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Anya Shrubsole: Bowling star who gave England the Women’s Cricket World Cup

Anya Shrubsole captured six wickets for 46 as England defeat India to lift the Women’s Cricket World Cup title for the fourth time.

cricket Updated: Jul 24, 2017 15:46 IST
Bihan Sengupta
Bihan Sengupta
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Anya Shrubsole,Women’s Cricket World Cup,Indian women's cricket team
England's Anya Shrubsole celebrates taking the wicket of India's Jhulan Goswami during the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup.(AFP)

England, it seems, had foreseen big things from Anya Shrubsole nine years ago when they handed her a debut at 16.

The right-arm medium pacer, now 25, was the star of Women’s Cricket World Cup final on Sunday as her six-wicket haul drove the hosts to a close win over India. (VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS)

While her ODI debut was impressive as she picked a wicket for 26 runs in 8.3 overs against South Africa back in August, 2008, it was the T20I debut 10 days later that brought her into limelight. She removed three of the top four South African batsmen, returning with figures of 3 for 19 in four overs as England, already 2-0 up going into that game, wrapped up the series 3-0.

Two months later, she was awarded the Most Promising Young Women’s Cricketer Award by The Cricket Society.

The promising teenager featured in just one game in the World Cup that took place in 2009, returning with unspectacular figures of none for 27 in seven overs against Pakistan. England, however, didn’t need her that much as they won the World Cup, their first one away from home.

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A few niggles and injuries troubled her over the next couple of years, but she always managed to come back with a bang and perform to the best of her abilities.

By the time the next World Cup came around in 2013, this time in India, she was to share the new ball with veteran Katherine Brunt.

Although she missed the opening game against Sri Lanka, Shrubsole was included in the side for the next game against hosts India. She picked one wicket, but added 12 more to her tally over the next three matches. England finished third after beating New Zealand in the third place play-off.

A year later, England reached the final of the World T20 with Shrubsole leading the pack with 12 wickets en route to the final against Australia. They, however, lost to the Southern Stars by six wickets after getting bowled out for a paltry 105. Shrubsole did give them hope with an early breakthrough but the target proved too little.

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Shrubsole finally came of age on Sunday. Having been appointed as Heather Knight’s deputy after Charlotte Edwards hung up her boots last year, the right-arm seamer knew the responsibility she had in hand. England lost to India in the tournament’s inaugural game but came back strong, scoring a thrilling victory over South Africa in the semifinal to book a place in the final for the second time in three editions. Shrubsole had six wickets to her name in the tournament before Sunday but doubled that tally in an emphatic manner as India were bundled out for 219 after being 191/3 at one stage.

Shrubsole started the innings by bowling out Smriti Mandhana, who had scored 90 against them in the inaugural fixture. She came back to remove a well-set Poonam Raut. Raut’s wicket started the slide as Shrubsole picked four more.She also played a part in the run-out of Shikha Pandey.

A perfect yorker to send pack Rajeshwari Gayakad wrapped things up for her and England as the celebrations began across the host nation. Her six-for is now the best figures in a World Cup final besides being the third-best in any World Cup game.

First Published: Jul 24, 2017 15:46 IST