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Women's World Cup: Sciver's unbeaten 148 in vain as Australia crowned champions

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Christchurch, April 3 (IANS) England vice-captain Nat Sciver made an unbeaten 148 but her heroic efforts went in vain as Australia beat England by 71 runs to be crowned winners of ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup at Hagley Oval on Sunday.

It also marks Australia’s seventh World Cup title, completing a turnaround from the shock semifinal exit in the 2017 edition in England.

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After Alyssa Healy’s 170 propelled Australia to a gigantic 356/5 in 50 overs, England fought hard, thanks to Sciver. But she ran out of partners as England were all out for 285 in 43.4 overs.

Pacer Megan Schutt delivered the first breakthrough by uprooting the leg-stump of Danni Wyatt with a beautiful inswinger. Four overs later, Schutt trapped Tammy Beaumont lbw on the knee roll with an inswinger.

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Captain Heather Knight and her deputy Nat Sciver unfurled flicks and pulls to stabilise England’s innings.

Leg-spinner Alana King almost dismissed Sciver via lbw. But replays showed the ball missing leg-stump. Two balls later, King got rid of Knight with a plumb lbw dismissal.

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Sciver then stitched a 43-run stand with Amy Jones, which ended with the latter holing out to a back-tracking mid-off off Jess Jonassen. After reaching her fifty in 53 balls, Sciver got going with Sophia Dunkley through a flurry of boundaries.

But King came back to clean bowl Dunkley around her legs followed by getting Katherine Brunt stumped from behind by keeper Healy.

Sciver continued to bat on by showcasing an exhibition of reverse sweeps as well as the conventional ones despite Sophie Ecclestone trapped lbw by Tahlia McGrath and Kate Cross chipping back to Jess Jonassen for a simple caught-and-bowled dismissal.

Sciver reached her second World Cup century against Australia in 90 balls with a brace through fine leg.

Sciver’s crucial knock continued as she placed her shots well and even brought out the scoop twice. She received support from Charlie Dean as the half-century of the partnership came with another reverse sweep from Sciver off Ashleigh Gardner.

The 65-run stand came to an end when Dean played one reverse sweep too many and was caught at point off Gardner.

Anya Shrubsole holing out to mid-off off Jonassen was the fitting climax for Australia pocketing their seventh World Cup title.

Brief Scores: Australia 356/5 in 50 overs (Alyssa Healy 170, Rachael Haynes 68; Anya Shrubsole 3/46, Sophie Ecclestone 1/71) beat England 285 all out in 43.4 overs (Nat Sciver 148 not out, Tammy Beaumont 27; Alana King 3/59, Jess Jonassen 3/58) by 71 runs.

–IANS

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