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.