139. That was the number of runs scored by Tammy Beaumont for London Spirit in The Hundred – 139 runs off 135 balls, leaving her 20th in the list for the competition. It wasn’t the worst return in the world, but for one of England’s biggest stars it wasn’t her at her best.
So this series was an important one for Beaumont. Not in an existential sense – she wasn’t going to be dropped, even if she didn’t score a run! But she definitely had a point to prove… and she proved it at Chelmsford this evening.
Beaumont’s 97 runs off 65 balls set up England for a huge win, despite another slightly iffy bowling performance. It wasn’t a flawless innings – she was dropped a couple of times – but T20 is a game where taking a few risks can be richly rewarded, and it was tonight.
She’ll be kicking herself she that didn’t get a second T20 hundred, caught off an attempted ramp for 97 from the penultimate ball of the innings. I continue to maintain that the premeditated ramp isn’t a productive shot for her – she used it (I think?) 4 times in this innings, and it came off just once – she made a mess of it twice; and was eventually caught off it when a century was within her grasp.
But at the end of the day, it’s not about exactly how many Tammy Beaumont scored – it’s about the runs the whole team put on the board. Sophia Dunkley in particular played a great little knock at the back-end of the innings – 23 not out off 17 balls. She didn’t score a single boundary until the 15th ball she faced, yet she still maintained a strike rate of 100, simply by turning the strike back over to Beaumont again and again – it was exactly what England needed from her.
With that many runs on the board, New Zealand were really up against it, and the early loss of both the “Smash Sisters” – Sophie Devine for 2 and Suzie Bates for 1 – left them reeling. They really need something from Amy Satterthwaite, and they got something… but it wasn’t quite something enough to make a real impact on the game. The difference between Satterthwaite and Beaumont – 54 runs – was pretty-much the difference between the two sides as a whole.
One caveat remains though. As happened against India earlier in the summer, you do feel that England got away with a fairly average performance with the ball. The scorecard will tell you that they took 10 wickets, but the Kiwis largely got themselves out, slogging as they chased the game.
England’s batters are all in great form – 5 of England’s top 6 ranked in the top 20 in The Hundred, with Beaumont the only exception; but the bowlers, frankly, are not where they should be, with only 2 of the 6 bowlers used today making their top 20. So it remains a concern that this attack are flattering themselves slightly at the moment – they will have to bowl a lot, lot better than they did tonight if they want to really challenge Australia in the Ashes and the World Cup this winter.