England’s WWT20 campaign gets started later today, as they take on qualifiers Bangladesh in Bangalore, starting at 10am UK time.
Bangladesh are the lowest-ranked seeds in the competition – they were (narrowly) beaten by Ireland in the final of the qualifying tournament last December; and put to the sword by India in the opening match of the WWT20 earlier this week.
It almost goes without saying that this is a game England should win; but the truth is that they need more than a victory.
Although West Indies had a bit of a scare against Pakistan yesterday, the likelihood is still that this group will be a 3-horse race between West Indies, India and England; but with only two of those sides going through to the knock-out stages, there is therefore a fair chance that our old friend Net Run Rate will be making an appearance before we’re done.
With India having recorded a mammoth 72 run victory over Bangladesh, they are now in the driving-seat with a NRR of +3.6, so England ideally need to better that, either by bowling the Women Tigers out cheaply or by scoring a serious hatful of runs.
Sarah Taylor aside, England have not looked entirely convincing recently – scraping through their tour to South Africa with a pair of 2-1 series victories, where some largely forgettable batting displays were accompanied by fielding performances that they probably only wish they could forget!
But now is the time to put all that behind us. England have 5-or-6 absolutely world class players – Taylor, of course; Edwards and Knight who had massively successful WBBLs; and with the ball, Shrubsole (ranked #1 in the world in T20s) and Hazel (ranked #2); plus Brunt, who might not be quite the threat she once was, but who you underestimate at your peril.
Are England favorites for this tournament? Certainly not! Can they win it? Definitely… but they need to lay down a big marker from the off; and against Bangladesh today, nothing less than a crushing victory will do.