The winner takes it all, so they say, and there is no doubt that England were the winners in the Caribbean this month, taking the series 3-2 and moving up to 2nd place in the Women’s International Championship, with a 4-2 points victory.
Meanwhile, Head Coach Mark Robinson was reportedly spotted at a flea-market in Kingston, selling his entire wardrobe to make space in his suitcase for all the “massive positives” he will be bringing home – two half-centuries apiece for Nat Sciver and Lauren Winfield, and one for Tammy Beaumont, in conditions that could hardly have been more unfriendly to the batsmen.
Then of course there were those 13 wickets at an Strike Economy Rate of 3.4 for Alex Hartley – a record for England in a bilateral series; plus also not to mention, 10 wickets for 31-year-old Katherine Brunt, proving that if age is a barrier, it is one she is determined to meet with a short pitched delivery and a long, lacerating stare!
Nevertheless, any impression that England “triumphed” has to be counterbalanced by a reading of the facts. They lost two matches, and lost them badly – collapsing to 110 all out in the 2nd ODI, having lost 7 wickets for 17 runs; and to 181 all out in the 4th ODI, having lost 6 wickets for 20 runs.
Even in the final ODI, with the West Indies visibly slumping in the field, they managed to make it look like hard work as they lost the late wickets of Wyatt and Elwiss – watch the reactions of Amy Jones and Nat Sciver in this clip as they win the series:
There are cheers from the boundary, sure; but out in the middle there are no arms aloft in celebration, nor bats raised in triumph – just a fist-bump and a sense of exhausted relief – Sciver and Jones were only too well aware of just how narrowly it felt like they’d squeaked it!
ABBA were right – in sport, the winner really does take it all, as they will in next year’s World Cup; but England will know that if that winner is going to be them, they are going to need to be more consistent than they have been here, because lose two games there, and you’re not going to win the World Cup.