Random Thoughts: West Indies v England 1st ODI

Selection

England went in with 7 batsmen, including Amy Jones – who got her first opportunity out in the middle in an ODI since South Africa last winter – and only 4 bowlers. They can get away with this because they know that between Nat Sciver, Heather Knight and Georgia Elwiss, they have plenty of options for the other 10 overs they need to find.

But where England are gambling a little bit though is in picking both Elwiss and Danni Wyatt – not because this doesn’t work on a game-by-game basis, but because if this is the strategy, it means that they don’t have any backup batsmen on this tour – if the plan is to play 7 batsmen, and someone gets injured, there is no cover and you’re bust! Fingers crossed then! (Especially as the really crucial “Championship” matches are at the end of the tour!)

Batting

Given that the pitch was clearly made of plasticine… and not new plasticine either, but plasticine that has been in the playbox for a year so all the colors have gotten mixed-up into a hazy shade of purply-brown… batting was never going to be easy. It was interesting that the one player that mastered it was Danni “Bish Bash Bosh” Wyatt, who neither bished, nor bashed, nor boshed; but played relatively patiently, hitting just one boundary in her 44. It goes without saying that if she had not knuckled-down as she did, England would not have won this game, and Wyatt was deservedly Man of the Match.

Bowling

It was definitely a “team performance” with the ball – 2 wickets each for Ecclestone and Marsh; and 3 each for Brunt and Hartley.

This was actually a huge game for Alex Hartley – she is six years older than Ecclestone (23 to 17) and had a couple of wobbles over the summer – the pressure was really on to show she could mix it with the big girls out there – and she did – the wicket of Taylor was obviously huge, but to stay focussed and pick up another next ball was just fantastic.

As for Brunt, Heather Knight really threw the dice bringing her back when she did – pace back on the ball could have been just what the doctor ordered for the West Indies, and even if she hadn’t gone for runs, she would have been bowled out with still LOTS of time for the Windies to nurdle their way to victory, which was all they needed to do. But the gamble paid off with the final two wickets; and for the second time in a day, after New Zealand v South Africa earlier, a team had successfully defended a tiny total with the main damage we suspect being to the coach’s fingernails!!

Stream If You Wanna Go Faster

Okay, so the stream was only one (fixed) camera, and the quality was so poor that it was often difficult to see the ball. A second (non-fixed) camera, as Ireland used in the summer, would have made a big difference; but this means having to pay two more people – a cameraman and a producer to flick between them – and here’s the thing: it was still sooooo much better than no stream at all, and together with the TMS commentary, it sure beats refreshing a scorecard on Cricinfo!

There is a lesson for the ECB to learn here – you sometimes get the impression that in terms of coverage it is all or nothing for them – if they can’t afford seventeen cameras, and a production booth the size of a battleship, they would rather not do it. And it is true that a stream like that probably won’t win any new fans; but for the fans you have it is a life-saver in terms of cementing their engagement!

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7 thoughts on “Random Thoughts: West Indies v England 1st ODI

  1. I think for the next edition of the ICC Championship there should be a minimum requirement of at least a single camera streaming for each match.

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  2. We were glued to the live-stream for the final half-hour or so, it was certainly engrossing stuff and a brilliant win at the last. Although the quality of the footage looked as if it was being beamed from Mars, you could just about tell the players apart. The ECB appear to have better quality cameras at the ground but they can’t be used for the live-stream I suppose.

    I’d almost given up hope when the Windies were 100-4 and cruising. The spinners (all 3 of them actually) really pulled it back for England to where Brunt finished it off. Great showings from Hartley and Ecclestone so early in their England careers. Not sure whether this will be seen as a particularly low-scoring match or about normal in the grand scheme of things. I can’t recall the pitches in previous Windies home series being quite that stodgy.

    Without Shrubsole England certainly look to be a pace bowler short, but this is not the worst time to have that problem. The middle order is giving us worries again, but this time Wyatt managed to play a nice innings and I think she should continue to play at her own pace and not be forced into pinch-hitting. Steady accumulation suits her more, it would seem and in those conditions that is more the order of the day. It looks to me as if trying to over-hit the ball and force the pace really doesn’t work, and batters must play their way in and look for plenty of ones and twos. What we don’t want to happen now is for England to fall away in the series just as it hots up, but at least they’ve shown they are capable of performing under pressure. Minimum one more win from the final 3 ODIs and it won’t have been a disaster, although they will obviously be looking for a better return than that now.

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  3. As an aside, was Jones the tallest of the XI that played and, if so, how often has the wicketkeeper been the tallest member of an international XI ?

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