Mark Robinson made little secret yesterday of the fact that he wasn’t happy with England’s pedestrian victory against Bangladesh, telling the BBC:
“I thought we went backwards today… In the middle of the innings, you can’t settle for six an over. We’re better than that.”
But the evidence might suggest that England weren’t so much going backwards as continuing in the direction they’ve been travelling for a while.
Here are the T20 career Strike Rates for England’s leading batsmen – Sarah Taylor and Charlotte Edwards:
The red line is a “trend line” which shows the general direction things are going… and it is pretty clear that it is downhill. Not only that, but it is under the 100 marker these days in both cases – and nothing like the 130-140 to which Robinson aspires.
If there is one ray of hope for the future, it is in the rise of Heather Knight:
Here at least the trend is going uphill rather than down – perhaps supporting our suggestion a few weeks ago that Knight is the only England player to have made significant steps forwards in the past couple of years.
None of this means that England can’t win this WWT20; but if they are going to do so, they are either going to need to bat significantly against the trend, or bowl extraordinarily well.
But with even the on-message Edwards admitting yesterday that “there’s a bit of work we can do on our bowling” that is going to be tough, especially in conditions which might not entirely favour Shrubsole and Brunt, or even Hazell and Knight, who don’t get the turn that (say) Luus and van Niekerk will for South Africa.
“England already have NRR advantage over WI. We only need NRR advantage over one of India and WI, not both. People seem to forget that. Of course, if England beat India on Tuesday, they will have four points, good NRR and probably only need to beat Pakistan to get through.”
This is a good point; and the focus must now of course be on winning against India so we can hopefully then easily qualify for the semis. But whether a Strike Rate hovering around 100 will be enough to beat New Zealand or Australia when we get there, is another matter!