England meet India in the final of the Women’s World Cup on Sunday, with the sides doing battle at a sold out Lord’s.
Here, Press Association Sport looks at five areas of interest heading into the game.REVENGE OR REPEAT?The finalists met way back on June 24, the second game of the tournament and curtain-raiser for both teams. The result was a surprise, with India turning over the strongly-fancied hosts by 35 runs at Derby, with England taking only three wickets before being dismissed for 246. From an inauspicious start, Heather Knight’s side have rallied in style, learning from their false start and raising their game appropriately. Will the previous result bring back bad memories or inspire a righting of earlier wrongs?NAT YOUR AVERAGE BATSMANNat Sciver earned plenty of attention for her ‘Nat-meg’ shot she produced against New Zealand, dexterously diverting a yorker between her front and back leg, but that trick shot is the least of it. She is the only player in the tournament to hit two centuries and – while she does not hold the highest aggregate or best average – her strike-rate is unmatched. Her 318 runs have come at 115.63 per 100 balls, head and shoulders above anyone else in the top 20 scorers. For comparison, Mithali Raj and Tammy Beaumont, the final’s top run-makers, have been striking at 71 and 78 respectively.KAUR STRENGTHAfter facing just 91 balls in five innings, Indian batter Harmanpreet Kaur took her chance to leave her mark on the tournament in style. She dominated the semi-final victory over Australia, blasting an Indian World Cup record of 171 not out in 115 deliveries. England already knew all about the 28-year-old Punjabi, who will play for Surrey Stars in this year’s Kia Super League, but there will have been extra emphasis on her following her Derby demolition job. For her part, Kaur will be on the crest of a wave and ready to believe she can produce another classic at the home of cricket.TIME TO STRIKEEngland’s new ball pairing of Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole have yet to find their peak form at the top of the innings, with the latter’s most obvious match-winning turn coming when she hit the winning runs in the semi-final against South Africa from number 10. Deep batting strength and pace-off bowling have been the core tenets to date, but the feeling remains that the pace pairing will be itching to make a statement. With 179 ODI wickets between them, the idea of leaving the job for others on such a grand stage will simply not appeal.LEGACY
The impact of the competition has already been considerable, with strong sales, global interest and media coverage. But a classic encounter in front of a packed crowd at the game’s most historic arena could prove a real tipping point for women’s cricket. The stakes are high for the players and backroom teams, but they are just as lofty for the wider game. There will be more eyes than ever before on the match, with the host nation and biggest cricketing territory ideal combatants for the marketing department, and a top quality contest could draw an army of new followers.