Random Thoughts: West Indies v England 5th ODI

Selection

  • Both teams fielded unchanged teams again today – meaning that for England, the same 11 players contested all 3 of the Championship ODIs this series. Continuity of selection isn’t necessarily a bad thing – but all the same it’s rather baffling that, despite having been ruled fit, Beth Langston hasn’t played a single game on this tour. Why take a back-up quick bowler away on tour if, when your leading strike bowler gets injured, you aren’t going to select her? Odd.

England’s Fielding

  • It would have been easy for England to come out with their heads hanging after the disappointing display on Sunday. But in the field today they looked confident and together. Indeed it was England’s sharp fielding on the ring throughout the middle overs that kept the pressure firmly on the West Indies, and led to some rather questionable shot selection.

Alex Hartley

  • Here at CRICKETher we’ve been accused of having a pro-Hartley bias many times – right now that doesn’t feel like such a bad thing! No praise for Alex Hartley seems too high at the moment. Once again today she was bang on the money all the way through her 10 overs; someone needs to tell the West Indian batsmen that you can’t really get away with trying to slog sweep her.
  • While her record-breaking 13 wickets across the series – the most ever by an England player in a bilateral ODI series – needs to be tempered with the fact that 5-match ODI series are less common in recent years, it’s still an impressive achievement for someone who only made her international debut 4 months ago. What’s more, she’s taking crucial wickets at crucial times: she’s got Stafanie Taylor out twice this series, which is often tantamount to winning a game. We look forward to many more Hartley wickets!

Nat Sciver

  • It’s always nerve-racking to watch England chasing, even (perhaps especially?!) when it’s a low total. Today’s chase was no different – when Knight got out today, leaving England 112-3, you really did feel they were still capable of making a horlicks of it! That they didn’t was largely thanks to a calm and mature innings from Nat Sciver. She proved she was capable of changing up the tempo of her game – her natural inclination would be to play shots, but today it was all about taking it slowly, realising that the important thing was that she was still there at the end of the innings. Opening the bowling in tandem with Katherine Brunt this series has put a lot of pressure on Sciver but, with two half-centuries across the five games, she’s shown she can provide some much-needed backbone to England’s middle-order. Music to the ears of England fans ahead of next year’s home World Cup.
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7 thoughts on “Random Thoughts: West Indies v England 5th ODI

  1. That was an impressive display by England to close out a fascinating series. A few nagging doubts will remain but there were some major pluses for them, the biggest obviously being Hartley’s emergence as a key wicket taking threat.
    After going wicketless in South Africa, Brunt now has 19 ODI wickets in 2016. That’s equal with 2010 as her joint best total in a calendar year.
    Sciver is looking increasingly impressive. 3rd highest run scorer in the series with a SR of 75.6 whilst no-one else scored above 65.04.
    I think in the last 2 ODIs England have alighted on the top 4 that should line up for the start of the World Cup next summer.

    Before the start of the series Stafanie Taylor had amassed just 89 runs against England in 9 previous ODI meetings. This was the first time she scored 3 fifties in an ODI series and was only the 11th time a player has scored 200+ runs & taken 5+ wickets in the same ODI series. Taylor and Karen Rolton are the only players to have done it twice.
    It would be wrong to characterise the West Indies as a one-woman team (Dottin and Fletcher’s wickets were key to keeping the series competitive) but they still lack depth in the longer format.
    Beyond Taylor’s three half-centuries there were only two other WI scores above 30 in the series and Anisa Mohammed’s series haul of just 4 wickets will be a concern.

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  2. Well done to England, this was an important milestone in the team’s progress. The dreaded chase was overcome at last. Good thing it was a below-par score set by West Indies. Another 30-40 might have been very difficult to reach.

    Langston could have been selected, but the issue was, who’d be dropped instead? The Marsh-Hartley spin combo worked nicely, Brunt is bowling well and let’s face it the pitches were more suited to spin than anything else. I suppose Gunn was the beneficiary – but as England already had a more inexperienced bowler in Hartley it was deemed too much of a risk to pick another.

    I agree about Hartley though- what a bowler she’s proved to be over the series, with 4 very good performances. She has a real knack for taking big wickets at important times. Her ground fielding is also improving, I noticed. If she can round out her game with better catching and a bit more batting practice, she will be invaluable to England for quite some time I think. Sciver has always been a quality player for me, but she is now playing her mature innings much more frequently.

    I think England can take a lot of positives from what was a tough, intense series. We put out 4 good bowling performances from 5, and 3 decent batting performances from 5. The fielding mostly held out over the course of the series, with a few exceptions here and there but you might expect that anyway. Few players played badly and came out of the series worse than they went in. In each game – even the ones we lost – there were positives to draw from. The only performance which turned out to be really lacking was the 4th ODI, and we were still in the game for much of that. That’s not bad overall, and it could certainly have been a heck of a lot worse.

    Of course England will still be looking to solidify their middle order a bit, and the collapses are still an ongoing concern, but I think the top four is probably about right now. West Indies on the other hand might have to look more closely at the consistency of their team, as without Taylor and/or Dottin, they could struggle against the top four sides, especially away from their home patch.

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  3. Huge congratulations to all the girls. They are definitely moving in the right direction.
    Congratulations to to the management team too. There is now Hartley to add to Besumont and Winfield who have been brought out of the cold and prospered.

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  4. Yes congratulations to Heather and the girls, absolutely splendid.
    On selection, I think your way off Raf. It was pretty obvious the slower bowlers were more effective than the quicks. Connel and Dottin were expensive in the last 2 games as England looked to target them. I was actually thinking they should be playing Hazel for Gunn but she did help England win the third ODI.
    I think you should actually be congratulating Knight for getting it right. As James said another inexperienced bowler would have been a risk especially a quick bowler.

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    • Langston isn’t like Connel & Dottin though – she is really quick – faster than Brunt and Shrubsole, if the rumours are to be believed – so she was the one bowler who might have got something out of these pitches and been a threat. But it is true she might have been expensive with it, and maybe this was the call?

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      • Yeah, perhaps Brunt is slowing down – only one stumping off her ODI bowling prior to this tour and now two in one series !!
        Guess who completed the sole previous stumping off Brunt’s ODI bowling – no not Taylor, but Jane Smit who way back in 2005 stumped Fitzpatrick of Australia off Brunt (Taylor has twice done it in T20s).

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