Back in March this year, England took on Sri Lanka in a T20 international in Colombo. It was the 3rd match of the series, and everything clicked for England – after a 96 run opening stand between Danni Wyatt (51) and Amy Jones (57), Tammy Beaumont (42) and Nat Sciver (49 off just 24 balls) took the score on past 200, to close on 204-2. In reply, Sri Lanka limped to 108-6 – England the victors by 96 runs.
It was the kind of eating that the big sharks often hand out to the minnows – it was also on the Subcontinent, at the 2014 Women’s World T20 in Bangladesh, that Australia had done similar to Ireland – Meg Lanning hitting the (then) record T20 individual score of 126 off 65 balls as the Southern Stars ran out 78 run winners.
Yesterday evening in Chelmsford we saw another huge win for a top side… and another explosive world record century from Meg Lanning; but the difference was that Australia’s victory wasn’t against Sri Lanka or Ireland – it was against England, the team who are currently the 2nd best in the world, according to the ICC’s rankings.
Are the ICC’s rankings wrong? No! Heather Knight was right post-match when she said that England hadn’t become a bad side overnight – in the past 18 months they have beaten all the teams immediately below them – New Zealand (in the T20 tri-series last summer); West Indies this summer; and India, out in India, in the spring.
England also reached the T20 World Cup final last November; but it was the result of that match – Australia strolling to victory – which in retrospect presaged the events of this Women’s Ashes, culminating in last night’s humiliation.
England aren’t a bad side; but in the last year, Australia have pumped themselves up to another level, and England are struggling to keep up.
During the last Women’s Ashes in Australia, the Southern Stars ran a marketing campaign which ran through the star players with the hook line: If X doesn’t get you, Y will! E.g.: If Healy doesn’t get you, Jonassen will! It seemed almost arrogant at the time, and proved so when England came back to level the series with some spectacular T20 cricket, including the famous double-century match in Canberra, where Beth Mooney hit 117 off 70 balls, only to be trumped by Danni Wyatt smashing 100 off 57.
But after what has happened in this series, If X doesn’t get you, Y will! doesn’t seem arrogant any more – it just seems like a statement of fact.
If Perry doesn’t get you in the 3rd ODI, Lanning will in the 1st T20.
And even if you are England – even if you are the second best side in the world – there’s nothing you can do about it.