Brunt Bounces Back
Something Mark Robinson’s England have in spades is resilience. To bounce back after throwing away the Ashes in the space of a few overs on Friday can’t have been easy, but the way they came out today, to not just win but wipe out their opponents, made an important statement about the way this side want to play their cricket.
No one epitomised that attitude more than Katherine Brunt. In tears after the loss on Friday, she somehow channelled all her disappointment and frustration into a sparkling innings of 32* – including the only 2 sixes of England’s innings – and then followed it up with a pace bowling T20 masterclass, conceding just 10 runs from her 4 overs. Sarah Taylor’s stumping of Elyse Villani was itself a masterclass, of course, but it was Brunt’s 3 dot balls up top in the over that forced Villani’s hand.
Basically, don’t upset Katherine Brunt. It’ll come back to bite you in the end.
Gunn Earns Her Spot
There have been question marks over Jenny Gunn’s inclusion in this T20 team, given that it’s Georgia Elwiss – the star of Day 4 at North Sydney – who appears to have given way for her. But Gunn’s bowling in T20 is incredibly precious – she is economical AND takes wickets – and today she really did provide the turning point for England, with her direct hit run out of Beth Mooney; plus that little matter of 4 wickets to boot.
Two Differing Approaches
There were times when you felt today that Matthew Mott had sat the Aussies down before their innings and told them they needed to hit all the runs in boundaries – far too many reckless shots were played, with Healy, Gardner and Haynes all caught trying to hit big. England were much more content to rack up singles and twos, leaving them with wickets in the bank for the crucial final 5 overs.
Nonetheless, the attacking approach has served Australia well over the years, and England might want to consider taking a leaf out of their book. The stats that Syd put out on Twitter earlier about Nat Sciver v Alyssa Healy provide a good point of comparison:
It’s not that Sciver isn’t capable of hitting big, more that she hasn’t often done so in a T20 situation for England – something that needs to change.
So England may have won this match, but there is no room for complacency: their batting, and power hitting in particular, has to be a key area of focus ahead of next year’s WWT20.
Wyatt Up Top
It’s still a bit of a mystery why Heather Knight opened in the first T20 of the series given that she has repeatedly said she doesn’t want to open while captaining – perhaps Robinson felt it was the best option, or perhaps it was just an experiment gone wrong. Either way, it was great to see Danni Wyatt rewarded for her 50 on Friday with a boost to the top of the order; and she certainly did the job required of her today, with quick runs up top to get England off to a positive start. She’s opened before in T20 – the last time was in Cardiff against Australia in 2015 – but has never had a sustained run at it, so maybe that time is now.
A Dead Rubber?
Some will argue that Australia took their foot off the gas today, relaxed about the whole endeavour now they have secured the Ashes trophy. If there’s any truth in that, it’s pretty poor – England could still go on and draw the series on points. They could also still win the T20 leg of the series; and a T20 series win in the year before a T20 World Cup is not to be sniffed at. In short, it’s all to play for come Tuesday.
Much better from England. With the Ashes settled, perhaps that little bit of extra pressure being off both teams brought about a slightly more relaxed approach (however subconsciously) and saw Australia go off the boil – perhaps putting too much belief in their own publicity – and England play with freedom.
Important contributions from several players with points to prove in one way or another, producing a proper team performance. Wyatt certainly brought a punch to the opening overs, Taylor and Sciver played the situation well, and Brunt made sure the impetus at the 15 over mark didn’t go to waste.
The bowling was generally tight and we had a stroke of luck when we needed it in Mooney running herself out when the opening pair were well set – no luck in Gunn’s throw, but it wouldn’t have brought a wicket had Mooney not gone for a single that didn’t need to be taken. Ironic, Perhaps, given Australia’s apparent intend to inflict death by boundaries.
So we have a series that can still be drawn, which may be scant consolation but counts nonetheless.
There has been some “revisionism” in the last week or two about this England team. Not as good as they think they are, “lucky” World Cup winners, and so on. I don’t hold with that, but I do believe that we’ve been below par enough to allow the Aussies to take advantage.
Is this part of a wider issue for English/British team sports? We aren’t good at building success on success. The 1966 World Cup, 2003 Rugby Union World Cup, 2009 WWC and T20, 2010 Mens T20, even the 1990 Football World Cup semi-final – all “one-off” successes that were never built on. We seem good at building to a peak but not so good at turning tgat into sustained dominance.
That was as big a thrashing as Australia served up in the 1st T20 and the best performance of the tour. Well done.
Still a lot on the final T20. Squaring an Ashes series in Australia should be measured, not by who won the Ashes in the previous series, but what has happened in this series. In Australian conditions, out of season, with no luck at all with umpiring decisions, an 8-8 would be a creditable outcome.
The long and the short of all this is Ecclestone and Beaumont. Is Ecclestone now the tallest member of team and is she the tallest spinner we’ve ever had. Is Beaumont really so short that she managed to get LBW’ed with the ball hitting her shoulder ?
What a fantastic effort to win the second T20. That’s shows a lot of character to bounce back like that.
There is a lot of work to be done underneath to get more girls competing for places and a lot of work is still needed to be done for England to be the dominant team we would like them to be. We must though stop over reacting at every loss.
Wether England lose tomorrow or win it is undeniable they have improved. They hit more 6s than they used to in all compitions. They have hit their highest scores in ODIs against NZ, Australia and SA. They are a better fielding team although still have some weaker fielders and they regularly show more backbone. England have outf fielded Australia in the last 2 T20s and out ran them between the wickets on Sunday.
Yes we need some quick bowlers to come through, a leg spinner would be nice and where are all the left hand batters? the only one I know in county cricket is Eve Jones.
Despite all the above, win or lose tomorrow it has been a fantastic 2017 and I’m proud I’ve been able to watch a lot of it even if it has been on the television.
A welcome return to form for Katherine, in particular she got her slower ball accurate and a good all round performance by the team. Another very poor umpiring decision to give Tammy LBW – it was going over. Are the umpires international grade and from neutral countries as in the men’s internationals or local? Another example of the women’s game getting second best as with no DRS?
Umpires are local.
What will England do without Gunn & Brunt – will it all be about spin and nagging seam up?