This world cup was packed with thrillers, finishers and game changers.
Contests whose eventuality you just couldn’t predict made this event very watchable and kept the competitiveness among the teams booming to greater degree.
The players who pulled out one of the brilliant comebacks are the heart of many wins. The adaptation to trying circumstances gave the edge for these finishers to be phenomenal at what they do.
These moments boosted the quality of cricket played and the competitiveness between the teams.
The opening match of the tournament was a trailer to the cricket extravaganza that was to take place. Windies won two back-to-back matches from a situation where they had to create their own chances to do the unthinkable. The White Ferns were racing towards their first win; meanwhile Windies were running out of bowling options. Dottin, who last bowled 5 months back became their trump card. She bowled two perfect yorkers to dismiss the well set Katey Martin. The lower-order collapse was soon triggered after the fall of two quick wickets. The final run out was the knockout blow. They got to the unbelievable feet with perfect execution of disciplined bowling that took the game away from the hosts.
In the next match against England, Windies were put in a similar spot like the previous match. As soon as the stable partnership of Dunkley and Wyatt was broken, the West Indies saw a chance to stifle the defending champions. Connell struck immediately to remove Brunt without allowing her settle down. Dottin took a sharp catch to remove the last recognisable batter in the line-up. Kate Cross and Sophie Ecclestone continued to grind for runs. Cross was dismissed for a run out when Eccelestone hit right beside Cross when Anisa Mohammed actively got some hand on to it before getting directly deflected on to the stumps. Cross was short of her crease. Shrubsole missed the line and this way Anisa placed West Indies as the front runners to the semi finals. Veteran Anisa Mohammed and Shamilia Connell crippled the England’s lower order and they were just short of 7-runs.
In the match against Bangladesh, after putting upon a bad show against the debutants of the World cup, Windies were reduced to just 140 runs. Though it looked like an easy chance for Bangladesh to chase the target, the spin trio turned the match by attacking right from the first over. Both openers got out within the power play overs. It needed a solid partnership to bat through, but Bangladesh missed the trick. The early onslaught by the spinners to remove the core players batting line-up . Despite a fighting knock by Salma Khatun and Nahida Akter, they were agonisingly short of 4 runs. The turnaround with the ball led to a famous victory, which was despite a grim outing with the bat.
Though, they played to their strengths and kept taking chances despite the odds being against their favour.
Bangladesh’s win over Pakistan is a testimony of how the recent Women’s World Cup proved to be a level playing field for the teams. If there was ever a tournament where less (runs) proved more in the end, then this was it.
Bangladesh registered their first win in the World cup and Pakistan stumbled to the fearlessness of the Bangladesh squad. The bowlers put them in frontline to halt Pakistan’s brisk chase. The spinners- Fahima Khatun and Rumana Ahmed- dismissed the entire middle and lower order line up as Pakistan lost seven wickets in a span of six overs.
Though the thing that worked beautifully for a highly inexperienced side was the pressure Bangladesh mounted on their opponents thanks to disciplined bowling.
Even in the match that followed, experienced campaigner Salma Khatun stifled the mighty Aussie line-up at Basin Reserve. This was an exhilarating feat, as Bangladesh didn’t make it an easy chase even for the side that would go on to lift the cup. Her fighting effort installed more confidence in the team. Picking the wickets of the top the batters in the Aussies line-up is a phenomenal achievement, something the team would cherish as a great memory.
Needless to say, Bangladesh bowling is an invaluable asset that the side will bank on in the future.
The Proteas squad is one that converted the smallest opportunities into victorious moments. They worked throughout the tournament to close the narrowest gaps to win matches. Every time this team needed a saviour or a finisher, there arose different heroes who executed their role to perfection.
South Africa’s best all-rounder Marizanne Kapp was in amazing form, and in a few games battled out single-handedly to finish matches. The ever-reliant Mignon Du Preez played a game-changing knock in this tournament to win the thriller against India, her victorious hit on the final ball with one needed, enabling the Proteas to knock India out of the World Cup.
Though South Africa got to brilliant starts against New Zealand and India, they needed a finisher with calm nerves and composure in pressure situations. Du Preez, now retired, played that role.
The former captain, Du Preez held the fort and the innings together after India tried hard to make inroads to win the game. Her efficient strike rotation and timely boundaries hampered India chance’s to prevail in the end.
Kapp brilliantly took the onus on herself against New Zealand despite a late collapse in the lineup. She led the chase against India and guided others to hold on to one end. The crucial partnership between her and Ayabonga Khaka was the key to steer through the innings when South Africa’s yet again won this thriller.
The White Ferns were just one wicket away from stunning England by the barest of margins. It took a brave lower order batter to bat for England’s chances to stay alive in the tournament. The defending champions once again relied on their supremely talented medium pacer, Anya Shrubsole, an expert at in-swingers, to play for England’s cause. Though the required run rate was not even a run-a-ball, it was important that the right arm seamer saved the wicket.
New Zealand made a significant comeback and this choked England later in the match. She guided England closer to the semis by holding her nerve and by smashing the winning run. This ended the host’s run in the tournament, perhaps a moment where they’d have felt massively let down by their own performance, rather the lack of any.
If there was a thriller that perhaps none expected to see, given how two massively different sides- in form and capability- took on each other, then it was the Southern Stars’ contest against Bangladesh.
Beth Mooney played the saviour and was the most flexible batter ever in the game, taking full onus of a tricky run chase on her shoulders after a flurry of three quick wickets, all falling to Salma Khatun threatened the domineering Australian side.
But on a day where it seemed that the less likely force would prevail over the prominent one, Beth Mooney’s unbeaten 66 just changed the complexion, and eventually, the fate of the game.
Beth Mooney played the anchor role to put the pressure back on the opposition. She was running out of partners as Annabel Sutherland was the last assort to put on a partnership.
The capable left-hander, ever unflustered amid pressure, took the control back through a counter attacking that eventually soared against an impressive bowling attack.
Her calm presence and absolute determination to prevail over pressure Australia over the line. With this game, the World cup saw matches boiling down to the last over for a staggering 9 times.
Unprecedented? Who saw this coming? The adjectives will run along for much longer. But even as the Aussies proved themselves to be the invincibles, one can’t eschew showering praise on the gritty effort by Bangladesh, who perhaps none gave a chance to make a match out of the contest.