MATCH REPORT: Surrey Read The Wyatt Act

A century from Danni Wyatt made a dead rubber into a thrilling last game of the season, as Sussex fought back from 25-3 to beat Surrey by 3 wickets.

Chasing 218, Sussex had the worst possible start, as Beth Kerins, the pick of the Surrey bowlers today with figures of 3-33, removed both openers cheaply – Georgia Elwiss clean bowled for 6 in her first over of the day, and Georgia Adams (2) caught by Cecily Scutt at mid-off in her third. She followed this up by trapping Izzy Collis lbw for 7.

With Sussex in real trouble, Wyatt’s maturity shone through as she shared a 57-run partnership with Paige Scholfield (28) and then, crucially, remained at the crease for the remainder of Sussex’s innings, as wickets fell steadily at the other end. Even so, Wyatt retained faith in her partners, rotating the strike as Sussex picked off the required runs in ones and twos, thanks to good cameos from Hannah Phelps (19) and Ciara Green (17), always keeping the necessary run rate under 4.5 an over.

When Green fell in the 42nd over with the score on 185-7, Sussex still needed 33 runs, but with words of encouragement from Wyatt she and Tara Norris held their nerve to chase down the target with 2 overs to spare. Wyatt herself finished on 120*, the highest score in Division 1 this season.

Ultimately it was a disciplined and patient innings, compiled with only a smattering of boundaries on a slow pitch, which made it clear to all present that she is more than just a T20 specialist. Made in front of England coach Mark Robinson, it can only have enhanced her international prospects – no bad thing, with the winter squads for the tours to the Caribbean and Sri Lanka to be announced this week.

It came on the back of a solid performance from Wyatt with the ball, finishing as the most economical of the Sussex bowlers with 0-32 from her 10 overs, including a maiden. Bowling in conjunction with captain Georgia Elwiss, the pair put the brakes on Surrey openers Kirstie White and Sophie Pout (27) who had raced away at 4.5 an over in the powerplay but were subsequently restricted to just 2 an over. Wyatt herself also pulled off two run-outs throwing in from midwicket, as Surrey struggled to get much past 200 despite several dropped catches.

It was a big day, too, for Kirstie White, returning from the injury which forced her out of the KSL, yet amassing enough runs across the season (337) to finish as Division 1’s leading run-scorer. Sadly she fell just short of a century, finishing on 98* after 6 Surrey wickets fell in the last 5 overs of their innings to give Sussex maximum bonus points.

After the game Danni Wyatt told CRICKETher that batting conditions had been difficult:

“The pitch got a lot slower and lower in the second innings – you had to really watch the ball. But it was a good opportunity for me to go out there and play every ball on its merit. I’ve been having a few one to ones with Ali Maiden at Loughborough and he said the other day ‘just bat long’. Hopefully it will put me in good stead for selection for West Indies.”

She also praised the performance of the younger Sussex batsmen:

“The young girls that came in towards the end all batted really well, I’m really proud of them. I was quite calm out there and hopefully I made them calm as well. A few of the younger ones were quite nervous but I said ‘just bat, hit the bad balls, run well, it’s a very big outfield, and the runs will come’ – and they did.”

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7 thoughts on “MATCH REPORT: Surrey Read The Wyatt Act

  1. It was a “Wyatt riot” as it were, but I find it hard to believe that the “bat long” idea had not occurred to Danni before now. If she’d not thought of it herself, the coaches should definitely have been pushing it. She’s been playing this unrewarding pinch-hitting role for a while now, desperately trying to whack a few runs in fewer balls. There was little to be gained, and much to lose. It rarely worked and when it so often didn’t, only dented her confidence. It was time it was finished with, frankly.

    Wyatt batting selfishly for Wyatt’s sake is something long overdue, and lo and behold it turned out pretty well for her team, too. I still feel she’s an exciting player to watch and brilliant on her day. I can’t say though, that this will be enough to get her on a winter tour after what has been a very disappointing summer for her, but it shows she has that class, and at least it means she is challenging the other contenders. More competition can only be good.

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    • This was a most ‘mature’ innings – definitely an accurate adjective! But it’s not the first by any means that I’ve seen from that bat. In particular I recall an innings a few seasons ago when batting against Sussex! On a more predictable wicket (the Hove one was quite unpredictable at times!) she showed more of her flair. However, the Hove wicket, mainly low and slow, but with the occasional delivery, especially from Nat Sciver, threatening to take the batman’s head off, this required much more application than any high score than I have seen for several seasons. In fact there were periods when it took all the skill of a class player simply to survive. Wyatt, with more than half of Sussex’s runs, showed what “getting your head down” can achieve. ‘Just a T20 player?’ I have never thought so… If anyone else watching that match did, then surely they will have changed their minds.

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    • Actually, I did not use the word “poor”. I said disappointing.

      This was mainly based on what she did for England in a summer when a few others really took their chances to cement their places for the winter. Unfortunately Wyatt didn’t manage to do this, although her fielding was impressive as usual.

      She has had a pretty decent domestic summer though outside KSL. From what I can see from the stats, she averaged over 60 in 50 overs and 48 in T20, at fast strike rates; and had bowling averages of 20 and 23 in the respective formats with decent overall economy.

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  2. Little bit harsh on her England games James.
    I think if you look back she only ever came in with a few balls or overs left due to the dominance or LW and TB and she was effective doing this playing as you said very unselfishly and effectively.
    She more than filled the shoes of Greenway in the field running out 4 batters individually.
    As you say she had a good domestic season so I would say it’s only the KSL were she was disappointing.
    I do agree with you though, when there is an opportunity to bat a long time she must take it like she did yesterday. She’s been down on the scorecards to go in at 7 for England, for her to have more opportunity to bat a long time she would need to bat higher than that. Who do you think she should bat higher than?

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    • Well I think most of her best scores in the last year or so (County, WNCL and WBBL1) have come batting at 4 or 5, this is probably her best position. It should be up to Wyatt really, but the issue is that England have Winfield, Beaumont, Knight, Sciver and Elwiss to put in as well who all deserve their places. I did raise an eyebrow when Elwiss was promoted to 3, which wasn’t without reason, but she’s done well there so far. If you include Amy Jones in the top 6 as well, which we probably should, (and add Fran Wilson into the mix!) the earliest Wyatt can bat for England looks like it might be 7 or even 8 under the current batting lineup.

      So the answer seems to be that there is just a difference between where England and her club sides can put her in. All of this assumes of course that she will be picked for the upcoming tour(s).

      Warickshire Loyalist, as an obvious Wyatt fan you should have a debate with Mr. Martin Saxon who seems to be one of her detractors…I’d pay to see that Battle Royale happen!

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