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Shaw helps England forget

ENGLAND, thanks to the unexpected success of Nicky Shaw, removed a blot on the landscape today by winning the women's World Cup for the first time since 1993, an extraordinarily long gap in a competition usually containing only four credible teams.

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England defeated New Zealand by four wickets in the final at North Sydney Oval, which was a relief in view of a lop-sided head-to-head record between the two countries -- dominated by New Zealand. So many past frustrations could now be forgotten.

On form leading up to the tournament England were the favourites after a dip in the fortunes of Australia, the reigning champions, though Australia did defeat the mother country twice, once in a warm-up and again in a virtually dead Super Six match. Australia's defeats by New Zealand and India cost them a place in the final.

Shaw, 27, an all-rounder based at Loughborough University, earned a storybook player of the match award as a late fill-in for the injured Jenny Gunn by taking four important wickets that restricted New Zealand to 166. Even that modest total would have been much lower without a tail-end fightback.

Shaw said she had not known whether she would be playing until the official announcement at the last possible moment, reflecting the dilemma facing coach Mark lane whether or not to risk Gunn. Shaw said: "I thought they would pick the same team as the one that played New Zealand last time. I carried on with the warm-up. Then I got the nod from 'Laney' and the tears rolled down my face.

"I was going through a mix of emotions. It was right before the toss - we had people running across the field trying to change the team sheet. At that point I was pretty much crying. I had gone through a lot of emotion thinking I wasn't going to play. The one thing I hadn't dealt with was how I'd feel if I did play."

Shaw dismissed Suzie Bates and Amy Satterthwaite in consecutive balls and added the important wicket of the captain Haidee Tiffen. The New Zealanders slumped to 101 for seven, and Shaw then stifled a recovery by taking the wicket of Nicola Browne after an eighth-wicket stand of 62 with Lucy Doolan, top scorer with 48.

Shaw dismissed Suzie Bates and Amy Satterthwaite in consecutive balls and added the important wicket of the captain Haidee Tiffen. The New Zealanders slumped to 101 for seven, and Shaw then stifled a recovery by taking the wicket of Nicola Browne after an eighth-wicket stand of 62 with Lucy Doolan, top scorer with 48.

In reply England always had the measure of their run-chase, led by openers Caroline Atkins and Sarah Taylor. The only chance New Zealand had was to see off the world's top-rated batsman, Claire Taylor, arriving at the crease averaging 75.75 for the tournament. She began aggressively and when she was bowled for 21, second out, the score had reached 109, already enough to tilt the odds very much England's way.

The only real opposition for England in women's cricket over the decades had come from a tiny number of nations -- Australia, New Zealand and India. So it was amazing that England had not won this trophy since Lord's in 1993 when New Zealand were again their opponents. It was apparently the first time any England team, men or women, had won a global ICC-organised event.

Edwards said after England's triumph: "I am almost lost for words. This is what I have dreamed of since I was a little girl and for it to happen is fantastic. I've been to four World Cups, so to finally win one is just incredible. I'm delighted we have taken our form from last year into this competition."

She added that England were aiming to continue in the same vein for the ICC Women's World Twenty20 in June and then for the npower Women's Ashes and the NatWest Women's Series against Australia later in the summer.

This was England's third World Cup success after winning the inaugural tournament in 1973 and then in 1993, both at home. New Zealandís only success came in 2000 at Lincoln University, near Christchurch, when they beat Australia in a dramatic final by four runs. England's victory was only their 19th against New Zealand in 50 games. They had lost 29 and tied one, in the World Cup at Auckland in 1982, the other head-to-head being abandoned to weather.

Claire Taylor finished the tournament with 324 runs, including a century against Sri Lanka and an unbeaten 69 against India. The surprise was the subdued form of Charlotte Edwards, ICCís womenís player of the year in 2008. The Kent off-spinner Laura Marsh, 22, was regarded as the find of the tournament.

The two finalists qualified after finishing in the top two places of the Super Six stage. After winning their respective groups, both the sides lost one match each in the Super Six stage, England defeating New Zealand by 31 runs before losing to Australia by eight wickets on Thursday when their place in the final was assured.

England beat Sri Lanka by 100 runs, India by nine wickets, Pakistan by eight wickets and the West Indies by 146 runs. New Zealand defeated Australia by 13 runs -- on Duckworth Lewis Method, thoroughly deserved -- West Indies by 56 runs, South Africa by 199 runs, India by five wickets and Pakistan by 223 runs, when Suzie Bates clobbered 168.

Final at North Sydney Oval

New Zealand 166 (47.2 overs; Lucy Doolan 48, Haidee Tiffen 30, Nicky Shaw 4-34)

England 167-6 (46.1 overs; Sarah Taylor 39, Caroline Atkins 40, Doolan 3-23)

England won by four wickets

Third/fourth (Bankstown Oval)

Australia 142 (44.4 overs; Karen Rolton 52, Lisa Sthalekar 30)

India 144-7 (43.5 overs; Sulakshana Naik 28, Rumeli Dhar 24*; Lisa Sthalekar 3-27)

India won by three wickets

Fifth/sixth (Drummoyne Oval)

Pakistan 131 (46.3 overs; Bismah Maroof 33; Shanel Daley 4-29)

West Indies 135-7 (46.3 overs; Charlene Taitt 26*, Pamela Lavine 26)

West Indies won by three wickets

Posted by Charlie Randall
22/03/2009 09:48:23
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