After a thoroughly convincing win in the T20 Tri-Series Final at Chelmsford, are England now favourites going into the World T20 in the Caribbean this autumn?
Heather Knight was typically reluctant to get over-excited:
“I don’t think we’ll be favourites – it is hard to look past Australia – but I think we’ll be up there.”
Nevertheless, having won the T20 rubber of the Women’s Ashes, and now this Tri-Series against New Zealand and South Africa, there will be no better-placed team going into the tournament.
England’s batting has obviously enjoyed a remarkable renaissance – it says much about the way the team are playing that it feels like Dani Wyatt had a quiet series… yet she still scored two 50s at a Strike Rate of 138.
But in a way, in a Batsman’s Series like this, where the world record total has been broken not once but twice, what you actually need is your bowlers to turn up, and England’s definitely did, especially today.
“The bowling has been the highlight for me,” Knight told us. “The bowlers have been very consistent. It was a very good wicket today, but the way we’ve executed our plans on different types of pitches has been really good.”
This is why Sophie Ecclestone, not leading run-scorer Tammy Beaumont, was our Player of the Series – to take 10 wickets at an Economy Rate of a shade over 7 is a splendid return; but more impressive was the way she took her wickets. Like everyone, she was knocked around at times, but she responded by keeping her head and just sticking to her game-plan.
“You obviously get hit in T20,” she said today, “but it is all part of the game – you get your rewards if you just bowl straight, keeping the stumps in play.”
Heather Knight was also full of praise for the left-armer:
“She’s matured a lot in the last year – she’s become a lot more savvy with how she goes about her bowling – she’s very tall so she gets some extra bounce and attacks both edges of the bat.”
With Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole also back on the absolute pinnacle of their games this is what England will need in the West Indies, where there will perhaps be less batting-friendly pitches. England really did hardly bowl a bad ball today, and they backed it up with some tight work in the field – if they can do that in November, we could well be looking at double-World Champions.