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.
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.