Tammy Beaumont blamed herself for England’s 2nd defeat in the space of 3 days at Leicester, telling us in the post-match: “I probably should have got a few more. I felt good but I got out at the wrong time – I should have been the one to manage the back end of that innings and get us up to 230/ 240 and give us a bit more of a chance.”
To be honest though, that feels a tad unjust – she wasn’t the one that failed! In fact, there is a fair argument that Beaumont should have been Player of the Match – it might be deeply unfashionable to hand the champagne to someone on the losing side, and taking nothing away from Delissa Kimmince, but Kimmince picked off a slogging tail, while Beaumont did the hard graft against Megan Schutt and Ellyse Perry.
TB got over half of England’s runs, and she ran hard to get them. Of each of her 6 ODI centuries, this contained the highest proportion of “run” runs, at 58%, with just 42% of her runs coming in boundaries. (Her other 5 hundreds average 46% “run” runs, and 54% boundaries.)
“I’m always trying to improve,” she said. “I’ve been working really hard with Ali Maiden on my balance, trying to score off more balls – I think that’s the first time I’ve got 100 in 100 balls.”
She thought right too – although two of her other tons ended with a higher strike rate, this was the only one where she actually passed the 100 mark in less than 100 balls… albeit only just – it was 99! (Maybe someone should buy her a Flake to make up for the lack of champagne?)
So where did England lose this match? Knight’s innings doesn’t look great in the scorebook – 17 off 47 balls at a Strike Rate of 36 – but she was clearly desperate to ensure that England didn’t lose another early wicket and end up reliving Tuesday’s collapse, and that was the right thing to do in the situation. And the tail didn’t wag, but you can’t expect it to every time – that’s why it’s a tail!
Overall then, the feeling has to be that England didn’t really “lose” the match so much as Australia “won” it, by batting sensibly at the end. The key player there was Jess Jonassen, who frustrated England 2 years ago in the Test at Canterbury, and did it again here. 31 off 34 balls doesn’t sound like a particularly decisive contribution, but having come in at a point where it could have been swinging back England’s way with 60 still required, Jonassen made sure that the run rate maintained that bit of impetus it still needed, without taking the risks that had seen England bowled out leaving balls on the pitch.
With the Aussies going 4-0 up, regaining the Ashes is an uphill struggle for England now. The Test isn’t technically a “must win” yet – if England win the 3rd ODI they could theoretically draw it and still claim the spoils if they win all the T20s, but the way things have gone so far, you’d have to say they probably aren’t the hottest favourites to do that unfortunately.