In the Good Old Days™ – 5 or 6 years ago – the powerplay didn’t seem to matter much in women’s T20 cricket. When 120 was often a match-winning score, players brought up in a 50-over mindset eschewed the risks of going “over the top”, and looked instead to accumulate.
It would be easy to look at the scorecard from yesterday’s Stars v Thunder match-up at Guildford and think how everything has changed. Lizelle Lee opened the innings for the Stars, who were chasing a no-longer-par 120, and smashed 66 off 45 balls – surely an example of putting the “power” into powerplay?
Except… that’s not quite what happened.
It was actually the post-powerplay overs that were the difference between the two sides, as the (smoothed average) run rate chart shows.
Batting first, the Thunder didn’t have a great powerplay – Marizanne Kapp was exceptional, a she always is, going at just 3.5 runs per over, bowling all 4 overs up-top – but when the Stars came to reply, the Thunder were actually ahead for the first 4 overs; and it wasn’t until the “boring” middle overs that Lee and the Stars really took off.
In contrast, the Thunder had totally slumped in the middle overs – they really were “boring”, with the boundary barely troubled.
Harmanpreet Kaur was at the crease that whole time, and though she eventually got going in a final assault which brought 44 runs off the last 4 overs, prior to that she’d been batting at well under 100 – at the end of the 17th she was on just 25 off 36 balls.
Ellyse Perry’s T20 innings used to follow a similar pattern – she’d often be 10 off 20 balls; 15 off 30 – but then accelerate to finish 60 off 40. On the final scorecard, it looked respectable; but there were a lot of wasted deliveries along the way, and she obviously realised it was a problem, because she worked hard to change it, and she now typically goes at a strike rate of over 100 from the off.
Talking to Thunder captain Kate Cross after the game, she said: “Harmanpreet batted superbly and gave us an opportunity – when she flipped that switch and decided to go, she proved what you can do on a pitch like that.”
And there’s no arguing with that, but… yes… there’s a but!
As the senior player – the big overseas star – was it perhaps her responsibility to flip that switch a lot earlier? To make the most of those middle overs, instead of wasting them?
Having an “opportunity” is better than not having one; but that middle over slump left the Thunder relying on an “opportunity” when they could have used that period to take command, with plenty of batting still to come, right down to Eve Jones coming in at 9.
Those middle overs are where the Thunder could have won that game.
Instead, it was were they lost it.
You make some good points, but I don’t think Lancashire Thunder can really blame Kaur for the loss. She’s well known as a slow-ish starter who builds into her innings, then explodes later, and Thunder would have known that when signing her. She isn’t quite as good as Perry really (but let’s face it, who is?)
Instead I would point out some key moments that went against them and for Stars. For example, I was impressed with the way Boyce started her innings, but she got out at an inopportune time, then went on to drop Taylor in the leg-side infield at a point where Thunder could still have made Stars sweat a bit, and maybe prevented them getting a bonus point. And there’s the larger problem of Thunder’s pace attack being very short, with only Cross and the part-time seam of McGrath to offer. Lamb and Dunkley might be decent bowlers but they’re probably being given too much responsibility in this side. If a bowler like Ecclestone has a bit of an off day, like she did here, I feel they will struggle to contain the other KSL sides to a total they can manage.
This isn’t really true. Perry in t20is is still haven’t shown she can play at great S/R. She has worked hard to be able to score at faster rate, but she can do that at the Sydney Sixers. But considering the kind of arsenal Australia has it is probably not an optimal batting order if you have Perry in the top 6. As far as Kaur is concerned she had good run in t20is since the last 50 over world cup, obviously striking at much faster rate than the likes of Perry ( 125.36 vs 118.06), Lancashire’s lack of England batting options in the top order is the reason for one of their struggles. Kaur had to bat this way in the second match, meanwhile she came late in the 3rd match. Both matches McGrath’s struggle at number 3 cost them. One solution is to swap McGrath and Dunkley’s positions. I think she is good enough to bat 3 and will get her the opportunities she needs and that should be one of the purpose of KSL. You can’t just say there is no top order England batters and deny her the chance. In India’s women’s t20 challenge Team Velocity is top order refused to go attacking in a match saying middle order local talent is not good enough and in the next match Sushma Verma showed why they were wrong in that assessment. Same is the case for many promising young Indians, they all bat in top 4 in their domestic sides and when they come to challenger tournaments they lack opportunities behind the internationals. Dunkley’s fortune at the moment reminds me of Devika Vaidya’s, both are probably the best batting all-rounders in their country ( both bowl leg spin), but lack of opportunities in the top order is probably gonna cost them a selection in the national side they probably deserve. Teams should be courageous like Australia to bump up youngsters and let the likes of Haynes, Perry play the fail-safe if required at 6 and 7.
Hey, it’s only an opinion. You’re clearly just talking about the first part of my comment, and I think the article and what I said were assessing Perry and Kaur overall and not just in T20. We could debate all day who’s better (England have been on the receiving end from Perry lately so we might be biased), but the main point is they are both brilliant. I agree with most of what you said though. McGrath has been struggling for touch and has chewed up a lot of dot balls for Thunder, who should try and move a few players like Lamb, Threlkeld and Jones higher up.
Same here mate, just an opinion. Nothing to do with who is better as a cricketer. I feel both England and India undersell their domestic talent/performers. I see lot of talent out there, but no point if you don’t provide them with opportunities at tournaments like this. Throw them at the deep end. If they fail at the top order, then you can always have the back up in overseas stars and internationals coming in and rescue the innings. If it works you have more talent to choose from for the national side. Even at a cursory glance can see lot of talent out there, who should be developed if Women’s game need to be more competitive and catch up with the Southern Stars.