Kuala Lumpur is the business capital of Malaysia, so it is perhaps appropriate that England turned-in a businesslike performance to win the 1st ODI versus Pakistan.
“Businesslike” may seem an unfair label for a display which included two centuries, for Danni Wyatt and Tammy Beaumont, in a 180-run opening stand, followed by a 4fer for Kate Cross as England bowled the Pakistanis out well short of their target; and perhaps our perceptions were coloured by watching it all on four hours’ sleep, but “entertaining” it was not!
Nevertheless, this could have been a banana skin – the first match of the tour, with the entire batting order having spent a hectic six weeks in Australia at the WBBL, while all the bowlers were stuck trying not to gather rust in the indoor nets at Loughborough. There was definitely scope for it all to go horribly wrong, and the fact that it didn’t is probably the important thing here.
This is not to subscribe to the Matthew Mott mantra of “Our Job Is Just To Win”. It really isn’t – your job is to get people to pay money to watch you, and that means entertaining them! But every once in a while you gotta do what you gotta do, and facing Pakistan in their home conditions, in oppressive heat and humidity, in the 1st ODI of the series, was maybe one of those times.
Heather Knight has talked a fair bit in the lead-up to this series of a “New Era” post Mark Robinson. She seems to be very-much in charge now, and it was interesting to hear Danni Wyatt after the match say:
“Heather’s given me licence to play my game at the top of the order.” [Emphasis ours.]
Just a few months ago, it would have been Robbo giving her that licence.
So what did Heather do differently?
Well, she gave Wyatt back the spot at the top of the order that she wanted, and that certainly came off as she posted her first ODI hundred, at quicker than a run-a-ball. She played some nice shots, particularly driving inside-out over the top of cover / mid off, and looked confident in her game.
Alongside her Tammy Beaumont put in a more measured performance, and it took her a while to work out how to score runs outside of the powerplay, as her Strike Rate dropped to around 40 through overs 11-20, before picking up again to finish at around 75.
England’s (and I guess Heather’s) big decision was what to do at first drop? No 3 was Sarah Taylor’s role so someone needs to step into it now. Heather herself did that today, but was this based on the match situation, or will she do that job from now on? My impression is that it’s not a role she particularly wants, but she may have decided that she needs to take that responsibility anyway – it will be interesting to see what happens in the next couple of games.
With the ball, Sarah Glenn became the first player to make their international debut in an ODI since Alex Hartley in 2016, with England under Mark Robinson generally using T20s to blood new selections. Glenn pretty-much picked up where she left off in KSL – bowling tidily; making the batsman play and making them think. She wasn’t getting a huge amount of turn, but she picked up a couple of wickets towards the end, including a nice LBW which did do a bit, edging leg through the air, and then turning in off the pitch to hit more of middle than leg. (Diana, at the non-striker’s end, didn’t look impressed at the time, but she was wrong!)
The interesting question going forwards is whether England stick with the same XI for the rest of the series? Batting-wise, I’d guess they will – there aren’t too many options, though Lauren Winfield will be hoping to get an opportunity at some stage. Bowling-wise, it would seem harsh to “drop” Glenn, and I’d like to see her play all 3 ODIs; but with those 3 games coming in less than a week, they probably do need to rest the quicks at some point and bring in Davies, though they may wait until the 3rd ODI to do it – we’ll find out on Thursday.
Reblogged this on UMPIRE BELL.
If I had to choose between “the entire batting order having spent a hectic six weeks in Australia” playing top level cricket and them spending that time indoors at Loughboro – I know which I’d choose. Playing out of season has always been a challenge so one could argue that the Wyatt/Beaumont performance today was a beneficial carry over from their Oz adventures – particularly Wyatt who played as if she was still a Renegade despite it being an ODI not a T20.
Solid win. Interesting decision to have Dani Wyatt open given how successful Amy Jones has been in the role – Ashes aside. Is it a long term plan? i like the idea of having Wyatt bat further up the order but I do feel it’s a bit unfair on Jones. Perhaps she can bat 3 and have Heather Knight at 4.
Should England win the series in the next game, I’d like to see Freya Davies come into the side. Katherine Brunt surely can’t go on for much longer and there should be some succession planning.
To be fair to Brunt, when she does play there’s not much sign that “she can’t go on for much longer”. Still very good.
From what I’ve seen it was a very good performance from England. It was a decent flat wicket. The batting was nearly ideal, with a big foundation set by the openers so it didn’t matter if the middle order stumbled a bit in pursuit of quick runs at the end. Wyatt was particularly impressive and very strong through and over the off-side, as always. She’s nothing if not entertaining. Beaumont was clearly in not quite as good touch, but still hunkered down and came through some tough early moments with her trademark behind square shots on both sides of the wicket. Recording a century is not too common an occurrence (who knows when the next one will come) so they both deserve a lot of credit for it.
England bowled nice and full, there didn’t appear to be too much short stuff which is probably a good thing. Shrubsole and Brunt were good as usual. Cross was very impressive and tied a few of the Pakistan batsmen in knots. Interestingly, pace seemed more effective for England than spin. It didn’t appear to be a pitch that especially favoured spin, as I would have expected. Glenn caused plenty of problems though and was economical, a very good debut. Ecclestone looked slightly below her best and a touch wayward but there’s still time in the series.
Pakistan have upped their batting power a bit since last I saw them and can now go at 5 runs an over rather than only 3 or 4 since they were last in England. Boundaries come more regularly now and they can get 9 or 10 an over although maybe not sustain it for as long as they need to. Fielding, although slightly improved, is definitely still an issue around the boundary and England are streets ahead in that department. Pakistan have made up some ground on the best but still have much work to do if they want to break into the top 6 nations. Still, there were moments in the chase where it looked like they might potentially get close, given a bit of luck and an England funny five minutes. Both have happened plenty of times before. Can they build on this for the remaining 2 matches I wonder.
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