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Women’s Cricket World Cup final: England are crushed by ‘the best team in the world’

For fans of women’s cricket it has been obvious for some time that Australia are the “best team in the world”, said Raf Nicholson in The guard. And last Sunday, they “made it official.” In the final of the Women’s World Cup, Meg Lanning’s team met reigning champions England and confirmed their dominance with a comprehensive victory in 71 rounds. Australia are a top-flight side, but Heather Knight’s decision to bowl first on a flat wicket at Christchurch’s Hagley Oval gave them a huge advantage. And their task was made even easier when England’s outfield players missed several chances. Australia’s opener alone put on 160 runs; Alyssa Healy hit 170 of 138 balls; and they finished with 356 for five – easily the highest total of the tournament. Faced with such a daunting target, “England might as well have jumped on the plane”. That they even made a fist of it was entirely thanks to vice-captain Nat Sciver, who notched a heroic undefeated 148 while her team was eliminated for 285.

It’s a shame that the final was so one-sided because overall it was a “sensational” tournament that will benefit women’s football a lot, said Milly McEvoy in The Independent. Past World Cups have been marred somewhat by the gap between the strongest and weakest teams. But here even the two weakest teams – Pakistan and Bangladesh – were good enough to challenge the top nations with many ‘nail biting results’. Of the 31 games played, no fewer than ten “went by to the final”. And the competition was a hit with the New Zealand public, who – after two years of punishing Covid restrictions – happily “participated in droves”.

Still, it was a bit disheartening to see England so comprehensively outplayed by Australia in the final, said Paul Newman in the final Daily Mail. The 2017 World Cup win – sealed against India “on a glorious day at Lords” – represented a “huge opportunity for English women’s football”. Their uneven performance in the tournament – they also lost their first three group games – suggests for not taking that opportunity while Australia has spent the past five years transforming itself into a winning machine. One thing that’s certainly holding England back is the “lack of diversity” in the team, said Scyld Berry The Daily Telegraph. Sophia Dunkley is their only regular non-white player and one of only four “colored cricketers to represent England women since their first game in 1934”. This “single thinking” is reflected in the team’s tactics, which tend to be timid and unimaginative in pressure situations. The ECB needs to address these issues if the already “wide margin” between England and Australia is not to widen.

https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/sport/cricket/956356/womens-cricket-world-cup-final-england-australia-reactions Women’s Cricket World Cup final: England are crushed by ‘the best team in the world’

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