England made it through to the semi-finals of the Twenty20 World Cup by bowling out a slumping West Indies, after posting a solid total on a low, slow pudding at the Sydney Showground.
Earlier in the day South Africa had laid down a marker for what was possible on what was clearly a tough track to bat on – posting 136 against Pakistan, thanks to a brilliant “Closing” half century from Laura Wolvaardt, who hit 53* off just 36 balls at the death. They were runs South Africa really needed – had she struck at a run-a ball, South Africa would have totalled only 119 – exactly the score Pakistan eventually made in their chase.
So with Wolvie’s heroics to live up to, England elected to bat first having won the toss, and sent in Tammy Beaumont instead of Amy Jones to open the innings and get them off to a flying start. It didn’t quite work out as planned up-top – the pressure was all on Beaumont after everything that’s been said in the media, and she found herself walking back after just two balls, LBW to Shakera Selman.
So had the new plan failed?
Initially, yes, but there was a twist in the tale to come!
After Danni Wyatt, Heather Knight and Nat Sciver all contributed, England found themselves with 3 overs remaining on 107-4 – heading for a score of around 126. Then came the twist – Amy Jones, having been dropped down the order, effectively swapping with Beaumont, smacked a vital 23 off 13 balls. With the help of Katherine Brunt (10 off 4) England succeeded in “Closing” the innings even harder than South Africa had done, hitting 12, 11 and 13 off those last 3 overs to finish on 143 – bettering South Africa by 7 runs.
We know how much of an up and down side the Windies can be, so those last 3 overs must have been devastating – they certainly didn’t come in looking like a team that believed they were capable of chasing that total, and so it proved. They played out more dots than the Morse Code… and with very few dashes between the wickets either, they slumped to 97 all out, with Stafanie Taylor retired hurt.
Sophie Ecclestone finished with 3-7 from 3.1 overs; but the Play of the Day for me was Mady Villiers wonderful Caught & Bowled to dismiss Shemaine Campbelle. It was Villiers first outing of the tour, and England emphasised afterwards that it was a tactical change to add another spin option for this particular track, so we may or may not see her again, but she’s taken a special wicket here that will live long in the memory.
England and South Africa now both move across Sydney to the SCG for the semis; but their respective opponents won’t be settled until South Africa take on the Windies – if South Africa win that game, they will face New Zealand or Australia; but lose and they play Group A winners India. They will obviously be going all-out to win, because momentum is so important in a short tournament; but I’m not sure they will be toooooo disappointed if they lose, especially if it turns out to be Australia they end up handing to England in the semis.
Reblogged this on UMPIRE BELL.
Agreed. We need SA to top our group so that they face Aus.
Hope no one in New Zealand has read your comment (although I agree its odds on Australia)
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Very good from England. We got most things right throughout the game, maybe had a bit of luck (Taylor’s injury most notably, at the one point in the game where my worry-ometer was starting to twitch just a tad…), and were ultimately just the better team.
I’m glad Keightley bit the bullet with the batting order. She was on a hiding to nothing – leave it as it was and be accused of stubbornness, or change it be told she was losing her nerve and bowing to media pressure. I think she made the right call.
Jones looked settled at 6. My (amateur) analysis would be that opening she has to set the tone for the innings, and I just don’t think she’s comfortable doing that in T20. At 6 the innings is already shaped and her job should be clearer cut, as it was today – quick runs, and no criticism if you get out. Therefore she was freed of any demons in her mind second-guessing the right approach.
Those last three overs with Brunt were probably the decisive passage of play, as Syd says. One hesitates to invoke the ghost of Tony Greig but this was a perfect illustration of what I think he was rather ham-fistedly trying to say all those years ago.
Pleased to see Villiers get a crack (I did call it after the Pakistan match!), and doing well at a time when we needed to press home the squeeze that Ecclestone and Glenn had exerted. I’m not sure she will become a regular but she will have a role in the years to come on pitches where England might need what she brings.
My gut feeling is that we will play India in the semi-finals, and that on a good pitch they will out-bat us, whilst on a low, slow one they will out-bowl us. Hope I’m wrong either way.
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It was another very good England performance and they’ve deserved to get through to the semis. Anything could happen from this point onward – the Aus/NZ game could be a classic if NZ perform and I hope they do. Not sure how likely that is though. I liked the way Wyatt played early on, quite defensive and risk-free actually but she got us off to a decent start despite losing Beaumont early. Jones looked much better coming in at 6. Sciver’s phenomenal form continues, too. The 3 spinners were brilliant once more and the spin bowling really has been the outstanding feature so far for England.
India have been the form team so far, but they do have their weaknesses. I still feel they’re a bit tactically one-dimensional and heavily reliant on three or four players (but the same is true for most other teams). When their spinners don’t target the stumps, it’s a risky tactic that looks lucky when it comes off…although there’s probably more to it than that. I just think any side that resists the temptation to come down the pitch, and instead plays the ball late, can do well against them. India are also a bit reliant on hitting boundaries so I think a good tactic against them is to force them to run lots of singles.
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South Africa won’t be bother in the slightest who they play in the Semis. Every team has to believe they can beat whatever opponent they face and South Africans don’t tend to have a problem with sporting self-belief.
If they get Australia it’ll just be a case of “bring it on” for them and that’s how it should be.
Another good win. You could argue that West Indies may have won had Stafanie Taylor not been injured but even then it still would have been unlikely.
Despite her failure, moving Tammy Beaumont up to the top is probably the right decision, hopefully she’ll get some runs in the semi final.
I’m not sure it matters who England face. The likelihood is that they will have to face India and Australia to win the tournament, it doesn’t really matter in which order.