8 years ago, here at the Essex County Ground in Chelmsford in the 1st T20 of the 2013 Women’s Ashes, Sarah Taylor made her highest ever international T20 score – hitting 77 off 58 balls as England set Australia 146, going on to win the match by 15 runs. Taylor’s supporting act that evening was Danni “Waggy” Wyatt, who made 28 off 36 balls.
Today it was Wyatt herself topping the bill, walking off with the Player of the Match champagne for 89* off 56 balls. It is an indication of how much the game has changed that Wyatt faced two fewer balls than Taylor had faced in 2013, but scored 12 more runs. Moreover, this was “only” Wyatt’s 3rd best international T20 score, having previously made 100s against both India and Australia.
Prior to this evening, some were starting to question Wyatt’s place in the England side. Having not played in the Test, she was not recalled for the ODIs either, only coming back into the team for the T20s, scoring 31 and 3 in the first two games.
Meanwhile Emma Lamb has been owning it in domestic cricket, opening the batting for the Thunder, with a string of strong scores including two 100s and a 50.
True, Wyatt also posted some decent numbers in domestic cricket this year, including 3 consecutive half-centuries in the RHF, but she hadn’t looked quite herself this season… until today.
This was Danni Wyatt back at her absolute best – the glorious slog-sweeps and effortless inside-outs over the covers. When she’s not playing at the top of her game, those shots tend to end up in the hands of a fielder on the ring; but today they soared to the boundary. And there would have been more to come – surely a third international T20 hundred – if she’d been able to bat for the full 20 overs.
Wyatt’s T20 place now is surely secure for the immediate future – probably up until at least the Commonwealth Games next summer. England Captain Heather Knight has made no secret of the fact that she is 100% focussed on the big tournaments coming up in 2022 – the teams she is selecting this year are the ones she thinks will play in the World Cup in New Zealand and in the CWG in Birmingham.
The selection of Wyatt for this series was a clear indication that she remained part of the plans for the Commonwealths; but there was perhaps a small question mark by her name.
There isn’t any more.
Great end to an excellent series. India pushed England close and had them on the ropes for a while. In this game India were just a bit sluggish in the powerplay and a few overs after that, but accelerated well and made a decent-ish total, that left a few England bowlers rather frustrated. It had looked much easier to hit boundaries this time though, which must have given England hope.
I thought England might have to play very well though, and Wyatt and Sciver certainly did, making short work of the bulk of the runs. Wyatt saw it all the way through in classic Danni fashion. She was very much back to her best – and it was a finely paced and virtually chanceless knock, combining power and touch, mixing up the low and higher risk shots with expertise, never getting bogged down. India’s bowling attack was made to look a bit more toothless this time, and with more pace in the wicket and short boundaries, England’s previous struggles were quickly forgotten.
Has this series set a template for bilateral contests going forward? It would be good to see more as close as this, that’s for sure.