Anya Shrubsole was 10 years old when her father, Ian played in a club final at Lord's. That day she told him she would like to play at the ground too. For England. In a World Cup final. She left out the part about winning. England almost left that part out too.
Despite boasting four of the top 10 run-scorers in the tournament, they posted a below-par score in the final. Only three totals lower than their 228 had been successfully defended in the competition, twice against a team that did not win a match. India's 169 and Sri Lanka's 221 were both enough against Pakistan. England themselves had turned 220 into enough against West Indies but this was India.
India, who had beaten Australia, who were the defending champions. India, whose captain Mithali Raj was five runs away from overtaking Tammy Beaumont as the leading run-scorer before this match and whose No.4 Harmanpreet Kaur had played the most dominant innings in women's ODI history just three days ago. India, who were in the process of revolutionising the women's game. And India, who until the 43rd over, were on track and in luck.
The things England usually do right, they did wrong. Heather Knight dropped a catch, Sarah Taylor missed a stumping, Katherine Brunt misfielded. The occasion, the rare occasion in which women's teams could play at Lord's, rarer still because it was in front of a full house, seemed to be getting to the hosts. Aerial shots were falling safe, gaps were being pierced and Punam Raut was overcoming cramp to play what was shaping as a tournament-winning knock.
With Laura Marsh bowled out, Heather Knight brought Shrubsole back in the 43rd over even as she got the sense "things were slipping away." After the first two balls, they only seemed to slip further. Veda Krishnamurthy struck back-to-back boundaries, India were 191 for 3 and needed 38 off 44 balls. Even a wicket at that stage would only be consolation, right? Maybe not.
Shrubsole slid one in from wide of the crease that struck Raut on the knee roll. She was given out. By the time Raut wanted to review, it was too late so she had to go. The review would have been wasted anyway. The ball was going on to hit the stumps.
Watching on Raj still wore her pads, as though she was hopeful she may get to bat again. She said afterwards that was not when the butterflies stirred. Neither was it in the next over when Sushma Verma tried to sweep and gloved the ball onto her stumps. India had lost two wickets in five balls but Krishnamurthy was still there. Between those dismissals, she'd executed a gorgeous inside-out cover-drive off Alex Hartley. As far as Raj was concerned, India still had. As far as Shrubsole was concerned, they didn't.
Shrubsole was sure England had created enough pressure to cause doubt in their opposition's minds. With the level of noise, even though it was evenly split in favour of both sides, and the significance of the game, she thought that the two wickets they'd already taken could bring a few more. She was almost proved right the very next ball. India were feeling the heat and Deepti Sharma wanted to be anywhere but on strike. She dabbed the ball into the offside and set off even though Krishnamurthy was not interested. She had to turn back and was saved by a dive but it was obvious there was some kind of panic.
At the end of that over, Krishnamurthy decided she would have to do it on her own. Two balls into the next over, she aimed for the stands and slogged but toe-ended it to midwicket. The next time she tried that, Shrubsole took pace off the ball and Nat Sciver settled under a simple catch. Shrubsole ended the over by castling Jhulan Goswami and by then, she was certain all the "key wickets" wickets had been taken. But Raj, still believed.
Sharma and Shikha Pandey, in particular, was "the last person I felt could pull the match through", Raj said. So when Sharma survived a stumping off Shrubsole's next over, an over she only bowled because she had taken wickets in the previous one after she got wind that Knight was going to take her off, Raj was relieved but Shrubsole may have started to stress. Especially because at that exact moment, a powder-puff drizzle pattered onto the ground.
Shrubsole was sent to point for Jenny Gunn to bowl the 48th over. India still needed 14 runs off 18 balls, England needed three wickets. The first ball was steered to third man, the second pushed to Shrubsole and the third wide down leg. 11 runs. 15 balls. Three wickets. Gunn had to bowl the third ball again and Pandey hit it to point again, harder than the first time and ran anyway. Shrubsole collected it and threw awkwardly, Taylor had to try and find her feet while whipping off the bails, Pandey was nowhere near her crease. Raj knew, Shrubsole knew, it seemed everyone knew at that moment where the trophy was going.
But those 11 runs were still gettable by the time Shrubsole took the ball at the start of the penultimate over and she had to make sure she did not give them away, especially after their seemed a final twist. Two balls after Sharma had been foxed into skying one to midwicket, Gunn dropped a gift at mid-off. Shrubsole was so sure she would catch it, she was about to charge up to her in celebration and then "had to hold myself back." She showed very little emotion, and certainly no anger or disappointment or frustration as England had before. She was already sure it was over.
"As a batter down the order myself, if you get a full, straight ball, it's going to be hard to hit," she said. So that's what she delivered to Rajeshwari Gayakwad and that's what secured England's fourth World Cup. "Pure elation," is what Shrubsole said she felt afterwards. "Because we were out of the game but came back."
England did exactly the same thing earlier in the week, against South Africa in the semi-final and it was Shrubsole who showed the steel then, too. She hit the winning runs and strutted around like she was born to do it. "We call her 'Hoof' because she sometimes walks like a show pony with her feet," Gunn said. "She was proper serious and I was like 'we've got this.' She just charged and smashed it through the covers for four which no-one has managed to do all day, but she timed it for four and then jumped at me."
It's moments like that Shrubsole lives for. "Enjoying the pressure," is why she plays this game. At least one person was enjoying it with her.
Ian has been Anya and England's biggest fan through this tournament. He has also become what Anya called a "new media super-star" who has "never had this much popularity on Twitter" born through his support of the team. From congratulations to Fran Wilson and Nat Sciver to an interview on Test Match Special, dad Shrubsole has enjoyed this tournament as much his daughter.
"Proud parent," he posted, captioning a photograph of Anya celebrating the win against South Africa in the semi-final. "Super proud parent," he wrote in the same post, about the adjacent image of her consoling a distraught Dane van Niekerk.
This time he might have to find some new words.