Random Thoughts: Women’s Ashes 1st T20

Less Swagger More Dagger

This wasn’t a swaggering victory of the kind we saw in the 1st ODI, but it was in a way more convincing. There at Taunton England won with 9% of their balls remaining, which is a good margin to-be-sure, but they were 6 wickets down at the end and it they’d lost another one it would have been touch and go. Here at Chelmsford, they cruised over the line with a whopping 13% of their innings to spare, loosing just 3 wickets along the way, with Knight, Greenway and Wyatt all still in the traps.

Won & Lost In The Field

England bowled well to restrict the Aussies to what was by their own (very high) standards a below-par score; and they batted well too of course. But it was the fielding that was the real difference between the teams. Danni Wyatt set the tone early on with an excellent stop on the edge of the circle, and from there England were at the top of their game, as testified by 4 catches, 3 run-outs and the concession of just 9 boundaries against the biggest-hitting unit in the business.

In contrast, Australia were poor between the wickets. Grace Harris appeared to make the rookie error of assuming the ball was dead; while Erin Osborne got into such a mess with Jess Cameron that Sarah Taylor had time to stop and tease her before she removed the bails.

Then in the field the Southern Stars made fumble after fumble. Elyse Villani missed a fairly straightforward chance to run out Charlotte Edwards early on; and then when presented with a golden opportunity for redemption, dropped the England skipper at mid off. Late in the innings, not one but two Aussies got easily to a ball that was almost trickling to the boundary; but each seemed to think the other would actually field it – in the end neither did, and it popped over the rope for 4.

Wyatt Whyatt?

In 3 T20 series since the last Women’s Ashes in Austrlia, Danni Wyatt’s batting record now reads as follows:

DNB, DNB, 0, DNB, DNB, DNB, DNB

That’s 6 “Did Not Bats”, and one sort-of* duck incurred when she was looking to hit out as she came in with just 7 balls remaining against South Africa in Birmingham last September. (* She ran a leg bye of her first ball to retain the strike going into the final over… which I sometimes think on occasions like this should count for something!)

To be fair, she has of course bowled in that time… one over, against New Zealand in the winter.

I’m sure that if you asked her, she’d say she’d rather be playing than not, especially when the team is winning; but England need to be careful how they manage their asset here – it is exactly this kind of treatment that made the highly talented Susie Rowe shrug her shoulders in despair and go back to hockey.

Wyatt doesn’t have that particular option, but she might find herself with an interesting dilemma come next January: star in the final of the WBBL… or come back to England to prepare for a tour to South Africa where her contribution is likely to be equally minimal, if indeed she is picked at all. Under such, it would be difficult to blame her if she then told the England management just exactly where they can stick their not-very-central contract.

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2 thoughts on “Random Thoughts: Women’s Ashes 1st T20

  1. I agree with this assessment, although I’d take a slightly different perspective on the many positive aspects last night’s excellent performance. ‘Twas the batting wot won it, for me. We’ve already seen some very good bowling performances this summer from England, and no really poor ones. But we’ve seen very few good batting displays. The slow first few overs last night and the early loss of Winfield could have easily prompted another 100-all-out collapse, but instead Edwards and Taylor fought through it.

    They stayed calm, played repsonsibly but positively and took advantage of bad bowling and fielding whenever they could. I think this deseves the most credit because it was under such massive pressure. Although neither was exactly in top form, they stuck at it and did well enough to keep up with the rate (helped by the fact that we kept Australia about 20 below where they might have been) so that when they did eventually get out, things were ideally set up for a couple of aggressive cameos to see us home at the end. Brunt and Sciver managed that in style. Sciver’s, and Brunt’s, overall multi-format record batting and bowling in this Ashes series, are both looking pretty tidy now.

    On the other hand, Australia will be looking to come back strongly from what was a pretty mediocre display by their high standards, especially bowling and in the field. I’m still not convinced about Brunt at five, it worked yesterday but I don’t think it would if we lost 3 quick wickets at the start of an innings.

    The manner of that victory may have changed the momentum of things. It was a better performance than I imagined we would produce, and Australia almost looked shellshocked at the end. We’ll have to see if the girls can produce something of that order again, twice more in the next 4 days. It’s a tough ask, and I still think the Aussies winning back the trophy is more likely, but at least we’ve kept the series alive and forced a closer overall contest than looked probable going into last night’s game. We could be in for a couple of real classic T20 games coming up.

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  2. Wyatt’s best option might be to change nationality and become an Australian. It’s interesting that a WBBL team (The Renegades) have hired her – they clearly have a higher opinion of her talents than the England selectors do. It’s also interesting to compare her hiring for the WBBL against some other player’s non-selection.

    Elwiss might also be wondering what the heck she has done wrong. She is very much the explosive, hard hitting batsmen that should be getting into the T20 starting XI.

    Hazell (along with many others) might have been surprised at her omission from the ODI series and yesterday’s performance (certain other player’s non-performance this summer) simply shifted the emotion from ‘surprise’ to ‘perplexed’.

    Wyatt, Elwiss, Hazell, Jones (and other people might like to add some more) – this summer has certainly been an ‘interesting’ one from a selection point of view.

    I applause the elevation of Brunt to No5 – not least because it’s a welcome change from the rather bland, do-everything-the-same, take-no-risks approach of late. We are not going to beat the Australians in 3 straight T20s unless we attack. Trundling along at 6 an over might beat certain other teams but England are going have to get above 7 an over to pressure Australia (unless we repeat, twice, the flawless bowling/fielding performance of yesterday). We certainly need to learn from the ODI series in which we strolled the first match and then imploded.

    At least the series is still alive and Hove (Sussex are one of the great supporters of women’s cricket) deservedly gets a humdinger of a match to stage.

    Finally, some irony. If England win tomorrow will it be a case of a full Chelmsford, a full Hove and a quarter full Cardiff for the Ashes decider ? England might not win but if they do and Cardiff is a quarter full then perhaps that’s a lesson for the ECB to take on board.

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