Riding on confidence following their back-to-back victories over New Zealand and Australia, India will aim to clinch their maiden ICC Women’s World Cup title when they take on hosts England at The Lord’s today.
Indian captain, Mithali Raj is well aware that it will be a special occasion for her and Jhulan Goswami when India plays only their second ICC World Cup summit showdown, 12 years after losing their showpiece event.
India were beaten by Australia back in 2005, but they banished those demons by knocking out the reigning World Cup winner and six-time champions by 36 runs in a dramatic semi-final in Derby last week.
On their way to the finals, India also notched up a massive 186-run win against New Zealand to secure a place in the last-four.
Today, team Mithali would look to ensure that their gritty campaign ends on a positive note after putting in the hard yards consistently throughout the tournament.
This will be the India captain’s last ICC World Cup and she is determined to make it extremely difficult for England to earn their third tournament success on home soil.
“For me and Jhulan (Goswami) it is very special because we are the only players from 2005 still with the team and for us it feels like going back to 2005. We are all very excited to be part of the World Cup final. We knew this tournament wasn’t going to be easy but the way the girls have turned up at every situation when the team needed,” said Mithali.
“I’m so happy that the girls have given us an opportunity again to be part of the World Cup final. It definitely is not going to be easy for England, but having beaten Australia, I am sure the girls are on a high but it will boil down to how we perform in the match. Playing the hosts in their own country is going to be a challenge but this unit is up for it,” she added.
England, meanwhile, qualified for the final following a dramatic two-wicket win over South Africa with Anya Shrubsole hitting the winning runs in the final over.
The host have lost just once in the tournament so far when they slumped to a 35-run defeat to India in the opening game of the tournament in Derby.
Since then, England have gone seven games unbeaten to reach the home of cricket but, captain Heather Knight believes there is still more to come from her side.
“We keep finding ways to win at the moment, we haven’t quite put the perfect performance together, we’d readily admit that. There’s still one game to go and if we put a perfect performance in then, I’ll be a very happy captain. It’s great news (that it’s sold out),” Heather said.
“What a (semi-final) game and we’re delighted to get to that final. We back the depth in our team and we’re finding ways to win at the moment,” she added.
England: Heather Knight (captain), Tamsin Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Georgia Elwiss, Jenny Gunn, Alex Hartley, Danielle Hazell, Beth Langston, Laura Marsh, Natalie Sciver, Anya Shrubsole, Sarah Taylor, Fran Wilson, Lauren Winfield and Danielle Wyatt
India: Mithali Raj (captain), Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Mansi Joshi, Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Smriti Mandhana, Mona Meshram, Shikha Pandey, Poonam, Nuzhat Parween, Poonam Raut, Deepti Sharma and Sushma Verma.