England v Pakistan 1st T20 – England’s World T20 Team Takes Shape

Is today’s XI the team which will take to the field come February 23, England’s first fixture in the 2020 World Twenty20? It seems more than likely. Heather Knight may change things up later in this series, but for now, you’d say that this is the team she believes has the best shot at winning them the world title.

That means Amy Jones back at the top of the order, with Tammy Beaumont dropping down to 3, which is my personal preference, as I tweeted during the second ODI:

Jones certainly looked much more confident today, hitting a 38-ball half-century. It wasn’t a chanceless innings, featuring a couple of inside edges which she was lucky to get away with, but in T20 you need to take risks, especially when your partner at the other end is getting a bit bogged down.

For their part, Pakistan bowled well enough to restrict Tammy Beaumont to only a-run-a-ball. In particular, 15-year-old debutant Syeda Shah dazzled the England batsmen with her leg spin: Jones bowled after failing to read a straight one, while only a fumble by wicketkeeper Sidra Nawaz prevented Shah from also picking up the wicket of Nat Sciver in her next over.

Oddly, when Beaumont was finally dismissed in the 16th, England chose to send in Katherine Brunt at 5. With 4-and-a-bit overs still remaining, you’d think that Knight would back herself ahead of her frontline seamer; or even Fran Wilson, fresh from her unbeaten 85 in the second ODI. Not only is the England captain clearly the superior batsman, I’d also question whether it’s really worth knackering Brunt with the bat in this heat when you also want her to open with the ball? (Her economy rate today – 9 – seemed to suffer accordingly.) I’m not sure it’s a tactic I’d repeat.

As it turned out, when Knight did finally make it to the crease in the final over, she bludgeoned three consecutive boundaries. Of course England won easily – never in doubt? hmmm – but you’d hope they might be scoring upwards of 175 batting first against Pakistan, who are clearly a much weaker side.

One player who must surely have cemented her place in the WT20 squad after today’s game is Freya Davies. With Davies entrusted with opening the bowling for England, it seems that Knight has more faith in her Western Storm (and soon to be London Spirit) teammate than former coach Mark Robinson; faith that was repaid handsomely today. Bowling quickly and getting a touch of swing, Davies made as experienced a batsman as Javeria Khan look ridiculous – the opener totally exposing her stumps, swinging and missing completely as the ball clattered into off-stump. Davies’ ability to bowl dot balls in the powerplay – she managed 9 today – is also invaluable.

If this IS Knight’s first-choice XI, you’d expect England to go into the 2nd T20 unchanged, to give them another outing together ahead of their Australian odyssey. Mady Villiers and Kirstie Gordon might therefore have to wait a bit longer to get their first opportunity of the tour.

3 thoughts on “England v Pakistan 1st T20 – England’s World T20 Team Takes Shape

  1. Very solid performance from England once more and I agree that Pakistan never quite looked like they would be able to get the runs. England were comfortable but not a lot more. It wasn’t a huge margin of victory. This was the pitch used in the first ODI, that isn’t quite as pacy as the track used in the latter two. If a few more things went an improving Pakistan’s way, I could see them getting very close indeed in this format. Nida Dar hasn’t been great so far but can’t keep failing forever, she’s due a score.

    Jones’ innings was excellent although she got a couple of slices of fortune along the way. Beaumont also played well, Sciver too – and the latter was close to player of the match for her 34, 2/12 and fine last catch to dismiss Bismah right on the deep midwicket boundary.

    Some of Pakistan’s early boundaries were a bit streaky, and Davies was causing problems almost every ball with her swing and accuracy. It was a dream opening over and near perfect start for her. Then Ecclestone was brilliant and with the score at 47/4 at the end of the powerplay England’s bowlers just kept it a bit too tight for Pakistan to get in any sort of winning position.


  2. Based on performances in WBBL05, I think Danni Wyatt and Amy Jones are the right opening pair for England in the T20 World Cup. If they can both get going, England will be a threat to any side in the tournament.

    Though Tammy Beaumont’s overall international record is very good, she has not impressed me in the WBBL to the same extent. For those who know more about batting than I do, is that a technical issue she has in Australian conditions?


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