WINNERS ARE GRINNERS: England players celebrate winning the women's World Cup 2017 final against India at Lord's.
WINNERS ARE GRINNERS: England players celebrate winning the women's World Cup 2017 final against India at Lord's. Rui Vieira

Loss to Australia inspires England's World Cup win

A HEART-breaking loss to Australia last year set England on its path to Sunday's Women's World Cup final win over India at Lord's.

In last year's Women's World Twenty20 semi-final in Delhi England was 1-89, chasing 133, but lost 6-28 to fall short at 7-127.

England captain Heather Knight said that loss had been the "making of the team”.

After that match, the team's new coach Mark Robinson criticised England's fitness levels.

The hard work started and Sunday's win was evidence of England's increased speed between the wickets and in the field.

"I can't stop smiling,” Knight said.

"I am so proud of this group of girls. We made it hard for ourselves but I couldn't care less.”

India looked on course for a maiden World Cup at 3-191, chasing 229.

But the visitors didn't count on swing bowler Anya Shrubsole, who turned in a stunning 5-11 in 19 deliveries on her way to figures of 6-46 for the best return by any bowler in a Women's World Cup final.

The Indians lost their last seven wickets for 28 runs and finished on 219 all out for England to win by nine runs with eight balls to spare.

While Punam Raut was at the crease, India looked as if they would repeat their opening pool win over England.

But her exit on 86, lbw to Shrubsole, sparked a collapse that saw England win their first major trophy since 2009.

Victory also gave England a fourth World Cup title in 11 editions and third in the three staged on their home soil.

"I am a little lost for words,” Shrubsole said.

"We could have easily fallen away but to stay in the game and be world champions is amazing.”

For India captain Mithali Raj, at the age of 34, this was probably her last chance to win the World Cup.

"It wasn't easy for England but credit to them. They kept their nerve. We panicked and they came out victorious,” she said.

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