Tammy Beaumont’s brilliant run of form in ODIs continued, as England put India to the sword in Bristol. In four ODIs this year (three in New Zealand plus this one versus India) she has scored 318 runs at an average of… wait for it… 318! (She hasn’t been dismissed in an ODI since the 1st match in New Zealand.)
She was in imperious form today – she made 87 off 87 balls, and was only denied what looked like a certain century by Nat Sciver coming in and clattering 74 off 74 balls. As well as employing her trade-mark sweeps and ramps, Beaumont also rolled-back the years by bringing out the punched drive down the ground, that was her key productive shot earlier in her career.
There was some talk during the innings break about “low scoring games” but this never really looked like one of those. As Beaumont and Sciver showed, there were plenty of runs out there today – it was just that India didn’t really look like they wanted them until it was far too late.
As the Manhattans show, India can actually boast the most productive “phase” of the game, when they finally woke up in the last 10 overs and pulled 67 runs out of the hat – 6 more than England made in their initial powerplay. But the damage was already done. In the first 30 overs, they had scored at a Run Rate of just 3.0, and that’s simply not enough in any form of cricket these days.
Looking at the raw scorecard, you might think Mithali played the captain’s innings, but the truth is that she was actually the problem. Having come in during the 10th over, she reached the 30-over mark languishing on 23 off a whopping 63 balls – a Strike Rate of 37. Yes she caught up, to finish on 72 off 108 balls (a Strike Rate of 67) but she’d left her teammates (and herself) with far too much to do at the back-end of the innings. India’s final total of 201 was a good 50 under par; and though they probably still wouldn’t have won the game with 250, given Beaumont’s (and Sciver’s) form, they could at least have made England work for it!
It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Mithali has been left behind by the modern era. While players like Tammy have adapted their games, she has stood still. She has two more ODIs in this series to turn things around, but if not… if India want a real shot at the World Cup in New Zealand next year, she needs to make way – she has been treading water for far too long; and the worry has to be that she is now no longer waving, but drowning.