U19 Women’s World Cup: Inspired India thrash England in final

POTCHEFSTROOM (Agencies): An inspired India won the first Women’s Under-19 World Cup by thrashing England in a one-sided final in South Africa.
In the face of high-quality bowling and an exceptional fielding performance England struggled on the big occasion and were bowled out for just 68.
Liberty Heap fell for a duck in the first over before captain and key batter Grace Scrivens became the second of two wickets in the fourth over.
From 16-3 India continued to take regular wickets, including a diving, one-handed catch from Archana Devi and a direct hit run-out by Soumya Tiwari.
England had progressed impressively to the final but were outclassed by an India side which featured two full internationals, including captain Shafali Verma.
The superstar opener was caught for 15 in the third over of the chase, India slipping to 20-2, but her side still cruised to victory with seven wickets and six overs to spare.
When the final runs came the India players charged onto the field in celebration – this the cricket superpower’s first victory in a women’s World Cup.
India prove too good for England
Unfortunately for England their worst performance in a tournament in which they had progressed unbeaten came in the final. India, meanwhile, were superb.
They made a number of diving stops to apply pressure early on after seamer Titas Sadhu, who took 2-6 from four overs, had Heap caught and bowled with the fourth ball of the innings.
The highlight of that athletic fielding effort was the catch from Devi – who also had Scrivens caught at long-on with her off-spin – to dismiss Ryana MacDonald-Gay – the only England batter to threaten with 19.
Devi swooped to her right at extra cover before plucking the ball inches above the ground and Tiwari later hit with a throw from cover to run out Josie Groves.
When Richa Ghosh, a wicketkeeper who has played 47 times for India’s senior side, produced a smart stumping to dismiss Hannah Baker there was a feeling her side could do no wrong.
England needed everything to go right to thwart India’s chase to have any chance but dropped two catches in the first five overs. Even the winning runs hit by Tiwari, who ended 24 not out, came with a misfield.
While the performance was disappointing from England, the result and the tournament as a whole – the first of its kind in the women’s game – generates real excitement for the future of the sport.
The auction for the first inaugural Women’s Premier League is set to take place next month – a tournament set to change the landscape of the female game – and some of these India players could be signed for large sums.
The Board for Control of Cricket in India has also announced £500,000 in prize money for the victorious squad while the performances from the other 15 nations involved over the past two weeks, from Rwanda and Indonesia to England and Australia, have shown there is a bright future ahead.