POST-MATCH: England Coast To Win… And Meanwhile At Headingley

A short while into New Zealand’s innings at Headingley a huge cheer went up amongst the crowd – 2,638 miles away England had scored in their World Cup quarter-final against Sweden in Samara, and with the TVs in the hospitality boxes (and the press box) tuned to the BBC, many of the 2,000-strong crowd in Leeds obviously had half an eye on the action in both of the day’s big games!

The players out in the middle were definitely not unaware of what was going on – “We got goose bumps on the pitch hearing that!” said Nat Sciver afterwards.

Another goal followed for England’s footballers and as they coasted towards what turned out to be a fairly straightforward win, England’s women were doing very much the same. Sciver diplomatically said that New Zealand are “by no means a two-batsman team” but it does rather look that way nonetheless.

Sophie Devine and Suzie Bates put on 70 for the first wicket – the sort of score you’d generally call a “strong platform” – but for New Zealand the platform is built on a middle-order made of sand, and they proceeded to lose 4 wickets for 5 runs in 3 overs, losing not only Devine and Bates, but also Amy Satthertwaite, whose purple patch in 2016-17 – when she scored 4 consecutive centuries – is starting to look like ancient history.

New Zealand’s eventual collapse to 148 all out had a horrible feeling of inevitability about it from the moment Sophie Ecclestone held  a very good running catch to dismiss Devine; and once Katie George had caught Bates off Sciver and Elwiss had trapped Satterthwaite LBW, it was time to start the crane.

This was after England had posted a score of 290-5, which felt slightly under-par at the half-way mark, for which much credit has to go to Amelia Kerr, who was the pick of the New Zealand bowlers, taking 2 big wickets (Amy Jones and Sarah Taylor) and perhaps more importantly going for just 36 runs in 10 overs.

Sciver admitted that England were wary of Kerr:

“Amelia was probably their most attacking bowler, so we were making sure that we took the easy ones against her and cashing in at the other end.”

Kerr was really the difference that meant England didn’t get past that 300 mark; but mention also must go to Katherine Brunt who produced the goods again with the bat to at least get them close – it wasn’t the prettiest cricket, but it was pretty effective, and meant Nat Sciver had more freedom to play her improvisations at the other end, knowing that there were runs coming from both ends.

In the end it was one of those improvisations that did for Sciver – LBW trying to play the “Natmeg” – but with some big boundaries and a wicket that was a bit slow, it was probably the right way to play and after going on to take 3 wickets as well, Sciver was awarded Player of the Match.

As for the White Ferns… unlike Sweden they can’t go home yet – there are still two matches more to play; and they are going to have to play a lot better than they did today or it is going to be a very long plane trip back to New Zealand at the end of next week.

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5 thoughts on “POST-MATCH: England Coast To Win… And Meanwhile At Headingley

  1. One statistic sums up where New Zealand are. Across the five T20s and today’s ODI since they arrived in England, leaving aside Bates and Devine, the rest of their squad is averaging 9.59 (nine point five nine) with the bat.

    You can win a few T20s with those stats, but you’re really going to struggle in 50 over cricket, and so it proved today. Losing their two stars within 7 balls killed the game dead. They knew it, England knew it, sitting in the stands the rest of us knew it too. A pity, because to that point the game was far from done and dusted.

    In contrast England were able to rebuild after a number of players “got in and then got out.” Whilst there were slower periods – notably through 20-30 overs – it always seemed that England had another gear up their sleeves even with 4 or 5 wickets down. Are we seriously disappointed with 290 off 50 overs? If the answer is yes (and it probably is) that’s a mark of where England are at, very much in contrast to the opposition today.

    Kerr impressed again but the rest of the bowlers were inconsistent and unable to maintain pressure. Three times Tahuhu started a new spell with a leg-side wide. And why the continual bowling changes? It smacks of over-thinking things, trying to be too clever.

    Not perfect from England in the field again but the catches that were taken were all worthy of praise. I confess myself taken with Katie George – a work in progress with the ball, undoubtedly, but I think she’s made of the right stuff and her catch today was very well taken.

    A mention too for Georgia Elwiss whose excellent spell maintained Brunt’s early pressure and brought about the breakthrough. Coming in “cold” I thought she was excellent.

    One small aside… The final three balls of NZ’s innings were the start of the “Power Play”, with only three fielders allowed out of the ring. England had four for all three balls, yet nobody noticed, not the skipper, the fielders, the batsmen, nor the umpires.

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  2. It was another very good and professional performance from England, I like the way they were more “secure” today in batting, it meant they missed out on a few runs but kept plenty of wickets in hand for the end, and never really looked in trouble. With NZ looking a bit insecure in their innings, it was fine to do that. We don’t have to score 300 every innings, although it would be nice!

    When she plays well Amy Jones looks like she belongs at the top of the order. It was tough to score at more than a run a ball today for anyone, with a slightly slow pitch and big boundaries, so credit has to go to Knight again for her batting and captaincy. Who randomly decided the boundaries should be at least 10 metres longer than most other Women’s Championship matches (in England at least)? It’s not great for consistency…

    England’s “try and hit me” bowlers, Elwiss and Sciver, did really well as the early changes, and created pressure which NZ couldn’t deal with. I thought England’s attack might suffer without Shrubsole but even with Ecclestone not quite at her best today, the others stood up instead.

    NZ need to try something else, and quick. It was a mistake dropping Priest, but they must separate Bates and Devine and get Satts back into form. Maybe give her licence for a more free-hitting role. The other players who look like they could get significant runs are Green and Kerr and they should be placed between Bates and Devine in the order. Even as an ardent England fan I hope NZ play (a bit) better on Tuesday.

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  3. Really good all round display by England. The batters all contributed although no one went on to make a big score. Good to see Amy Jones go past 30 but she seemed to get a bit bogged down by the spinners and get a bit frustrated. It was also a shame Sarah Taylor and Nat Sciver got out when they did because both were looking like they would make big scores. While 290 was obviously way too good for New Zealand, it felt like England should have got over 300.

    The thing with New Zealand’s batting at the moment is it doesn’t matter how well Bates and Devine are going, if you get them out it’s game over. I don’t know what’s happened to Amy Sattertwaithe but from my untrained eye and perhaps the angle I was sitting it, she looks to be standing too far across her stumps. It would it explain why she’s been LBW playing across the line as well.

    Katie George looks like she’s got some talent but she is very raw at the moment. If Anya Shrubsole is back on Tuesday, I suspect she drops out though.

    Did enjoy the England football match going in background, when the cheer went up for the second goal, I’m pretty sure Heather Knight punched the air! Also enjoyed the DJ playing ‘Three Lions’ at the fall of Kasperek’s wicket and the England players dancing!

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  4. Another very professional performance from England. At the moment they are making what was a very hyped up N.Z team after their trip to Ireland look very ordinary.
    It was obviously a very dry wicket on Saturday not helped with it been used 2 days earlier. Heather Knights innings was crucial in making sure they got an above par score. I actually don’t mind the boundaries been different at times as it allows you to see which team can adapt the most. What I don’t understand is how they can seem to vary so much. My understanding is they have to be between 55 and 65 yards and they definitely seemed bigger than that the other day.
    Katie George looks another great find. Yes she’s raw but definitely looks to have a real future.

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