The last time England and the West Indies faced-off was at the World Twenty20 last November, on a sweltering night in St Lucia.
“It feels like a long time ago,” says England opener Amy Jones. “They played very well that day.”
In an intense encounter, the West Indies were on fire – they were sharp in the field and bowled aggressively, putting England under early pressure to restrict them to 115; and then batted frantically to overhaul the total with 3 balls to spare.
The crowd that night were immense – “I remember it was very noisy – very loud!” says Jones. Indeed, it felt like England weren’t facing 11 West Indians but 8 thousand, roaring them on for every wicket, every catch and every run.
The star of the show was Deandra Dottin, whose 2 wickets and 46 runs earned her the Player of the Match award.
On that night it felt like the Windies were back – they had recovered from their humiliation by South Africa at the 50-over World Cup in England, and were looking more like the title holders, who had won the World T20 in India two years before.
Six months later, the West Indies meet England again.
But this was no sizzling night in St Lucia – it was a windy day-nighter in Leicester! There was no roaring crowd – about 300 turned up, despite more than twice that many advance tickets being sold – and no Deandra Dottin.
And without those twin talismen – the crowd and the crowd-pleaser – the West Indies fell to pieces. They let England get a start – putting on 57 for the wicket; and then failed to capitalise on their double breakthrough – allowing England to push on… and then pile-on – scoring 80 runs between the 30th and 40th overs.
They were shocking in the field – balls went over them, past them, and sometimes just right through them – but they looked like they didn’t really care – like they had given up on the series before it had even begun.
Self-belief is a huge part of international cricket – and the West Indies clearly didn’t believe they could chase 318. Kycia Knight’s 16 off 45 balls was not even the epitome – it was the captain Stafanie Taylor’s 1 off 11 balls which really said it all – WE CAN’T DO THIS – painted in capital letters all over their faces.
In some ways, it was worse for the West Indies than that World Cup game against South Africa when they were bowled out for 48. South Africa’s bowlers had the collective game of their lives that day – today England were merely efficient – it was all they needed to be… and they still won by over 200 runs!
Can the Windies recover from this mental drubbing before Sunday’s next encounter at Worcester? It didn’t look like it from their expressions, as they trudged across the outfield back to the team bus after the game.
But England should not be complacent – cricket is a funny game – you can go from zero to hero… and back to zero again… awfully quickly.
Just ask the West Indies!
The West Indies were unbelieveably poor today. The bowling was the best part of their game and that says it all really.
The contrast between the two teams in the field was marked. While England were still throwing themselves around trying to cut off runs when the West Indies were seven down, the West Indies looked like they’d given up.
I think Stafanie Taylor’s captaincy deserves some criticism as well. When Jones and Knight were going along nicely, she did nothing to change the situation bowling herself and Fletcher, neither looking like breaking the partnership. The only way West Indies got any wickets today was down to English batting errors or trying to force the pace.
The batting wasn’t much better either. As soon as Brunt and Cross shut down the openers, they pretty much gave up. I absolutely agree about Taylor and her dismissal summed up her team, lazy and uncaring. Kycia Knight’s innings was almost painful to watch and other than Chadeen Nation, no-one comes out of the game with any credit.
Positives for England. Tammy Beaumont looked in wondeful touch but she’ll be gutted not to get a score, there was a big one for her there today. Amy Jones continues to mature, compare todays innings to the one last year against New Zealand at Leeds. There the boundaries dried up and she gave her wicket away in the 60’s, today she continued to accumilate the singles and waited for the right ball to hit. Heather Knight was calm and reliable as ever, both should have got centuries though. Bowling wise, Katherine Brunt and Kate Cross were outstanding, Cross in particular deserved more than one wicket. Sophie Ecclestone and Laura Marsh bowled well though they were helped by the West Indies’ bafflingly passive approach.
Things to work on: Too many extras especially wides, four catches went down, I’ll let Heather Knight off because that was a difficult chance but Marsh and Jones x2 really should have taken theirs. The last ten overs of the England innings saw a real loss of momentum but that happens when players come in and have to attack though I think Nat Sciver and Brunt were trying to be to clever with their dismissals.
Overall a good start but I’d like to see a more competitive game at Worcester (weather permitting.)
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Most women’s ODI career innings played as opener without making a half-century:
48 Kycia Knight (WI)
26 Bismah Maroof (PAK)
21 Nipuni Hansika (SL); Maarje Koster (NED); Vibeke Neilsen (DEN)
20 Edmee Janss (NED)
… but in terms of ‘firsts’ :-
(a) is Amy Jones the first person to hit a six off the first ball of a women’s international match
(b) are England the first team (men or women) to hit a 6 off the first and last ball of an innings in any international match.
And TWO players hitting their first ball for 6?!
and of course there is the old cherry of whether Ecclestone is the first person, man or women, to end up with a scoring rate of 600 from their innings.
The starting XI for the match showed only 2 changes from the match prior to the Robinson regime coming into place. The missing two were commentating on Sky!
I hope the likes of Dunkley, Smiths (Briony and Linsey) , Gordon (when fully fit) and others which are gradually coming onto the scene are blooded into the set up sooner rather than later.
Good performance though, very pleased for Amy Jones and the skipper who was in control from the start.
Great performance by England on Thursday and a good start to the summer! Really enjoyed the batting and liked the approach where they pressed on and punished anything loose but still showed restraint. It got a bit crazy near the end but we didn’t waste any overs at least. The bowling was a notch better than the rest of the WI game so over 300 was a great total.
Bowling was impressive too, we now have 3 top opening bowlers with Cross who can come straight on if Brunt or Shrubsole are struggling. Let’s see how the next game pans out, but very positive signs for England.