The Indian Women's Cricket team is on the cusp of history as they are set to clash to set with England at the iconic Lord's ground in the ICC Women's World Cup final on Sunday.
The team has won most of its matches and reached the finals of the premier tournament on the back of some brilliant performances from players like Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur, Poonam Raut, Veda Krishnamurthy, Jhulan Goswami and others.
If the Indian women lay their hands on the coveted trophy, it could spur a revolution in women's cricket just as the 1983 world cup victory by Kapil Dev led team had done for men's cricket.England have won the World Cup on two earlier occasions in 1973 and 1993. However, in this competition, India defeated them once in the group stage and would aim to repeat the heroics one last time.
Let's have a look at how the Indian team demolished various oppositions in their road to the finals.
Indian Women's Cricket team began the World Cup in a triumphant fashion as they defeated England by 35 runs. Batting first, India scored 281/3 in 50 overs. Openers Punam Raut, Smriti Mandhana and captain Mithali Raj chipped in with individual half-centuries. Later, England were bowled out for 246 in 47.3 overs as the spinners used their guile to trap the English batsmen.
India carried on the momentum in the second match as well and their spinners choked West Indies to 183/8 in 50 overs. Deepti Sharma, Poonam Yadav and Harmanpreet Kaur scalped two wickets each to restrict the Windies. Smriti Mandhana hit a brilliant unbeaten 106 and Mithali scored 46 runs to guide the team to a seven-wicket win.
Indian ladies thrashed arch-rivals Pakistan at County Ground, Derby as the juggernaut rolled on. India’s potent bowling attack led by Ekta Bisht completely outplayed Pakistani girls to secure a thumping victory. Despite scoring only 169 runs, Indian spinners led by Ekta's fifer, completely dismantled the Pakistan line up.
India defeated Sri Lanka by 16 runs in the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup. Deepti Sharma was adjudged the player of the match as she gave an outstanding all-round performance to help India register their 4th consecutive victory and sail into the semi-finals of the tournament.
Sri Lanka could score only 216 runs in their 50 overs for the loss of 7 wickets in response to India's 232 runs for 8 wickets.
India’s four-match winning streak in the Women’s World Cup was brought to a crashing halt with a 115-run loss against South Africa, following an abject batting surrender on Saturday.
The star South African performer was captain Dane van Niekerk who first made a valuable 57 off 66 balls to guide South Africa to 273 for nine before taking four wickets with leg-spin to help her team bundle out the Indians for 158 in 46 overs.
India's semifinal hopes suffered a major jolt after Australia notched up a comfortable eight-wicket win, riding on a superb show by their top-order batswoman in the ICC Women's World Cup. Put into bat, opener Punam Raut's fighting century and a69 from record-breaking skipper Mithali Raj enabled India to post a decent 226 for seven in their sixth group league encounter.
However, Australia overhauled the target with 29 balls to spare, scoring 227 for two, courtesy some fantastic batting display by skipper Meg Lanning (76 not out) and Ellyse Perry(60 not out).
India needed to win their clash against New Zealand to make way into the semi-final. In a do-or-die match at Derby, Mithali Raj played a captain’s knock when she scored 109 while Veda Krishnamurthy’s quickfire 45-ball 70 anchored India to 265/7.
Rajeshwari Gayakwad claimed five wickets to bundle out New Zealand for 79 runs as India made their way to the semi-finals of the premier tournament.
Indian batting superstar Harmanpreet Kaur hit a whirlwind century as India cruised to the final of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup by defeating Australia in the semi-finals by 36 runs.
Harmanpreet hit unbeaten 175 runs off just 115 deliveries with the help of 20 fours and 7 sixes to take India to a massive score of 281 runs. The Indian fast bowlers Jhulan Goswami and Shikha Pandey bowled impeccable line and lengths to claim three early Australian wickets. Australia could never recover from the early blows and India landed into their second final.
India is now playing England in the final of the premier tournament and millions of fans will expect them to bring the coveted trophy home.