The first year of the new millennium saw hosts New Zealand join England and Australia as winners of the Women's World cup as they triumphed over their Tasman rivals in a thrilling final.
Australia dominated the group stage, winning all seven of their matches, leading their players to dominate the tournament runs and wickets charts. Their captain Belinda Clark was third in the runs chart with 351, with future captain Karen Rolton leading the way with 393. Of the bowlers, three of the five leading wicket-takers were Australian, with only England’s Clare Taylor and New Zealand’s Katrina Keenan breaking the deadlock.
The big story of the group stage was South Africa’s progression to the semi-finals at the expense of England. They beat the two-time champions by five wickets in the competition’s early stages as Yulandi van der Merwe took three for 25 to help bowl them out for 143, and Sunnette Viljoen led the South Africa run chase with 54 not out.
England would lose narrowly to India just two days later, meaning that they would have to beat eventual finalists Australia and New Zealand if they were to progress. Needless to say, they didn’t manage to do so.
The semi-finals were one-sided affairs, with New Zealand thrashing India by nine wickets and Australia beating South Africa by the same margin. However, the final is widely seen as one of women cricket’s greatest games. After opting to bat, New Zealand made 184, with fast-bowler Cathryn Fitzpatrick taking three wickets.
Australia were then kept in their run chase solely by skipper Belinda Clark. As the New Zealand bowlers chipped away at the other end, Clark remained and would make 91 from just 102 balls before becoming seventh woman out.
The match entered the final over with Australia needing five and New Zealand needing one wicket. Off-spinner Clare Nicholson was, at the last moment, called upon to bowl it by White Ferns captain Emily Drumm. She immediately had number 10 Charmaine Mason caught by wicket-keeper Rebecca Rolls to spark joyous scenes from the home side.
© Cricket World 2013
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