BCCI's big cash prize for Indian women

Indian cricket's governing body acknowledges performance of Raj's side with sizeable bonus

Indian cricket's governing body the BCCI has announced it will award each player AUD $98,000 for their performance in this year's Women's World Cup, with the final set to be played tonight at Lord's against hosts England.

India shocked the cricket world when they defeated Australia in the semi-final to progress to the decider, while they also beat England in their tournament opener last month.

"The BCCI would like to announce a cash prize of INR 50 lakh to each member of the squad and INR 25 lakh to each member of the support staff," said acting honorary secretary Amitabh Choudhary. "We wish them the best as they prepare for their biggest match tomorrow at the Lord's Cricket Ground."

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India last appeared in a Women's World Cup final in 2005, losing to Australia, and since the tournament's inception in 1973 – two years before the men's World Cup started – it has been dominated by England and Australia, with New Zealand, in 2000, the only other country to have won the event.

They reached this year's final with a surprise 36-run semi-final win over Australia at Derby on Thursday, featuring a spectacular 171 not out from Harmanpreet Kaur.

For 36-year-old India captain Mithali Raj and senior pace bowler Jhulan Goswami, Sunday's match is set to be their last chance to win a World Cup.

"For me and Jhulan it is very special because we are the only players from 2005 still with the team and for us it feels like going back to 2005," said Raj.

"We are all very excited to be part of the World Cup final. We knew this tournament wasn't going to be easy but the girls have turned up at every situation when the team needed (them to).

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"I'm so happy that the girls have given us an opportunity again to be part of the World Cup final.

"It definitely is not going to be easy for England. Having beaten Australia, I am sure the girls are on a high but it will boil down to how we perform on the day.

"Playing the hosts in their own country is going to be a challenge but this unit is up for it."

England captain Heather Knight meanwhile hopes her side will have saved their best for last when they face India.

The tournament hosts suffered a surprise 35-run defeat to India in their very first pool match, but since that Derby disappointment, England have gone seven games unbeaten, edging out defending champions Australia by three runs in pool play before just seeing off South Africa by two wickets in a tense semi-final at Bristol on Tuesday.

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"We keep finding ways to win at the moment, we haven't quite put the perfect performance together, we'd readily admit that," Knight said.

"There's still one game to go and if we put a perfect performance in then, I'll be a very happy captain.

"The plan was to get to Lord's and sing our (team victory) song and we're one step closer to that.

"It was a massive carrot going into the semi-final and lucky we had the wise head of Jenny Gunn to get over the line, so we're delighted."

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