“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!
“The weather on the long-range forecast looks a bit dodgy again”
Given a one hour heavy shower was followed by 90 minutes of no play and a 10 minute shower was followed by about 35 minutes of no play and given the ground protection looks pretty as much it did in the 1970s, one might ask why cricket has not solved the issue of covering the whole ground. For years it was claimed that a horse racing course could not be covered – until Cheltenham proved it could be.
Even then it still takes some mopping up, the water accumulated on the covers has to be disposed of somehow. The ‘Super Sopper’ at Worcester yesterday spent ages trundling across the covers and then disgorging its contents beyond the ropes. Covering the whole ground will take time and given the type of deluge we had yesterday (I was under much of it!) the outfield will still get very wet. I think we just have to accept that it takes time to get a ground ready for play again once the rain stops.
Anyway, as for the match…
I thought England were very good, given the interruptions. The pitch didn’t look ideal for batting and the outfield appeared slow. They seemed to weigh up pretty quickly that boundaries weren’t going to be easy to hit and settled for milking as many 1s and 2s as they could until taking a few risks in the later stages. Even with the spate of wickets in the second half of the innings I would guess they ended up about 20 above a par score. It helps, of course, when you know that the opposition probably isn’t going to be able to chase down a half-decent target.
Really disappointed with West Indies in both games so far. Yes, they were better in the field for most of the innings today, but it seemed to unravel very quickly as soon as Shrubsole hit out, and their efforts at chasing in both games – however challenging the task – have been pitiful to non-existent. Perhaps not having Dottin has affected their confidence, and you might argue that conditions are not what some of the players are used to, but they are surely better than they have shown so far.
Going to have a little moan first. The rain stopped at 1.30, the covers were removed and the pitch was inspected at 2. Why did we then have to wait another half hour to play? Surely if everything’s ready, play can start straight away.
As for the match itself, I didn’t think many of the England batters really got to grips with the pitch but it was still a very good effort in the end. West Indies were so much better in the field and bowled well but you could see their heads go down after the Shrubsole onslaught.
There’s clearly a massive Deandra Dottin shaped hole in that West Indies lineup at the moment and again, the batting was unconvicing to say the least. I’m confused as to why Hayley Matthews was so unhappy with her dismissal, it was a very clear edge (and a wonderful catch by Sarah Taylor). Stafanie Taylor looks all at sea with the bat at the moment, unsure whether to play herself in or attack.
I did think this would be an England series win 2-1 but the way the West Indies have played, I suspect a clean sweep at Chelmsford (weather permitting.) The T20’s should be far more competitive.
I thought it was another solid performance by England. But West Indies failed to turn up with the bat again after the first few overs. Beaumont, Sciver and Shrubsole played particularly well in the damp conditions and slow outfield that meant a massive score wasn’t really possible. I was a bit worried the game might be called off at one point , with England so close to DLS victory, but they managed to get back on and finish. Although past the 20 overs mark, Windies showed very little intent and seemed happy to get batting practice, like they should have done before the series started.