India 69 for 3 (Trisha 24, Tiwari 24*, Baker 1-13) beat England 68 (MacDonald-Gay 19, Sadhu 2-6, Chopra 2-13) by seven wickets
A long, long wait for a World Cup win in women's cricket finally ended for India. It was fitting that Nooshin Al Khadeer was at the helm of it all as the head coach, 18 years after she was part of India's runners-up finish in the Women's World Cup in South Africa.
An athletic effort on the field, some disciplined bowling, and a canter with the bat helped India defeat England to claim the inaugural Under-19 Women's T20 World Cup in Potchefstroom. Fast bowler Titas Sadhu, offspinner Archana Devi and legspinner Parshavi Chopra picked up two wickets apiece to bowl England out for 68. Soumya Tiwari and G Trisha then saw off the chase to set off celebrations for the Shafali Verma-led side.
Tiwari, Trisha ensure minimum hiccups
Chasing 69, Shafali got going with a giant six over long-off off left-arm spinner Sophia Smale. She cleared her front leg and tonked her high and long. But legspinner Hannah Baker, opening the bowling with Smale, prised out Shafali.
Baker impressed throughout the tournament, varying her flight and lengths. She tossed one up on off, enticing Shafali to go over the top but giving her little room to get under. What resulted was a miscue towards mid-on, where Alexa Stonehouse dived low to her left to grab that. Soon England captain Grace Scrivens had Shweta Sehrawat, the leading run-getter in the competition, sky one to short fine leg to create brief flutters.
But one-drop Tiwari and then Trisha walked out to calm the nerves. They saw off the testing spells from Baker, Smale and Scrivens, with a bit of fortune, too. Tiwari had just hit a glorious lofted extra-cover drive to get off the mark on her tenth ball when Baker floated one fuller and wider. She couldn't resist and went for the drive away from the body only to edge it to slip, where Scrivens couldn't hang on.
Thereon, Tiwari and Trisha tightened up and never offered any chance and scored against England's all-spin attack till the 10th over, when they were 48 for 2. Trisha then greeted right-arm fast bowler Ellie Anderson with back-to-back boundaries before hitting the left-arm seam of Stonehouse for another four in the next over. With three needed, though, Trisha's ungainly heave saw her be clean bowled.
But Tiwari was too set - and experienced, having led Madhya Pradesh to the Under-19 domestic T20 title - to let things slip from there.
Women's Cricket in India is on the upswing and the World Cup triumph has taken the stature of women's cricket several notches higher. I am delighted to announce INR 5 crore for the entire team and support staff as prize money. This is surely a path-breaking year.— Jay Shah (@JayShah) January 29, 2023
England falter with the bat for the second successive game
England were served well by their opening pair of Liberty Heap and Scrivens through the tournament but Heap fell early just like she did in the semi-final. Sadhu got a length ball to climb up and Heap ended up top-edging it for Sadhu to take an easy catch in the very first over of the match, after India opted to bowl.
Archana, opening the bowling instead of India's preferred choice of left-arm spinner Mannat Kashyap, then struck to spin one past Niamh Holland's attempted scoop to bowl her. She struck a telling blow by dismissing Scrivens, the only other player apart from Sehwarat with over 250 runs in the tournament, cheaply, with Trisha taking a tumbling catch running in from long-off. Archana saw Scrivens give her the charge and threw it wider because of which the batter couldn't control her stroke.
Soon, Chopra struck twice in two balls to have England stuttering at 43 for 6 in the 12th over. She trapped Charis Pavely lbw before Archana's stunning one-hander at extra cover saw the back of Ryana MacDonald-Gay, England's top-scorer for the day.
Smale then hit a couple of fours to push the score up but was the last wicket to fall when she spooned a catch back to left-arm spinner Sonam Yadav. While England had successfully defended 99 in the semi-final against Australia, 68 was too low a total to do that.