England holds it nerve to win third women World Cup title

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Sydney, Mar 22 (ANI): Fast bowler Nickyi Shaw responded magnificently to a last-minute call-up when she starred in England's thrilling four-wicket victory over a spirited New Zealand in the final of the ICC Women's World Cup 2009 at North Sydney Oval on Sunday.

The 27-year-old from Warwickshire, who was only included in the side moments before the start of the match after Jenny Gunn was ruled out because of a calf injury, produced her career-best performance of 4-34 as New Zealand was bowled out for 166 in 47.2 overs after electing to bat first.

In response, England made hard work of the run-chase slipping from 74-0 to 149-6 but held its nerve to achieve the victory target with 23 balls and four wickets to spare. It is England's third World Cup triumph but its first outside England following its victories in 1973 and 1993.

Having already done the business with the ball Shaw's side needed her to pitch in with the bat also late in the game. With 18 runs required and four wickets standing, she took control of the situation and hit a priceless 17 not out from 23 balls with two fours to complete an outstanding day that earned her the player-of-the-final award.

Shaw's team-mate Claire Taylor, who scored 21, was declared player of the tournament for her 324 runs in the tournament.

England, in its target chase, was provided with a solid start by openers Sarah Taylor and Caroline Atkins who put on 74 runs for the first wicket stand before New Zealand staged a late fight back through Lucy Doolan (3-23) and vice-captain Aimee Mason (2-28).

However, their efforts were not enough as England's lower-order, led by Shaw, showed grit and spirit to romp home in front of more than 2,300 cheering spectators.

Sarah Taylor followed up her four dismissals behind the wickets with 39 from 45 balls with six fours while Atkins departed after contributing 40 off 85 balls with two fours. Edwards scored 10, Lydia Greenway eight and Beth Morgan nine.

In a repeat of the 1993 World Cup final, New Zealand had started off slowly but confidently to reach 26-0 in eight overs before losing seven wickets for 75 runs to slip to 101-7 in 29 overs. At that stage Doolan (45 off 57 balls with eight fours) and Nicola Browne (25 off 78 balls with two fours) put on 63 runs for the eighth wicket off 99 balls to save New Zealand's blushes.

New Zealand top order decimation started when Claire Taylor caught a blinder at point off Isa Guha to dismiss Kate Pulford (eight). Shaw then made a spectacular entry to the stage by picking up the wickets of a dangerous Suzie Bates (two), who was caught at mid-on, and Amy Satterthwaite (nought), caught at the wickets, off successive balls.

Shaw then added the wicket of Tiffen (30), caught at the wicket, to finish her first spell at 4-0-16-3. She completed her match figures of 8.2-0-34-4 - the best by a bowler in a World cup final when she added the wicket of New Zealand's last batter Nicola Browne who was trapped leg before wicket.Shaw received excellent support from off-spinner Laura Marsh who claimed the prized scalps of Aimee Mason (13) and Doolan, while fast bowler Katherine Brunt, Isa Guha and Charlotte Edwards took wicket apiece.

A delighted Edwards, who was named Women's Player of the Year for 2008 at the LG ICC Awards late last year, said: "This is amazing. We have worked so hard to achieve what we did here today and I am so proud of all the girls. (ANI)

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