Women's bowling performance of the year February 19, 2018

Anya mania

The best figures in a women's World Cup final

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Anya Shrubsole
6 for 46 v India, Women's World Cup final, Lord's


A decade and a half after Shrubsole first went to Lord's, as a ten-year-old, to watch her father play in a club final, she returned for a final of her own. The World Cup final. The England women's team enjoyed a strong run at the tournament, winning seven matches in succession after their loss to India in the opener, including in a nail-biting semi-final against South Africa, but their best moment was saved for last, and for Shrubsole.

Despite having the tournament's leading run scorer, Tammy Beaumont, in their ranks, England ended with a below-par score of 228 for 7, but Shrubsole gave them the first glimmer it could be enough. In her opening over, she snuck through Smriti Mandhana's bat-pad gap to leave India 5 for 1. The real heroics came later.

India were 191 for 3 when Shrubsole trapped Punam Raut lbw to start gnawing into their chase. Alex Hartley bowled Sushma Verma four balls later, and then it was the Shrubsole show. She was ice-cool under pressure, taking four wickets in her next 17 balls and effecting a run-out from point to deny India a maiden World Cup title, while securing England a fourth.

Shrubsole also became the first woman to feature on the cover of the Wisden Almanack, showing that even the sturdiest of glass ceilings can be shattered.

Key moment


England's World Cup dream was dented when they managed a below par total in their 50 overs, and seemed dashed when India needed 38 runs off 43 balls to win with seven wickets in hand. Punam Raut, on 86, was well set when Shrubsole slid one in from wide of the crease and hit her on the knee roll. The Indian opener considered a review but by the time she wanted one it was too late, and even if she had asked for a second opinion, replays showed the ball would have gone on to hit the stumps. That wicket sparked a collapse in which India lost seven for 28, five to Shrubsole's bowling and one to her fielding.

The numbers


6 for 46 Not only Shrubsole's career-best, but also the best figures in a World Cup final and the first time a bowler had taken five wickets or more in a World Cup final. Shrubsole's return is also the second-best by an England bowler in an ODI, after Jo Chamberlain's 7 for 8 against Denmark, and the 13th-best overall.

In the space of 17 balls, Shrubsole turned the World Cup final in England's favour © Getty Images

What they said


"Anya Shrubsole, what a hero." - Heather Knight

"I thought we would see a special performance from her today. She hasn't had the best of tournaments, but in the back of my mind, I felt there was a big performance left in the bag. She is so calm under pressure, cool, and I'm just so pleased for her." - Charlotte Edwards

The closest contenders


Dane van Niekerk, 4 for 0 v West Indies, World Cup, Leicester
The South African captain became the only bowler in international cricket to take four wickets without conceding a run, and she did it hoping she would be able to land the ball, after a poor net session the day before. Her wickets came in the space of 20 balls as West Indies were bowled out for 48.

Rajeshwari Gayakwad, 5 for 15 v New Zealand, Derby
After the heroics of their batsmen and a sweltering new-ball spell from the quicks had done half the job for India, Gayakwad took her maiden five-for to dismiss New Zealand for 79.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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