The Indian women’s cricket team is on the cusp of creating some glorious history! Having shocked defending champions and tournament favourites Australia in the semi-final on Thursday evening (20 July, 2017), Mithali Raj and Co. are ready to face hosts England in the final of the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 on Sunday (23 July, 2017) at Lord’s.
Here are five key things to watch out for on what will be a Super July Sunday:
1. Captain Cool: A deep student of the game, India captain Mithali Raj broke the internet last month after appearing to read a book just before her batting stint in the team’s opener against England. With the bat, the highest women’s ODI run-getter, Raj has carried the team’s fortunues on her experienced shoulders, yet again. With 392 runs in 8 matches at a staggering average of 80.80, the skipper has let her bat do most of the talking. Her match-winning hundred in the do-or-die last league game against New Zealand was a prime example of her batting prowess. Having led the side to a World Cup final in 2005 in South Africa, Mithali will hope that Lord’s final inspires her team to do what Kapil Dev and Co. had done 34 years back in 1983 at the same venue.
2. Harmanpreet’s brilliance: In 2016, Harmanpreet Kaur became the first Indian cricketer to play in the Women’s Big Bash League in Australia. Fast forward to 20th July 2017, her knock was a major reason for Australia’s exit from the Women’s World Cup. Having had a silent WC so far, Kaur had showed glimpses of her coming back to form when she made 60 against New Zealand in the previous match. But nobody had expected what she did to Australia in the semis. Kaur’s unbeaten 171 off 115 balls had 20 fours and 7 sixes, which helped India set a winning total and has definitely increased their morale.
3. The final hurrah for two legends: The Indian women’s team is blessed to have two stalwarts of the game still playing, former captain Jhulan Goswami and current captain Mithali Raj. Making their debuts in 1999 and 2002 respectively, both Raj and Goswami have been the backbones of our squad and are now the leading run-getter and highest wicket taker in ODI cricket. With this being their last World Cup in all likelihood, Indian cricket fans would love to see them lift the ICC Women’s World Cup trophy on Sunday.
4. History awaits us? Having ended as runners-up in 2005, this Indian team has a chance to create history on Sunday. This will be India’s second appearance in a World Cup final and Mithali Raj and team would be eager to end the campaign on a high. The whole squad looks ready for the big final against England as a complete team effort would be required to win this high-pressure match. Both teams faced each other in the opening game that India went on to win by 35 runs & will now fancy their chances against the same opposition.
5. Will Indians finally celebrate in London? About a month back, on 18th June 2017, the Indian men’s cricket team fell short in their attempt at adding another ICC trophy to their cabinet (ICC Champions Trophy) at The Oval in London by an inspired Pakistan cricket team. Indian fans who were at the ground that day went home a disappointed lot. However, the women’s team have given these supporters in England, a reason to go north of Thames river and come out in strong numbers at Lord’s in the summit clash on Sunday. The task won’t be an easy one while playing against England, but with the crowd’s support and some excellent cricket, history can be written by the Indian women’s cricket team at the traditional home of world cricket.