“I was disappointed with the first game from a personal point of view.”
Who said this?
West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor, who scored 1 off 11 balls?
Veteran allrounder Stacy-Ann King, who got smacked for 25 runs in 2 overs, mostly by Amy Jones?
Nope – it was England’s Anya Shrubsole, who hit 13 off 9 balls at the death, and then bowled 6 overs for 27 runs – not taking a wicket, but going at a perfectly respectable Economy Rate of 4.5. It wasn’t a Player of the Match performance, but it was hardly disappointing – conditions just weren’t in her favour, and that’s life as a swing bowler.
Here at Worcester, conditions were more in her favour. There was rain around – as there had been at Lords during her famous spell at the World Cup final in 2017 – and the ball was swinging. (Possibly a bit too much for Britney Cooper, who TV replays suggested probably should not have been given out LBW.)
But it was actually with the bat that Shrubsole had made the bigger impact. Coming in at 8, she hit 32 off 16 balls – a Strike Rate of 200 in a game where 100 was par. Together with Sophie Ecclestone, she turned what was heading for a 5-an-over ask, into one closer to 6-an-over – still a huge psychological difference in women’s ODIs.
Prior to Shrubsole’s intervention, the West Indies had looked a bit more “up for it” in the field; but heads started to go down during those last 10 overs, and when they came out to bat they looked already beaten again – chasing 6-an-over, they delivered just 2.6 in the first 10 overs they faced, for the loss of 3 wickets, and the game was pretty-much done by that point – only the weather was going to stop England, even before the second rain adjustment.
(Messrs Duckworth, Lewis & Stern were definitely on England’s side tonight – especially that second foreshortening, which gave the Windies no chance whatsoever – it might have been fair in terms of wickets, but it killed the game, turning the last 8 overs into a funeral procession, and though England kept gamely at it, the West Indies (perhaps not unreasonably this time) really didn’t.)
So, England have won the series and are all-but qualified to defend their World Cup in New Zealand. (There are whispers that the BCCI want to play their series against Pakistan, which pushes England’s moment of mathematical certainty a bit further into the future, but we are already at the point where an awful lot would have to go wrong, including England losing 3-0 to Pakistan in their final series, not to qualify directly.)
We now move to Chelmsford on Thursday – England’s Twenty20 “Fortress” hosting an ODI for the first time since 2009. The weather on the long-range forecast looks a bit dodgy again, but hopefully we’ll get a game and with Anya Shrubsole on the team, maybe a bit of weather isn’t such a bad thing after all!