The 1993 World Cup was certainly one for the bowlers, in particular English ones, with three of their players ending up in the top five leading wicket-takers.
Skipper Karen Smithies led the way with 15 wickets at the incredible average of 7.93, with Gill Smith and Clare Taylor - not to be confused with the Claire Taylor who would later win the World Cup with England in 2009 - also averaging less than 12.
The tournament returned to England for the first time since the inaugural event and was again played at a host of unusual venues such as Banstead, Stoke-on-Trent and Collingham. Financial restraints almost led to a last-minute cancellation, but the Foundation for Sports and Arts stepped in with a late grant and it was saved.
It welcomed two new teams, with Denmark and a combined West Indies side competing for the first time, with the format also receiving a tweak; the eight teams playing each other just once during the two-week event.
Early on, it looked as though defending champions Australia would triumph for a fourth successive time as they began with big wins over the Netherlands, India, West Indies and Ireland. However, they lost heavily to England and New Zealand and didn’t even make the final, which was contested between those two - in front of a crowd of 5000 at Lord’s as women’s cricket finally began to make an impression in more general cricketing circles following the disappointment of the men’s troubles in that summer's Ashes.
During the final, Janette Brittin, the competition’s leading run-scorer, became the first player to score 1000 World Cup runs as she top-scored in England’s 195 for five with 48. New Zealand then lost regular wickets following a solid start and were all out for 128, with Smith, and Taylor sharing five of the wickets. Jo Chamberlain was named player of the match for her 38 not out off 33 balls and the wicket of Kiwi opener Kirsty Bond.
The tournament would mark another significant moment in the women’s game as its increased popularity exposed The Women’s Cricket Association as old-fashioned.
Alan Lee, writing in the Times, said, "What is needed now is firmer and more enterprising administration." The WCA would be in charge of the England team for just one more World Cup before handing over control of the women's game to the ECB and disbanding, having played an important role in the growth of the women’s game.
© Cricket World 2013
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