TRI-SERIES: Australia v England – “Heather Say Die”

Knight Knight

England twice looked dead and buried in this match – and twice it was captain Heather Knight who refused to say die, seeing England home in a thriller of a match that felt at times like it had as much riding on it as a World Cup final.

At 41-3 at the halfway stage of their innings, England could easily have given up (we nearly gave up on them from our sofa…) To recover as they did to post a total in excess of 150 – beating their effort against India yesterday by 7 runs – was a remarkable effort.

That recovery was spearheaded by Knight, who smashed her highest score in T20 internationals for the second consecutive day in a row – this time with a 45-ball 78; alongside a 115-run stand with Fran Wilson, who underwrote her newly-found status as England’s middle-order power-player.

Then, after debutant Annabel Sutherland smashed Katherine Brunt for 17 off the antepenultimate over, in a display of youthful swagger that almost cost England the game, Knight did the job for her side again in the Super Over – hitting Ellyse Perry for consecutive boundaries to reach the target with two balls to spare. Unsurprisingly she was once again named Player of the Match.

Perry v Jones

Ellyse Perry’s opening spell of 4 consecutive overs went for only 9, but it was interesting to note from coach Matthew Mott that her economy rate wasn’t the only reason she bowled all her overs up front. Mott, interviewed during the match, said that he had sent out a message telling Meg Lanning to keep Perry on for her fourth over because it fitted with their pre-planned “match-ups”. Presumably it hasn’t escaped the Australians’ attention that Amy Jones effectively became Perry’s “bunny” last Ashes, and there is clearly still a psychological “block” there, with Jones playing out 12 dot balls against Perry today. It all built up to what was a frankly suicidal run-out.

Jones’s confidence will have taken a big knock after being unfairly lambasted for claiming the Smriti Catch-That-Wasn’t yesterday, which is very unfortunate. England will need to hope she can find some form across the rest of this series.

Uninvincible Australia

England will take a lot from this win, which will be all the sweeter after Australia walked all over them in the Ashes last summer. More to the point, it showed that Australia aren’t the invincible super-humans that we’ve come to expect. Both Knight and Wilson were dropped at crucial stages in their innings’ – Knight when she was on just 2* – and there were also some distinctly average pieces of fielding on the boundary rope during the Knight-Wilson onslaught. It just goes to show that even the Aussies aren’t immune to pressure when their backs are against the walls.

There is one other cause for concern for the home side. Captain Meg Lanning – who looked uncharacteristically uncomfortable at the crease today – missed the Super Over, having gone off for treatment for a “bad back”. It seems a bit odd that she would miss such a crucial part of the match unless there was something genuinely wrong – fingers crossed she holds up OK for the next match of the series against India tomorrow.

7 thoughts on “TRI-SERIES: Australia v England – “Heather Say Die”

  1. Astonishing series so far for Knight. The opposite for Jones, who even made some slips behind the stumps. But it was very satisfying to watch not just the Knight-Wilson partnership but also the way the England bowlers just kept it tight and still tighter through the middle overs. The last four thrash was scary, but again, keeping them down to just 7 in the Super Over was very special.

    One thing puzzled me: the Australian commentators kept referring to Rachael Haynes as the captain, but surely she wouldn’t be, with Lanning on the field?

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  2. Think that’s England first super over victory. Previous 2 losses were notable (i) in the first loss because they tied the super over and lost on number of 6s hit in the match and (ii) in the second loss because our bowler ended up with the remarkable figures of 0.1-0-9-0 (having managed to concede one no ball and two 4s in the only 2 deliveries required by the opposition).

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  3. Another interesting statistical point : Fran Wilson has the best T20 batting average of the current squad.
    Whilst one could claim she has a better chance of being Not Out given where she bats, she also has a better chance of having to slog her wicket away.

    On a different point; in limited overs matches, why are margins of victory for the team winning having batted second measured in wickets ? Surely a far more meaningful measure is the number of balls remaining.

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  4. A win but I think the Aussies would ignore the ‘superover’ and say they could fight back from any position with batting strength down the order as a result of a competitive BBL.

    Nice to see 3 young bowlers with bright futures in the line-up but England’s batting line-up is a long way from settled and where is the next generation to challenge them?

    As for Jones non-catch the current approach seems to be if you’re not certain you tell the umpires to refer. I hope no one is lambasting her…it was a mistake

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  5. Brilliant from Knight so far. Her T20 game has really come a long way in the last couple of years and she looks on top form here. And Wilson, Glenn, Ecclestone, Sciver all had good games too. Any win over the Aussies is always a good one, and it’s nice to see that the series has been close and is set up for a tight finish.

    Commentators massively biased towards Australia, as expected. And I’m worried that the pitch might not hold up as the Ind-Aus match was very low-scoring. In England this would be played at different grounds to shake things up.

    I’ve said it before, Perry is very good against a lot of players and a lot of teams, not just England and not just Jones. Interesting to see that ESPN offered some criticism towards someone other than Jones (because, you know, that could be a thing) pointing out that the normally excellent Rodrigues had a very poor game against Aus both with bat and in the field.

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