England v West Indies 1st T20 – A Game Of Two Halves

The T20 series between England and the West Indies at Derby kicked off with a 47 run victory for England; and for once “kicked off” feels like the right phrase, because like a football match, this was a game of two halves – the first “half”, a half century from Tammy Beaumont; the second, a half-ars*d batting performance from the Windies.

Back at the top of the order, Beaumont underlined her status as England’s premier batsman. The numbers in T20 don’t quite back up this claim – Danni Wyatt and Nat Sciver have both scored a few more runs. However, that was partly because Beaumont spent most of last winter coming in down the order, not because anyone really thought it was the best place for her to be batting, but in order to try to find a position for Amy Jones where Jones might score more consistent runs.

Having ditched that experiment in what turned out to be the last game of the World Cup in Australia, England seem to have accepted now that those consistent runs probably aren’t going to come from Jones, so allowing TB to return to the opening role she clearly prefers.

It wasn’t quite a text-book performance from Beaumont – she played and missed a few times early on, and was dropped in single-figures – but she took her breaks where they came, and made it count on the scorecard, with 62 off 49 balls.

The positive for the West Indies going forwards was that they did take 8 wickets – no other England batter made more than Heather Knight’s 25, and if Beaumont’s early luck had gone the Windies’ way instead, it could have been a very different story.

As it was, we quickly saw the now-familiar sight of a West Indies team which clearly didn’t believe they could chase 163. They really are The Little Engine That Couldn’t at times like these, repeating over and over the traditional mantra: “I think I can’t; I think I can’t!”

England’s fielding was very good, and Amy Jones was excellent behind the stumps. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Player of the Match given to a wicket keeper just for their keeping, but there was a case for it in this match, exemplified by her spin on ice-skates to execute the run out of Lee-Ann Kirby. Kirby’s wicket has gone down in the scorebook as “Run Out (Knight)” but it was a hospital pass of a throw from the England captain, with Jones doing all the work to make it count!

Mady Villiers was also brilliant in the outfield – we thought Wyatt was good out there, but Villiers really has taken it to a new level… and a good job too because she wasn’t given any other opportunity to contribute – coming in to bat at 10, and then not bowling. England seem to have always been confused about her role – Mark Robinson talked about her batting, but played her as a bowler; and now Lisa Keightley seems to be playing her as a specialist deep extra cover?

The big question now is whether the West Indies can turn things around. Dottin’s innings should give them some confidence that this series isn’t a lost cause yet, although if you’re being glass-half-empty you might observe that she didn’t actually really get going until the game was already gone – at the half way mark she was 22 off 26 balls, with them needing an improbable 12 an over through the last 10. For the sake of the game of cricket, you’d hope they can step things up on Wednesday and keep the series interesting; but you wouldn’t put money on it.

As for England, I’d be very surprised if they made any changes for Wednesday – as much as I’d like to see Sophia Dunkley and Freya Davies getting a proper run in the team, I don’t think we’ll see them now until at least the 4th match; so it will be more of the same… probably with the same result.

5 thoughts on “England v West Indies 1st T20 – A Game Of Two Halves

  1. Good to see TB in the runs, although if I was going to be picky I think she’s a better player when she plays more conventionally rather than trying to manufacture too many ramps and reverses. They often appear pre-meditated and seem to work less often than they succeed.

    That said, her innings gave England the platform they needed for others to play cameos, and in T20 that’s usually all you need to run up a defendable total. Knight and Jones looked good, Wyatt too, briefly. The last five overs were a bit messy, but that’s the way it happens sometimes. England probably have too many options with their batting order if they have wickets in hand by that stage. In many ways they might as well just stick with the published order come what may. Wilson’s manoeuvring of the field is just as likely (or not) to be productive as Brunt’s or Ecclestone’s more “forthright” approach on any given day. At least that way everyone will be comfortable in their role.

    Bowling good, fielding excellent, but then we were never put under any kind of pressure. West Indies had a net and we did some fielding drills.

    One hates to be critical of West Indies under all the prevailing circumstances. Yes, we’re grateful that they’ve come. Yes, we appreciate that they will be rusty after very little cricket over a long period. And yes, they are hamstrung by a domestic structure which is some way behind England.

    But their mindset when “chasing” (or not chasing) was such a disappointment. If you’re going to score 116 when chasing 163, at least be all out with five or six overs to go having lost wickets to catches on the boundary trying to slog the runs. After similar stories in most of last summer’s 50 over and T20 series I don’t see what they can gain at all from going about it as they did last night.

    This is not about any obligation to the game, or to the viewing public, it’s about them challenging themselves and backing themselves. England controlled the second part of last night’s game because they were never allowed not to. Had West Indies come out and given it a right go, we might have seen England crack a little, and what a game we could have had!

    Perhaps they get a “free pass” for the first match, but I’m hoping for a bit more gumption from them next time out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good performance from England. Plenty of positives but things to work on.

    This should the debate about the opening partnership. Tammy Beaumont was excellent once she stopped trying to be too clever and started playing orthadox shots. Some of her cover drives were beautiful and her six would have been shot of the night had it not been for Deandra Dottin’s enormous six. I look forward to the next Switch Hit podcast because Mark Butcher spent the whole of the innings break trying not to say i told you so!

    Heather Knight and Amy Jones looked good too. Jones can adapt to the finishers role by the looks of things.

    England lost their way at the end but sometimes that happens in T20. The only really poor dismissal was Knight’s but that was more overconfidence than anything else.

    Everyone bowled well. Even Anya Shrubsole if her figures don’t suggest it. She was getting incredible inswing was unlucky not to get Hayley Matthews a couple of times.

    Sarah Glenn was excellent again. She bowls quite quickly so players struggle to get on the front foot to her and a word for Nat Sciver who has really improved her bowling. The slower but she got Campbelle with was a beauty, i’d like to see her bowl in the death overs in tight games.

    As for the West Indies, i will say their fielding is vastly improved from last year and that Dottin is a welcome return but having seen them a number of times, they seem to give up if things go wrong. I feel i’m being unfair but there was a distinct lack of urgency in their batting. What has happened to Hayley Matthews? She can’t buy a run at the moment.

    I don’t think there will be changes for England but i would like to see them chase. If the West Indies set a total, they may more inclined to attack. Then the likes of Fletcher will be able to put England under pressure.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Assuming the rain doesn’t stop it going ahead tomorrow, one suspects that the West Indies are about to play in the coldest temperature (predicted 11c at 6pm) they’ve ever had to play in. Suspect Lisa Keightley won’t be the only one hugging a hot water bottle tomorrow night.

    Like

  4. I thought England paced their innings really well up to about the 16th over, then a few things went wrong but it only took about 15 or 20 off what we could have got. England attacked (as they usually do) with the sort of abandon rarely seen but much needed from the Windies. It seemed a slightly strange decision to put Glenn up the order when she was listed to come in at 11, especially as we’d been led to believe it was Villiers being primed for a bigger role with the bat. I guess there’s some experimentation still going on with the lower order. It didn’t quite come off this time.

    There wasn’t too much experimentation with the ball though, at least in terms of the bowling changes. I thought England bowled a few nice shorter deliveries that kicked up off the surface a bit and caused problems, without falling into the trap of bowling too short consistently. Brunt was almost impossibly frugal; Shrubsole and Sciver seem to have put on a few mph in pace and had good deception; and once again England’s twin towers of spin Ecclestone and Glenn did a brilliant job throughout. I would like to see Villiers bowl at least a couple of overs in the next match though.

    West Indies I think are putting all their eggs in one basket with the top 3 being their most destructive players. I think they’d do better if Matthews, Taylor and Dottin were each bracketed with the likes of Campbelle and Cooper etc. who can pick up singles more easily.

    Overall a very good performance from all, considering the lack of cricket most of the players have had.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.