#WT20 – England v West Indies

This was the tournament thriller we’d all been waiting for – West Indies eventually winning with a mere 3 balls to spare. From England’s perspective, though, it should never have got that close.

Was this England’s worst batting performance of the Mark Robinson era? Of England’s top 6, only Tammy Beaumont made it into double figures, and it could have been even worse than that: Beaumont herself was dropped on 12, to a skier that the Windies keeper couldn’t quite cling onto.

At one stage it even looked like England could be dismissed for their record lowest score in T20Is – 87 v Australia at Hove in 2015 (a performance which this was reminiscent of at times).

Enter Sophia Dunkley for her first forage into international batting. She wouldn’t have been human if she hadn’t been nervous – and there were certainly some anxious swipes early on – but this is a player who, as I’ve written before, isn’t cowed easily. To finish as England’s top-scorer on debut, to stand firm as all around you lose their heads (Ed: do you mean wickets?), and to hit England’s first six of the tournament in the process – that takes a certain kind of temperament.

Captain Heather Knight summed it up afterwards:

“She has had to wait 3 games to get out there and get the bat in hand, and she has been itching at the bit to do that. The way she played, under that amount of pressure in front of 10,000 people – I’m really pleased for her.”

Dunkley was of course ably backed up by Anya Shrubsole, who after batting for 8 overs then came straight out to open the bowling. Her inswingers delivered two quick wickets in her first over, leaving West Indies 3-2 and England suddenly in with an unexpected shot at winning this match.

Had she taken a third, all might well have been different. Deandra Dottin could easily have been dismissed when still on 0* – Shrubsole inducing a miscue that fell only just safe of Sophie Ecclestone at mid-off. As it was, her 46 off 52 balls was crucial as West Indies wended their way towards the target.

“We held our nerve,” Dottin said afterwards, when asked about the difference between the two sides today. “We had a never die attitude.”

England, meanwhile, appeared to completely lose their heads in the field. It was as if, after Dottin began doing her thing, panic set in: there were all manner of fumbles, poor throws which could otherwise have been real run out opportunities, and just plain dropped catches. It was odd, too, that Knight chose to persist with Dani Hazell – who had gone at 9 an over in her first outing – when she could have turned to the leg-spin of Dunkley, or even bowled herself.

“It was very difficult conditions – the ball went very high, and fielding under the lights with the dark skies is something we haven’t done in this competition yet,” Knight said afterwards. “A little bit more skill and composure would have got us over the line.”

Skill and composure will be exactly what is required on Thursday, where they are now destined to meet India (not Australia as many expected) in their semi-final.

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22 thoughts on “#WT20 – England v West Indies

  1. I could understand substitute Fran Wilson and newbie/tournament debutant Dunkley letting the nerves get to them. But I was almost shocked when Jones called for, and then muffed, a ball coming straight down. And it seemed to affect her so much she then lost all her sharpness behind the stumps.

    I can only hope they’ve got it out of their systems: we can’t afford this in the knockouts.

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  2. Top 6 batting very poor; fielding was very poor. Thank goodness nothing was riding on it – although they’ve screwed up media coverage of the semi-final (from prime time 8pm to midnight when most people are asleep).
    Is Anya the 1st player male or female to take 4 wickets in 4 balls in any format of international cricket (3 wickets with her last 3 balls of the SA match and a wicket with her 1st ball of this one). Presumably not, given I can’t find any coverage of it.

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  3. A great shame as they had it in their grasp!
    Good to see Sophia Dunkley getting a chance at last, and taking it with both hands….at least with the bat! The fielding mishaps in the last five overs must be banked as a challenge to finish strongly from now on. A new experience of high tension cricket for many of this “new” team. Surprised with the persistence with Dani Hazell, rusty? Definitely not on song, anyone else could have come on to have a go.
    Chance of revenge in an England-West Indies final!

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    • I suspect the word ‘revenge’ might be used before the final. The semis : (1) repeat of last T20 world cup final (2) repeat of last ODI world cup final.

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  4. Find it difficult to think of England as favourites. People just haven’t had enough crease time. Brunt is probably as big a miss with the bat as with the ball in this environment. Best chance is to snaffle Kaur and other key batters early on and hope to edge a low scoring match? We know India don’t bat down the order, after the 2017 final when Shrubsole ran through them simply by bowling straight.

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  5. While a defeat hurts, I suppose if you’re going to lose a game it might as well be one with nothing riding on it.

    Poor batting from England, Nat Sciver’s dismissal was reminiscent of Geriant Jones’ at Adelaide in 2005/6 (shudders at the memory of that test!), a truly awful shot. Thank goodness for Sophia Dunkley and Anya Shrubsole. More than anything, it’s good that Dunkley had some time in the middle and she took advantage.

    Another monumental effort from Anya Shrubsole with the ball. Along with others, I have to question why Dani Hazell was given so many overs. surely Heather Knight could have brought herself on at some point. Also, is it just me is Sophie Ecclestone struggling a bit too?

    I’d make India favourites for the Semi-Final. If the pitches in Antigua are like those in the tournament so far, I fancy the Indian spinners to strangle the life out of the English batters. In the other semi, I just can’t see West Indies beating Australia. It will need a colossal effort from either Matthews, Dottin or Taylor to even give them a chance.

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    • Sciver was unlucky, she should have left the ball as it probably would have been wided, but leaving anything in T20 is asking for criticism too. Knight was unlucky with a LBW that might not have been given (review retained) but she should have played straighter really.

      Windies are capable of beating Australia. I’d be surprised if Australia win easily.

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      • Well there you go…fairly shocking performance from Windies, from the 19th over bowling, onwards, Batting without much of a Scooby…Probably wrong choice to bowl first! Aussies really needed to do not much to win, nothing spectacular from them at all. England give the best matches, that’s my conclusion.

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  6. A close match may turn out to be no bad thing for England, although I’m sure they would rather have won it. Dunkley has time and runs under her belt, and flaws have been highlighted and can hopefully be addressed over the next couple of days.

    We are missing Brunt, though. Assuming she would have played instead of Winfield or Dunkley, she would have provided a sixth bowling option. I suspect Knight was reluctant to bowl herself being too similar to Hazell, and Dunkley due to inexperience. However I think Dunkley would have been worth a go – unfamiliar to most of the Windies batters and full of confidence from her batting, which can sometimes ‘carry over’.

    I wasn’t sure about the wisdom of giving Shrubsole a third over ‘up top’. I get the idea of wanting to snatch another wicket at that stage, but it left us short of an option later on, given that she was earmarked for over 20.

    Building up nicely now, isn’t it? I’ve said Australia all along but looking at the four semi-finalists I think all are potential winners. What a great situation for the competition!

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    • Meant to mention the dropped catches. Neither Dunkley nor Jones judged their skiers well, in fact Dunkley didn’t lay a hand on hers so it wasn’t technically a drop. And Wilson seemed to misjudge hers too. I wonder about the lack of experience under lights? All three seemed to be a case of not being well positioned rather than doing everything right and only then failing to take the ball cleanly.

      Countering that, of course, Danni Wyatt took two screamers. Perhaps they didn’t come ‘out of the lights’ like the others may have done?

      Kycia Knight too guilty of dropping Beaumont from a similar chance to Jones’s drop, albeit in daylight. I’ve heard it suggested before that a white ball against a very bright sky is hard to judge, perhaps that’s why she misjudged that one?

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  7. I think the worst England batting display under Robinson was the first ODI against SA this year where we were 80-7 with more than 20 overs left . In my opinion, for the worst batting display of a side to be in a T20, it would have to be really, really bad. I do agree that the 87 from 2015 was not great and near the worst, but that was pre-Robbo.

    I think Australia’s rather poor attempt a chasing India’s 167 on Saturday was worse than yesterday, for one. Because they died wondering, and ended up nowhere. Perry was the only player who found a solution to wide, full bowling and played properly. I can’t see the India-England game going exactly like that. One of the things I like most about England, apart from their terrific fighting spirit, and the way they enjoy their cricket, is their never say die attitude.

    The reason England’s total was not actually so bad, was that the runs never completely dried up. If you look at the statistics from the match, England’s scoring rate was more consistent that Windies, with fewer very low scoring overs. Indeed, I’d suggest England’s main batting problem was more rooted in their inability to regularly clear the boundary with sixes, and that’s what is holding them back.

    I really dislike commentators and reporters making out that 20 over games should be batted in the same way as 50 over games,
    because there’s no way they should. The same number of wickets are spread over far fewer overs. I’d rather England lost wickets trying to get runs. The main difference between the strong sides and the weaker sides in this competition, as many commentators have pointed out- is aggression with the bat, intent to score runs, and the ability to back that up. In a sense, there isn’t really such a thing as a “collapse” in T20, not in the same way as in tests and ODIs; more just an attempt to increase the scoring rate that went awry. I hope you can see what I mean.

    Yes the fielding went wrong at the end, but that’s the time when the home advantage really tells, we saw it with England doing well at the end of matches in the 2017 WWC. I actually think England’s performance was pretty good overall. We saw the best and most competitive match of the tournament so far, played in a brilliant atmosphere. We should never expect to just waltz in and dominate the home side on such occasions. Hazell had a bad day at the office; if she’d turned up on song, it could have been different.

    The semis should be tight affairs too. Australia will need a much improved performance to beat Windies in my opinion. Windies have been very good in the field so far, so I can’t see the Aussies running away with it unless they play spectacularly well. England and India are usually pretty closely matched, but with India looking in a bit better form and not missing big players like England, they should perhaps be more confident, and after revenge for the 50-over final result.

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    • That SA game earlier this summer – we were 64-6 in the SEVENTEENTH over, and 97-8 with 15 to go. Who dragged us to respectability, if not victory? Katherine Brunt. We miss more than just her ability with bat and ball, we miss the sheer “You can get stuffed if you think you’re rolling over any team with me in it” character she brings.

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