WCup hero­ine Shrub­sole lives out Lord’s dream

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Anya Shrub­sole said her match-win­ning dis­play in England’s Women’s World Cup fi­nal win over In­dia at Lord’s on Sun­day was proof that dreams can come true. The 25-yearold pace bowler turned the match on its head with a spell of five wick­ets for 11 runs late on as England snatched a nine-run win. In­dia were on course for vic­tory at 191 for three, chas­ing 229. But they were dis­missed for 219 to deny cap­tain Mithali Raj a win­ner’s medal in what the star bats­man said was her last World Cup match. Just days be­fore the fi­nal Ian Shrub­sole, Anya’s fa­ther, tweeted a pic­ture of his then nine-yearold daugh­ter watch­ing him play in a club fi­nal at Lord’s, with the cap­tion: “What a place! I’d like to play here... for England... in a World Cup fi­nal.”

Fol­low­ing her stun­ning dis­play in front of a sold-out Lord’s, Shrub­sole, whose re­turn of six for 46 was the best by any bowler in a Women’s World Cup fi­nal, joked: “Dad’s Twit­ter pro­file has gone through the roof! “If some­one had said to me that all this time later I’d be at Lord’s, win­ning a World Cup fi­nal, I would have laughed them away-you never think that sort of thing hap­pens.”

Re­call­ing that child­hood visit to Lord’s, Shrub­sole told BBC Ra­dio Five Live: “I re­mem­ber the day, I re­mem­ber watch­ing him in that gameI don’t re­mem­ber say­ing that but I guess it just shows that dreams can come true.”

This World Cup al­tered many en­trenched per­cep­tions re­gard­ing women’s cricket, with Kapil Dev, cap­tain of the In­dia side that won the 1983 men’s World Cup fi­nal at Lord’s, telling the Hindu news­pa­per: “Mithali’s team too has won the hearts of the na­tion. “I know that not ev­ery daugh­ter will be­come a cham­pion, but I am sure that the mind­set of par­ents is bound to change now.” He added: “Hon­estly, I was not a keen fol­lower of women’s cricket, but I am their big­gest fan now. I am sure... peo­ple will pray to be blessed with daugh­ters. Hats off to them.” Shrub­sole agreed this World Cup had marked a turn­ing point for the women’s game, with the fi­nal draw­ing a global tele­vi­sion au­di­ence of 100 mil­lion ac­cord­ing to some es­ti­mates.

“I think it’s a wa­ter­shed mo­ment for women’s cricket,” said Shrub­sole. “The fi­nal was a re­ally fit­ting trib­ute to the whole tour­na­ment, which has been bril­liant from start to fin­ish.

“We ob­vi­ously set out to win, but we also want to in­spire women and girls to play cricket and hope­fully our win, and the way we have played, has done that.” As for the thrilling con­clu­sion to the fi­nal, Shrub­sole-also in­volved in a run-out-said: “Once we got Raut it just gave us a lit­tle bit of hope, a lit­tle chance with the new bat­ters com­ing in un­der a huge amount of pres­sure.” There threat­ened to be a late twist when, with In­dia nine wick­ets down but still in sight of vic­tory, Jenny Gunn dropped an easy catch to re­prieve No 11 Ra­jesh­wari Gayak­wad. But Shrub­sole-who struck a first-ball four to seal a two-wicket semi-fi­nal win over South Africa af­ter England al­most snatched de­feat from the jaws of vic­tory-bowled Gayak­wad next ball.

In the end, England’s to­tal in the fi­nal of 228 for seven, fea­tur­ing Natalie Sciver’s 51 and valu­able late-or­der runs had proved just enough. “It’s still pretty sur­real to be hon­est,” said Shrub­sole. “You’ve al­ways got to be­lieve you can win no mat­ter what the score and no mat­ter what the game sit­u­a­tion. “We fought un­til the end and it came off.”

LON­DON: England’s Anya Shrub­sole (R) raises the tro­phy af­ter win­ning the ICC Women’s World Cup cricket fi­nal be­tween England and In­dia at Lord’s cricket ground in Lon­don on Sun­day.— AFP

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