OPINION: Duckworth Lewis Is Broken For Twenty20

Although to be fair India were probably already heading towards victory anyway in their 2nd T20 against the Southern Stars, for the second time in recent weeks Messrs Duckworth and Lewis nevertheless conspired to produce a ridiculously unbalanced final run chase in women’s T20s.

After the Hobart Hurricanes were mugged by DL in their WBBL semi-final against Sydney Sixers, the equation for India chasing Australia’s 125 (off 18 overs) was even more bizarre.

When the rain came down, India were 52-0 after 7.5 overs, so the equation was 73 off 61 balls, or  7.2 an-over.

When the teams went back out again, the target had been reduced to 66 off 10 overs – i.e. a remaining 14 off 13 balls, equivalent to 6.5 an-over.

Just to reiterate… we’re not taking anything away from India, and you’d probably back them to chase down either target from the situation they were in; but still you have to ask, was it really fair that the required rate actually fell by half a run here?

Or to put it another way: if you had to chose between chasing 73 off 61 and 14 off 13 (in both cases with 10 wickets in-hand) would anyone opt for the former? Not in a million years!

It is abundantly clear that for short T20 chases, Duckworth Lewis is thoroughly broken and needs looking at, perhaps by reducing the number of wickets available?

A chase of 14 off 13 with only two wickets in hand, might have made it interesting! As it was, it was an utter forgone conclusion from the moment they went back out, and that’s just not an equitable reflection of where the game was when it was interrupted.

NEWS: Carswell Steps Down As Scotland Coach

Cricket Scotland has announced that Kari Carswell is to step down from her coaching role with the national side after 5 years at the helm.

Carswell has recently combined the roles of head of women’s cricket, head coach and senior pro, making her basically Mark Robinson, Clare Connor and Jenny Gunn all rolled into one.

Scotland had a mixed year in 2015. They reached the semi-finals of the World T20 Qualifiers, coming within one game of qualification for the tournament-proper; but in the Women’s County Championship they were relegated from Division 2 with just one win in the 50-over competition.

Carswell will now focus on her administrative role, promoting and growing the women’s game north of the border; but has also said that she intends to continue as a player.

WBBL: England’s Edwards & Knight Pipped by Lanning for Player of the Tournament

Following on from last night’s final, Meg Lanning has been named WBBL’s Player of the Tournament; with England’s Charlotte Edwards and Heather Knight close behind in second and third places.

The adjudication was made on the basis of points awarded by the umpires in each game.

Lanning scored 560 runs in WBBL, topping the runs list ahead of Charlotte Edwards who scored 462. Knight was a little further down the runs list with 363, but also took 17 wickets.

Also making the top 10 was Danni Wyatt, who must surely now be given a proper run in England’s starting 11 in South Africa next month.

Super League: World Class Facilities Key To Hampshire Success

Hampshire General Manager Bob Parks has told CRICKETher that building a regional hub around the “world class” facilities at Hampshire County Cricket Club, and at key-partner Southampton Solent University, were the keys to their successful Super League bid.

“Our bid, which emphasised the regional aspect of the Super League concept, fitted very well with the ECB’s aspirations… [and] the idea of hosting a team at a world class venue like the Ageas Bowl was also high on their list of criteria.”

“Southampton Solent University offers excellent sports science facilities… [and] will also attract players who wish to play Super League and study in Southampton.”

Parks emphasises that they see this as a “South Central” regional team rather than just a “Hampshire” county one, with the franchise sitting at the pinnacle of a development pathway, which includes (among others) Berkshire, Oxfordshire and of course Sussex.

“Sussex have a very well-established women’s development pathway and will provide a number of players for the new team.  Their expertise and experience will also be vital in helping less established counties grow their player base and improve the quality of cricket played throughout the region at grassroots level.”

Asked if they have been promised particular players, as Yorkshire and Lancashire appear to have been, Parks says no, but this is something they are hoping to have sorted sooner rather than later:

“No players have been allocated by the ECB or selected by ourselves yet, [but] we hope to hear more in the next couple of weeks.”

Finally, the most important question of all: what will the franchise be called? The answer, apparently, is that it could be up to you! They will be holding a public competition to choose a name, promoted through the local media and commercial partners, in the next few weeks – so look out for that if you’re from the area!

NEWS: Injured Sciver Ruled Out of South Africa ODIs

England all-rounder Nat Sciver has been ruled-out of next month’s ODIs against South Africa with an ankle injury.

There is no doubt this is a serious blow for new coach Mark Robinson ahead of his first tour – Sciver was one of the few England players to come out of last summer’s Women’s Ashes with her balance in credit, chalking up two Man of the Match performances in the series.

In the recent WBBL, Sciver’s batting form has been somewhat indifferent – averaging just 13 at a strike rate of 91; but her bowling has been impressive – 18 wickets at an economy rate of 6.2, putting her joint-3rd* on the list.

Sciver is replaced in England’s ODI squad by Tammy Beaumont, who was already selected for the T20 leg of the tour; and the hope is that Sciver may be able to rejoin the squad for the T20s.


* Prior to Sunday’s final.

WBBL: Sydney v Sydney Final As Hurricanes Mugged By Duckworth-Lewis

The WBBL title is heading to Sydney, after the Sixers beat the Hobart Hurricanes to join the Thunder in Sunday’s final.

In the first semi-final, the Thunder looked to have under-performed with the bat against the Perth Scorchers, posting just 118 with only Alex Blackwell (39 off 41) and Stafanie Taylor (24 off 25) really making much of a dent in the scorers’ inkwells.

The Thunder looked in even more trouble as Elyse Villani raced to 23 off 9 balls, but at the other end Charlotte Edwards was already getting tied-down before Villani was run out in the 5th over, and from there the Scorchers were never quite in it, the Thunder winning in the end by 8 runs.

To say the second semi-final was rain-affected is something of an understatement. With the match between the Sixers and the Hurricanes already reduced to 14 overs, the Hurricanes (possibly unwisely in retrospect) chose to bat, posting  a respectable 86 – a Run Rate of 6.14.

Then the rain came down again, and despite a window of an hour-and-a-half before the men’s semi-final was due to start, the Sixers’ target was reduced to 55 off 8 – a Run Rate of 6.88, less than a run-an-over difference, with obviously all their wickets in-hand.

With no pressure whatsoever, Alyssa Healy and Ellyse Perry made the runs without loss, with 10 balls to spare. All credit to them, but harsh on the Hurricanes, who might justly be asking if it is time to look at reducing the wickets in hand as well as adjusting the total in these kinds of situation?

EXCLUSIVE: Loughborough University Reveal Details of Successful Super League Bid

Of the six successful Women’s Cricket Super League bids, all bar one are located at county cricket clubs – the exception being Loughborough University. How will hosting a Super League team at a non-county venue work in practice? CRICKETher spoke to Jo Emmett, the leader of Loughborough University’s successful bid, to find out more about the details.

Emmett confirmed that – despite the ECB’s initial consideration that the Loughborough University ground would not be suitable for WCSL matches – they are intending to host their WCSL games at the university ground. “Every season Loughborough MCCU hosts First Class cricket against county opposition and in 2013 the University hosted women’s international cricket when England last took on Pakistan,” Emmett told CRICKETher. “A comprehensive facilities outline was included within our bid, and as such we don’t envisage there being any issues with the ground being used to play WCSL cricket this summer.”

Clearly the ECB were impressed with Loughborough’s bid; Emmett sees this as attributable to their “strong background in delivering performance sport programmes”, as well as the “holistic environment” Loughborough offers, in which athletes from a variety of sports train alongside each other in top-quality gym facilities.

Loughborough’s successful bid might also have had something to do with their involvement in the flourishing Netball Superleague (the elite domestic netball competition in England and Wales). The Loughborough Lightning netball team was set up over a decade ago, and has seen ticket sales and fan engagement grow year on year. Emmett revealed that those marketing the WCSL team will draw on this experience, which she considers to be “invaluable for us for setting up a new fan base as a WCSL host.”

It is interesting that Loughborough clearly intend their WCSL team to be fully integrated with their current university women’s cricket programme, with Emmett labelling the Super League squad as “the pinnacle of our development system, comprising students, national and international players who have trained together throughout the whole year where possible.” The intention, Emmett told CRICKETher, “is for a seamless player development environment… Our philosophy is based on running one women’s cricket development programme”.

Emmett confirmed that Loughborough are currently looking to work with a variety of local partners going forward, now that their bid has been successful. In particular, CRICKETher can reveal that their bid was supported by Leicester City Council, Leicestershire County Council and Leicester-Shire and Rutland Sport (the County Sport Partnership for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland) – and that they are now in talks with Leicestershire County Cricket Club regarding closer collaboration.

Loughborough’s current detailed marketing plan, submitted as part of their bid, will target students, staff and the wider local community – but Emmett also was keen to stress to CRICKETher that Loughborough’s status as the only Midlands-based Super League team means that they are also now looking to make contact with counties, clubs and cricket boards across the region, and to ensure that all cricket fans in the region “are aware of the opportunities to watch WCSL matches at Loughborough… We are very proud to be representing the Midlands.”

As for what Loughborough might choose to name their WCSL team, that is sadly to remain under wraps for now – but do watch this space!

WBBL: Charlotte Edwards Drives Scorchers To Finals

Charlotte Edwards Kia Sportage might be back home in England, but who needs a car when you’ve got the England captain as your designated driver? Edwards hit 63 off 51 balls as the Perth Scorchers surged towards a last-minute semi-final spot in WBBL, joining Sydney Thunder, Hobart Hurricanes and Sydney Sixers in the knockout stages.

With the Stars facing the Thunder in the morning, it could have all been over by lunch time for the Scorchers; but despite restricting the Thunder to just 104, the Stars just didn’t align for Melbourne and they blew their chance of guaranteed qualification by 6 runs; leaving them on 14 points with a NRR of 0.034.

This meant that the Scorchers had to beat the Renegades to join the Stars on 14 points, but to qualify they would also need to slightly improve their NRR, which was 0.005 going into the final day.

It was another English woman – Nicky Shaw – who did the first part of the job, taking 3-28 as the Renegades were restricted to 108; before Edwards took the wheel as the Scorchers knocked off the runs in 15.2 overs.

Elsewhere,  the Sydney Sixers completed their remarkable “zeroes to heroes” comeback – from last place at Christmas, with just one win from their first 7, they won every match since to finish 3rd – beating the Hurricanes today on the final ball to seal the deal.

Points NRR
1. Sydney Thunder 18 0.358
2. Hobart Hurricanes 16 0.19
3. Sydney Sixers 16 -0.074
4. Perth Scorchers 14 0.166
5. Melbourne Stars 14 0.034
6. Brisbane Heat 14 -0.094
7. Adelaide Strikers 12 -0.131
8. Melbourne Renegades 8 -0.459

NEWS: Sceptical Sussex Slam Super League

Sussex Chief Exec Zac Toumazi has responded to this week’s announcement of the Super League franchises hosts by saying he wishes the competition “every success”… before going on to damningly question the ability of the project to deliver on its key goals.

Sussex gave serious consideration at the highest levels to the idea of bidding to be a host, but in the end decided against doing so – a “strategic decision” which Toumazi attributes rather mysteriously to “a number of factors”.

Rumour has it that fundamental to this was the refusal of the ECB to guarantee the availability of key players from the county to the Super League team; so there is apparently some surprise at Sussex that other hosts (e.g. Yorkshire re. Katherine Brunt and Lancashire re. Kate Cross) do seem to have been given just such assurances.

More generally there was the feeling that Sussex have invested significant time and money in the development of players, the rewards of which they deserved to reap themselves, rather than see leak away to other teams via the stroke of an ECB pen.

Nevertheless far from walking away, Toumazi promises to double-down on the county’s efforts, with an innovative new coaching program for 2016, building on the county’s success at grassroots and elite levels, which Sussex argue will provide a “sustainable future” for the women’s game in terms of both participation and performance… with the clear implication that they believe the Super League will not.

NEWS: ECB Announce Super League Hosts

The ECB has today announced the six hosts selected to compete in the inaugural Women’s Cricket Super League this summer. The hosts are as follows:

  • Hampshire Cricket (in conjunction with Berkshire, Dorset, the Isle of Wight, Oxfordshire, Sussex, Wiltshire and Southampton Solent University)
  • Lancashire County Cricket Board
  • Loughborough University 
  • South West (in conjunction with Somerset, Gloucestershire and the University of Exeter)
  • Surrey County Cricket Club
  • Yorkshire County Cricket Club

 All six teams have been awarded hosting rights until the end of the 2019 season.

The big surprise is the omission of Middlesex, who submitted a bid in conjunction with the MCC, but were ultimately unsuccessful. It is likely that the ECB felt that having two London-based teams was simply not feasible.

Another interesting inclusion is Loughborough University. Despite the fact that the ECB’s National Performance Centre is based on site, the ECB has previously stated that grounds would need to meet a certain minimum standard in order to host WCSL games, and Clare Connor stated back at the original launch event last June that Loughborough’s on-site pitch was unlikely to meet the required standards.

The Super League will run from Saturday 30th July to Sunday 14th August, with the date of the final – along with team names for the six successful hosts – still TBC.