ENGLAND v INDIA 2nd T20 – Sharma Drama

India kept the multi-format series alive (ish – they can’t win it, but they can still stop England from doing so) with a dramatic win under increasingly gloomy skies at Hove.

Those darkening skies doubtless reflected Heather Knight’s mood, after she was run out in what she evidently considered controversial circumstances by her once (at Western Storm) and future (at London Spirit) team-mate Deepti Sharma. Deepti clearly did impede Knight as she ran her out, but it wasn’t obviously deliberate, so it was down to Harmanpreet to withdraw the appeal, which she declined to do, leaving Knight to walk back to the dugout shaking her head in disbelief.

Harmanpreet was of course well within her rights under the laws; but for what it’s worth, as someone who has been watching Heather Knight captain cricket teams for 10 years, I think she probably would have withdrawn the appeal if she’d been in Harman’s boots. In a high profile game like this, with the series on the line, though… who knows for sure?

It certainly turned what had been looking like another England promenade into a proper game of cricket. At the start of that 14th over from Deepti, England needed just over 6-an-over, having been motoring along at 8. Tammy Beaumont had played really well again – making a run-a-ball half century – her 7th in an England shirt this year. She was a little unlucky to be given out LBW on “umpire’s call” – she was so far down the pitch that I don’t think the umpire would have “called” initially if DRS hadn’t been available; but, again, them’s the rules and England have to live with them.

With the Knight run out the next ball, England went from 2-down to 4-down in the blink of an eye, and although they kept up with the run-rate, wickets continued to fall, testing the policy of eschewing a 7th batter to give themselves more bowling options, ultimately to destruction. Ecclestone, Brunt, Villiers and Glenn can all bat – but when you need 7-8 an over, with a roaring crowd of Indian fans in the stands, and Poonam bowling her loopy turning deliveries a foot outside off stump, it’s suddenly not quite so easy, as one by one they discovered.

Overall, playing 5 bowlers probably is the right call, because of the flexibility it offers; and one extra batter probably wouldn’t have saved England’s bacon today anyway, but I do think England could have used their bowling options better. Katherine Brunt was given a second over in the powerplay, despite the first having gone for 11, and it went for 21, which in the context of a game which went pretty close to the wire, is not ideal!

(I guess the theory is that if you offer Shafali enough short balls, she’ll eventually sky one to a fielder… as she did! But in a T20 game it’s a dangerous tactic, because if that “eventually” takes 38 balls, she’s going to score a lot of runs in that time… as she did!)

All this should take nothing away from the Indians though – they closed out the game, against the odds, with Sneh Rana holding her nerve in the final over, in a situation where England, needing 14, could still have won. And it sets things up nicely for a finale at Chelmsford on Wednesday, in which the pressure will actually be more on England for once.

It will be interesting to see how they respond.

4 thoughts on “ENGLAND v INDIA 2nd T20 – Sharma Drama

  1. Ooh, missed this game but sounds like England losing the battle of nerve under pressure again. Very interested indeed to see how England responds next game and further down the line with the bowling strategy.

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  2. Enjoyed the game; I was hoping that India would win so the series would stay alive. As for Heather’s run-out: I think she would have been out even if she had suddenly turned into Neutrino Woman and could pass through Deepti’s body unimpeded. She “natmegged” the ball and it deflected off Deepti’s leg onto the stumps before Heather realised what had happened. At least, that’s the way it looked to me. It was a cracker of a game, and even though I’m an England fan, I’m glad India won. Now England can go on and win the series.

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  3. Pursing the theme of penalties, it would have been fun if it had gone to a super over (however I suspect Knight wouldn’t have given us the joy of watching Brunt v Verma in a super over). Anyway England 1-1 India and Brunt 1-1 Verma. Setup nicely for BBC coverage on Wednesday.

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  4. It was a frustrating game from an England perspective – one we could and should have won but duly grasped defeat from the jaws of victory with a combination of some bad decision making, poor execution and bad luck at key moments. The Knight run out was particularly unfortunate, so much so it is perhaps unlikely to ever happen again like that, but the India celebrations were maybe too gleeful seeing as they didn’t know much about it.

    We shouldn’t dwell too much on T20s, but both teams suffered from some dodgy tactics – England, and Brunt in particular, bowling too short (note how 2 bowlers we seem loath to turn to, Davies and Villiers, actually picked up the breakthrough wickets); and India, eschewing decent line and length, tried the short wide stuff and Poonam Yadav’s sub-40 mph “tempters”, which didn’t work until, suddenly, they did. I can’t help feeling this isn’t a winning tactic for India going forward though. And England’s run-outs, dearie me! Some good fielding there but some ill-judgement as well.

    Fortunately England can’t lose the series, but ever since they won the second ODI it feels like they’ve been struggling a bit. Hopefully we’ll see them back near their best tomorrow. I’ve had enough tension for a while!

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