#WT20 – Five Reasons To Be Proud Of England (And Scotland)

So #WT20 2018 is done and dusted and we’re getting ready to fly back home, away from mosquitos and back to winter coats. But, while England couldn’t quite snatch the trophy away from Australia, we’re still proud to support them. Here’s why:

1. They Reached The Final Against All Odds

England did most of their preparation for this tournament in a tent at Loughborough, had their warm-up fixture against Australia rained off, and then spent days cooped up in hotel rooms in St Lucia while the rain came down. The rain even cost them points when their fixture against Sri Lanka was abandoned without a ball being bowled. Despite that they reached their second global final in 15 months.

“We’ve shown some brilliant heart and brilliant fight in this tournament,” Heather Knight said. She was spot on.

2. They Successfully Blooded New Players

In a surprise move, Mark Robinson chose to throw all 3 of his debutants (Linsey Smith, Kirstie Gordon and Sophia Dunkley) in at the deep end in the same match. It was sink or swim: and they all swum.

Dunkley had to wait until her third match to get her first opportunity with the bat, but it was worth the wait as she top-scored against West Indies to take England to a competitive total in a match that they only just lost. Smith bowled well in the powerplay and picked up her first international wicket in only her third over of the tournament.

Meanwhile Kirstie Gordon topped off her meteoric rise into international cricket by finishing as England’s leading wicket-taker. Gordon remains a proud Scot (Scottish readers, please note the title of this piece!) but is equally proud to wear the England colours. It’s been great to see young cricketers making their mark on the side so quickly.

3. They Overcame The Loss Of Sarah Taylor And Katherine Brunt

Taylor’s and Brunt’s were big shoes to fill, two senior players with over 400 caps between them. Cue Amy Jones and Nat Sciver stepping into the breach.

Not having a settled role in the side has made life difficult for Jones in the past but in this tournament she showed a new confidence and maturity with the bat, her innings in the semi-final in tricky conditions a case in point.

Her partner in that run chase, Nat Sciver, has been seen largely as a batsman in recent years, but having remodelled her action just prior to this tournament she showed off just what she can do with the ball, opening the bowling in all but one of England’s matches and taking 3-4 against South Africa.

4. They Showed They Are A Better, Fitter Side Than They Were In 2016

In 2016, in the wake of England’s loss to Australia in the World Twenty20 semi-final, Mark Robinson identified one key issue: fitness. During this tournament England showed that they have taken that critique to heart, working hard over the past 2 years to reach peak physical condition. Their running between the wickets has been lightning quick, creating singles that just wouldn’t have been there in 2016. On pitches where boundaries were hard to find, that was crucial.

5. They Have The Best Fans In The World

Of all the teams bar West Indies, who had the obvious advantage of a home crowd, England were far and away the best supported side in the tournament. Fans came from far and wide, some to their first ever international tournament, having watched the World Cup last year and become smitten with a brilliant team. We know how they feel: we’ve loved every minute of watching this team too.

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15 thoughts on “#WT20 – Five Reasons To Be Proud Of England (And Scotland)

  1. Just my thoughts too.
    Obvious disappointment, a few in tears BUT did stupendously well to get to the Final!
    So well done all, the experienced, the newbies and those who did not get a game.

    Frustrations;
    Money ££
    When will ECB/Counties stump up the cash for a wider group of players in the County teams to be paid something? Many, if not all of the Aussies from the final team are now paid (if someone could shed light on numbers?)

    Standard of Umpires.
    Although not crucial decisions, most of the umpires seemed aloof, too rigid to apply common sense made some odd decisions. I.E. in final Dani Hazell faced high no ball, square leg umpire gave it then rescinded!! Why not use video team?
    Or were they not allowed?
    They seemed a bit “Rabbit in the headlights” at times, too scared to make decisions.
    However, good stuff girls! Be proud of what you did.

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  2. “England were far and away the best supported side” – although to be fair to other nations one only have to get out a globe to realise England isn’t close to the West Indies but its a lot closer than most other nations (ex. Ireland who were the nearest (!) and South Africa), particularly Australia and New Zealand. Hats off to any of their supporters that made the trip.

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    • To be really ‘anal’ about this, someone from near Port Hedland or Broome in the north west of Australia would have had to travel the furthest to Antigua.

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  3. I agree with pretty much all of this. England weren’t perfect, and will probably feel they could/should have done better in the final, but given some of the things they had to overcome there was far more to be positive than negative about.

    On Taylor and Brunt, it’s worth adding that whilst Jones and Sciver admirably stepped up, they were not ‘replacements’ for those two. Taylor and Brunt would surely have played instead of Winfield and Dunkley, and then we really are looking at an XI to challenge Australia with bat, ball and in the field. Brunt in particular is almost three players in one – a proper batter, leader of the attack, and hugely influential as a ‘figurehead’ within the camp.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes better than expected once I heard Brunt and Taylor would be missing, I was expecting to have to watch from behind the sofa. Just seems there is some sort of mental block when it comes to finals against Australia? We can beat the Aussies in group stages and semis, and when it comes to finals we can beat teams who have beaten the Aussies, like New Zealand and India!

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  5. Completely agree with 2.

    Also believe you may have understated the fitness aspect: Danni Wyatt may literally be the fittest cricketer I have ever seen. I had the privilege of watching her 124 (?) against India at the Brabourne Stadium in Bombay earlier this year.

    My friend and I, in the stands, were grabbing water every break in the overs.

    The Indians, under that sun, were doing the same.

    Wyatt’s batting partners were gasping for drinks and squatting after every ball.

    But Wyatt didn’t squat once. And she refused the tween-overs drink most of the time, preferring just to wipe her face, and the nape of her neck, when the water, and towels, were on offer.

    That, more than her 124 runs, impressed me the most.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Danni Wyatt is a very underrated player all round. She’s got more intelligence than people probably give her credit for (herself included sometimes, maybe on purpose!), she’s a superb athlete and a brilliant fielder. Her T20 role is, by definition, going to be a bit hit and miss now and then, but she always plays for the team. Huge fan!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Completely agree. I also admire her complete dedication to the cause. So I sometimes wonder if the bouncy “Sparky” character is one she feels the need to play up to, just because she once, as a 20 year old (?) proposed to Virat Kohli on twitter.

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    • As a whole, in the Robinson era England have been very impressive with regard to their fitness/running. It’s one of the factors that helped them maintain a decent rate in their group matches despite the conditions in St Lucia.

      In the 2014-2016 World T20 cycle, the average non-boundary SR in matches between the top 10 was 57.86.

      63.64 AUS
      60.27 ENG
      59.12 PAK
      58.88 WI
      58.03 NZ
      57.26 SA
      56.64 IND
      54.32 SL
      53.93 BAN
      48.94 IRE

      Since the 2016 World T20 the average rate has been pretty much static (57.83, one of the few metrics that hasn’t altered in women’s cricket recently), but England are now by far the best running side:

      68.64 ENG
      61.43 NZ
      61.30 AUS
      59.46 IND
      58.75 WI
      56.45 SA
      56.10 PAK
      54.04 IRE
      53.57 SL
      48.54 BAN

      England’s rate of 68.64 (equivalent to 4.12 rpo) means that purely through their running between wickets, they almost compete with Bangladesh’s overall SR, boundaries included (74.75).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Slight pinch-of-salt for this – it might not be only a result of improved fitness or running. Also could be influenced by simply improved batting technique, hitting the boundary-riders harder, or even compensating from not being able to hit the big power shots. I’d argue England need a higher ratio of singles and twos than other sides, as they don’t hit as many sixes!

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  6. A lot went wrong for England in the final, unfortunately, and the result was not reflective of their comparative skill to the Australians, which, as we know is quite similar when they play well. England continually lost wickets at the most inopportune moments but didn’t keep up the run rate to compensate. Although Australia’s fielding was quite poor, their bowling was excellent and relentless in keeping the pressure up.

    England were probably due a bad day at the office, and it duly happened in the final, let’s not sugar-coat it. It was disappointing given the magnitude of the fixture. So many players under-performed. Australia had their off-day against India and were nervous at the start, but grew into the game, whereas England stayed in the game for the first half or so of each innings, but then fell away worryingly in the latter stages of both.

    I wouldn’t have thought Beaumont would end up scoring so few runs, but let’s be honest England didn’t really get the opportunity to flex their batting muscle much at all. The 2 rain affected games, combined with having to chase some small scores meant that the batting line-up looked seriously under-cooked. The batters simply didn’t have enough time in the middle. Nasser summed it up well on Sky Sports – England were playing “catch-up cricket” from ball one. And that can only take you so far.

    Although we tell ourselves England did well and had a good tournament, and they did, especially considering the missing players and rain problems… it doesn’t feel so much like it right now, because of what happened in the final. It was, unfortunately, just the sort of performance England need to avoid on the biggest stage. The sort of performance that embolden the haters and brings plenty of negativity in their direction. On a positive note, England do look like a better side than we did in 2016.

    I don’t think this was the best WWT20. Unfortunately, the competition didn’t live up to its early promise. It was a fine start, with Kaur’s fantastic century and a competitive, exciting game with India and New Zealand, but too often afterwards the matches fizzled out, and there were 4 sides who were clearly stronger than everyone else. The pitches were too often uninspiring, slow and stodgy; and the officiating too often left something to be desired. In the final, Sciver’s lbw review and a clear no-ball beamer bowled to Hazell stood out for me.

    The weather conditions in the final were pretty ridiculous too, given they were a curve-ball thrown in for the last match only. The ever-present breeze mysteriously disappeared, and the dubious decision to play the game in the evening rather than the afternoon, meant that the dew came down like a wet blanket, making fielding a nightmare and gripping the ball tough for England’s more inexperienced bowlers. Knight decided to bat first, and that looked like the wrong decision. Whether it was fear of having to chase in the final, or what I don’t know. England had chased brilliantly in the semi-final so I can’t understand that. The stark facts are that England won 3 from 3 matches chasing and lost 2 from 2 batting first. There is no need to be afraid to bat second.

    I love watching England, but crikey they do make it hard sometimes. I know that’s probably true for a lot of sides as well. But it seems the biggest issue might be mis-reading the match conditions, and not re-adapting. It happens a lot, and England must improve this aspect of their game, to do better in the big moments. If there’s one take-away learning to be had from this, I’d like that to be it.

    For Australia, this was a great moment in their history and no-one can argue that they didn’t deserve to win. The focus will stay on them now with the WBBL starting this weekend. I thought Ash Gardner was brilliant, and deserved the player of the match award.

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  7. Cricket Scotland seem keen on the Commonwealth women’s T20 idea. It could bring great things. Gordon seems to be a phenomenal bowler, and I wonder how many other gems Scotland might have, that we’ve not yet seen. In women’s football, for instance, they have several what I would consider world class players that would waltz into the England side as well.

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    • Suspect West Indies might have an interesting view on this given there would presumably not be a West Indies team; each island nation would have their own team. Ireland would also, of course, be absent (unless there are Ireland players from N Ireland and N Ireland had a team ?).

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