The 1997 World Cup returned to India and just as in 1978, Australia won, this time beating New Zealand, who made their second final in a row.
The tournament featured Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka for the first time. South Africa and Sri Lanka reached the quarter-finals while Pakistan and the West Indies fell at the first stage, along with Denmark.
The teams were split into two groups and while New Zealand and India sailed through Group B, newcomers South Africa pushed Australia and England hard in Group A with Ireland producing some strong showings as well.
The first three games of the tournament were rained off but as the weather brightened, so did the cricket. England survived an early scare to beat South Africa by just seven runs while Australia dismissed Pakistan for 27 in 13.4 overs before further records tumbled when they met Denmark.
Belinda Clark became the first player to score an ODI double-century – sorry, Sachin – by hitting 229 not out in 155 balls as Australia racked up 412 for three. Denmark were then bundled out for 49 in 25.5 overs and the eventual winners picked up a 363-run win.
England then dished out a 208-run thrashing of Ireland with Charlotte Edwards making 173 not out and there was high drama in Group B when frontrunners India and New Zealand tied in Indore.
New Zealand were 136 for two but collapsed to post 176 for nine but then dismissed India for the same score, run outs littering India’s lower order and the final breakthough coming when Katrina Keenan (then Withers) bowled Neetu David with the first ball of the final over.
The quarter-finals got underway with another routine win for Australia, for whom Netherlands were no match, going down by 115 runs. England then bowled Sri Lanka out for 104 on their way to a comfortable nine-wicket success and South Africa managed just 80 against India as their tournament came to an end in Patna. New Zealand completed a predictable semi-final line-up by beating Ireland by 139 runs.
India hosted Australia in Delhi but their bid to reach the final in front of their home crowd was scuppered when Australia defended 123 to win by 19 runs in a match reduced to 32 overs per side.
It was just as close in the other semi-final as New Zealand scored 175 for six and bowled out reigning champions England to for 155 – including four run outs – to set up a Trans-Tasman final.
Batting first, New Zealand made 164 as two wickets apiece for Bronwyn Calver, Charmaine Mason and Karen Rolton bowled them out in 49.3 overs. Debbie Hockley top scored with 76 but had little support.
Belinda Clark led Australia’s reply with 52 from the top of the order and useful contributions from the rest of the team helped them over the line in the 48th over to hand them their fourth title.
© Cricket World 2013
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