game” when they face India in the Women’s World Cup final at Lord’s on Sunday.

England have won six straight matches since losing the opening game to India.

“It gave us many lessons to learn,” Shrubsole, 25, told BBC World Service’s Stumped.

“Since then we’ve moved forward. The exciting thing is we feel like we’ve yet to put a perfect game together. Fingers crossed it happens on Sunday.”

England captain Heather Knight has confirmed that her side will be unchanged for the final.

It is is a sell-out at Lord’s, where women could not enter the Long Room as members until 1999, with more than 26,500 expected to attend.

The ground last hosted the showpiece in 1993, when England beat New Zealand by 67 runs.

Kaur’s superb innings helps India reach final

England trained at Lord’s this summer, and Shrubsole said they are as prepared as they could be for the final.

“We ensured that if we got to the World Cup final there weren’t too many surprises,” she added.

“We knew the surroundings really well. We knew what to expect. It was always a ‘just in case’ but also to inspire us. All that will stand us in good stead now that we’ve made the final.”

India, who finished third in the group, stunned 2013 champions Australia in the last four to reach their first final since 2005.

“If we pull it off it’s a big thing back in India,” said captain Mithali Raj. “Everybody has always emphasised that we need to win ICC tournaments.

“This is the stage and this is the platform.”


Former England batter Lydia Greenway

With the rivalry, Australia-England would have been the better match-up, but India reaching the final is much better for the global game and women’s cricket in general.

They have already probably surpassed expectations and the having the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli tweet about it has brought in a completely new audience.

We have seen a bit of shift in India’s attitude towards women’s cricket.

India’s Harmanpreet Kaur (left) takes a selfie with a fan after victory over Australia in the semi-finals

‘Increase in support has seen increase in popularity’

The International Cricket Council (ICC) increased prize money for this tournament from $200,000 (£153,750) in 2013 to $2m (£1,537,500) this year, while every match was broadcast live for the first time.

Holly Colvin, a member of the England side who won the World Cup in 2009 and now ICC women’s cricket officer, said: “In just four years the global game has exploded.

“Prize money is 10 times what it was and we’ve had every ball being televised. Chamari Atapattu’s 178 not out for Sri Lanka would have been lost otherwise.”

According to the ICC, average ticket sales – almost 1,700 per game – have been the highest in World Cup history.

Colvin added: “We’re seeing that crowd attendances are not made up of just family and friends. It’s of people who want to see women’s cricket.

“There’s been support all around the country – 50% of attendance was made up of women and girls, and 30% of them were under 16. That’s been an exciting part.”

England v India – the pre-match stats

  • If India win, they will become only the fourth nation to win the World Cup (Australia have won six, England three and New Zealand one)
  • England have won their past two World Cup finals, beating New Zealand in 1993 and 2009
  • India have won 16 of their 19 one-day internationals in 2017, while England have won won seven of their eight – their only defeat coming against India
  • Three of the past four World Cup finals have been won by the side batting first
  • India captain Mithali Raj has scored the most one-day international runs (1,605) against England
  • Harmanpreet Kaur’s unbeaten 171 not out for India in the semi-final was the fourth highest score in World Cup history
  • England’s Natalie Sciver is the only player to make more than one century during the 2017 competition

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