The Women’s Ashes resumes in Chelmsford tonight with England needing to win all 3 T20s to retain the trophy for a 3rd consecutive time.
We admit the odds are very-much against England, in favour of the double-World Champion Australians; but here are 3 reasons England can still do this:
The first two T20s are being staged under lights at Chelmsford and Hove. Playing night cricket really is a change-up, particularly in the field where the ball can be coming out of a dark sky only to jump at the last moment into the dazzling glare of the floodlights – the last time England and Australia played at Chelmsford there were several dropped catches!
So it will be a whole different ball-game out there under the lights, which could give an edge to the more experienced side – and that side is England, whose big players have many, many more matches under their belts than the younger Australians.
England Women have played an annual T20 fixture at “Fortress Chelmsford” every year since 2010 and they have never lost there – beating New Zealand (twice), India, Australia and South Africa. A big part of the reason for this? The crowd!
The crowds at both Chelmsford and Hove are likely to be big (Chelmsford is a sell-out, and Hove all-but) and highly partisan. The Australians aren’t used to playing in front of crowds at all, let alone hostile ones; so the Southern Stars won’t just be taking on 11 English… they’ll be taking on 3,000 of them!
Although England have underperformed with the bat for most of this series, their form with the ball has been pretty good. In their armoury: Katherine Brunt, who bowled what Aussie opener Nicole Bolton described as the fastest, most hostile spell she had ever faced in the Test; Anya Shrubsole, the player of the tournament from the last World T20; Dani Hazel, the ICC’s official No. 1 ranked T20 bowler in the world; and Jenny Gunn, the second-most capped international T20 player of all time.
In contrast, while their batsmen excelled, Australia’s bowlers looked innocuous last week against Ireland – failing to bowl out the Irish (who lest we forget, play in the second division of the English county championship*) in any of the 3 matches.
So can we do it? The odds are against us; but perhaps England fans can take faith from the immortal words of Bob The Builder:
“YES WE CAN!”
* To clarify, Ireland do now play in the first division of the T20 County Cup, while remaining in the second division for the 50-over Women’s County Championship.