England Women © Getty Images

A combined bowling performance from England kept the ladies from the Caribbean to 128 for 9 in 50 overs. © Getty Images

England finished the group stage of the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 on top of the points table with a 92-run win over Windies at the County Grounds, Bristol, on Saturday (July 15).

A lower-order rally complemented a half-century from Heather Knight, the captain, to help the hosts post a modest 220 for 7. A combined bowling performance then kept the ladies from the Caribbean to 128 for 9 in 50 overs, Nat Sciver making up for a failure with the bat with 3 for 3 in her four overs.

Put in on a gloomy morning under floodlights, England played out a maiden to begin their innings and had only 12 after the first five overs, but soon picked up the scoring to be 54 for 1 in the first ten.

Lauren Winfield was the wicket to fall, the opener’s disappointing tournament continuing when she became Qiana Joseph’s first international victim, making good connection only to be caught at the deep midwicket boundary.

Sarah Taylor fell to Deandra Dottin for a first-ball duck, edging a widish delivery to slip. At 54 for 2, the responsibility fell on Tammy Beaumont again to shepherd the innings, helped on by a plethora of extras.

The introduction of the legspin of Afy Fletcher gave Windies a triple breakthrough. Looking to paddle a full toss, the well-set Beaumont hit it onto her helmet and Merissa Aguilleira was waiting to take the high catch behind the wicket. The same over, Sciver, coming off her second century of the tournament, was foxed by one pitched along leg to be bowled for duck.

Fran Wilson, getting down on her knee and reaching for a sweep, edged behind to the wicketkeeper. When she was given out on review, England had gone from 91 for 2 to 105 for 5.

Knight, however, steadily battled the turn to rebuild first with Katherine Brunt and then, more emphatically, with the other experienced campaigner, Jenny Gunn. On a tricky surface, the recovery proved invaluable.

Windies began the chase cautiously. They waited for the bad balls and kept the scoreboard moving.

Hayley Matthews smashed a powerful six in Laura Marsh’s first over, but was out very next over, caught short going for a run where there was none.

Marsh, the offspinner, and Gunn turned on the pressure. Stafanie Taylor had seen 11 balls without scoring before she was given out lbw off Marsh. Chedean Nation and Matthews stuck around through a passage of 12 overs without a boundary.

Alex Hartley was rewarded for her persistence with the wicket of Matthews, a review confirming the umpire’s lbw decision, while Dottin too was caught plumb in front by the captain.

Sciver sent back Nation and Aguilleira in a double-wicket over. Beaumont dove to the right at deep square leg to pull off a blinder for the first, before Aguilleira was trapped in front.

It was one of seven lbws for Windies. A total of ten maidens were bowled by England, with five of their bowlers finishing with one wicket at least. Gunn, the only one not to strike, had figures of 0 for 12 in her seven overs.