One of the England players has found a 4-leaf clover – it’s the only explanation for where we are now. Because despite losing their first 3 games, and batting like a total sheep-show today, England now look a pretty good bet to make the semi-finals of the World Cup.
Providing England beat Pakistan and Bangladesh, there are 2187 ways the cards could fall in terms of other results. England qualify absolutely (without Net Run Rate) in 93% of those scenarios, and could qualify on NRR in all of the remaining 7%. If they end up needing NRR, it will be a bun-fight on 8 points with India and possibly also South Africa or West Indies.
But it gets even better for England.
(Here comes the Net Run Rate deets – you can skip the next paragraph if you want – there’s a “TLDR” after!)
South Africa currently have a lower NRR than England, and they have already got 8 points – so the only way the finish on 8 points is by losing all of their remaining three matches, which means that their NRR then would likely be even lower than it is now. And although West Indies (currently on 6 points, with 2 to play) could end up with 8 points and a NRR higher than England, their NRR is currently so bad that it would take an absolutely impossible victory in the match they won to overhaul England. (Even if they lost their losing game by 1 run and 1 ball (so basically no hit to NRR) if they scored 300, and then bowled their opposition out for 1 (yes – 1!) it still wouldn’t be enough to match England’s current NRR.)
TLDR: If it comes down to NRR, it all comes down to India as far as England are concerned – in practice, South Africa and West Indies don’t matter.
India currently have a slightly higher NRR than England, and would improve it a bit if they won both their remaining games (Bangladesh and South Africa) by 20/30 runs, so England need to win their matches (Bangladesh and Pakistan) by more than India do, plus around-about 40/50 runs extra. It’s feels pretty doable… and remember, that’s only in the 7% of chances where it comes down to NRR.
[Update: the previous paragraph originally said that India’s NRR would definitely improve if they won both their games, but (especially at the back-end of a tournament where you’ve had a couple of huge wins, as India have) that’s not true – thanks to The Clanger, in ‘Have Your Say’ below for pointing this out. I’ve now run the numbers, and they need to win both games by something of the order of 20/30 runs to maintain their NRR.]
We are here, of course, largely at the expense of New Zealand, who had a day as unlucky as England’s was lucky, losing both Sophie Devine and Lea Tahuhu to injuries that meant neither could bowl after Tahuhu limped off in the 17th over. England got to face the very occasional “off spin with a leg spin action” bowling of Brooke Halliday instead, and limped over the line with 1 wicket remaining. New Zealand can theoretically still qualify mathematically on NRR, but their chances are slimmer than a 60s supermodel – they are all-but out.
In the circumstances, I think we can say that this was England’s worst performance of the tournament – despite bowling New Zealand out for 203, and then the injuries, they almost ****** it up AGAIN having been 98-2 at one stage and cruising. Nat Sciver making runs, but not closing the deal is starting to become a rather worrying pattern – she left the tail still needing 17, and it very nearly proved beyond them, because… at the risk of stating the obvious here… in large, friendly letters:
THEY ARE A TAIL!
THEY SHOULDN’T BE HAVING TO DO THIS!
They did it though, and somehow England march on in this tournament. Despite having an opening “strike” bowler (Katherine Brunt) who has taken 1 wicket in the entire tournament; a walking wicket at the top of the batting order (played variously by Danni Wyatt and Lauren Winfield-Hill) meaning Heather Knight is effectively opening; and a middle-order that look like they couldn’t close a self-sealing envelope, they are now odds on to make the semis.
And you thought the Irish were lucky.
Good stuff Syd!
They are (or in some cases have been!) good players. It is down to application, application, application! Bowl straight and to your field!
Hit the bad ball, nudge and run the good ones, or defend ! BUT, they are (somehow) doing it!
“India currently have a slightly higher NRR than England, and would obviously improve it a bit if they won both their remaining games”. This is NOT the case with NRR. A team can win a match and its NRR goes down or lose a match and it goes up.
This is because NRR is an average over all the matches a team has played- For example India could score 250 in their next match, win by 20 runs but their NRR would still go down.
There are many reason why NRR is bonkers as a differentiator, not least the fact it is unintuitive.
Ooops – yes – sorry – I’ve updated.
Now England will win the Final on something as irrelevant, contrived and frankly specious as a boundary count back …
The Cricketing Gods are clearly Leigh Kasperek fans and the White Ferns have a ‘curse of the Bambino’ thing happening to them. #5 in the world (barely – Bangladesh are as close behind them as they are to India in 4th!!), worst record amongst the key teams for getting bowled out in ODIs, already lost matches they could/should have won, bedevilled by poor selection and game management – and guess what, let’s also take off the field 2 main bowlers and the best batter.)
Maybe, maybe reflection on this will bring a professional approach to development contracts, selections, management systems and coaching. And maybe a proper professional setup for players outside the Ferns contracts.
Otherwise, they risk #6
But it was fun to watch. Will England make it after all? Surely just an off day.
It’s likely England will now make the semis, and if they go into that stage with the momentum that comes with four straight wins, who knows? However, any team that comes close to messing up a chase of 204 when the opposition have a depleted attack doesn’t look like a World Cup winner, just as Raf said that any team that can’t knock off 225 v West Indies doesn’t look like a winner either. Whatever happens from here for England in the tournament, I do think changes are required, and I’ll explain more when we are finally eliminated (or just possibly, we lift the trophy on April 3!)
Different take on it myself Syd. It was more a case of New Zealand being a bit unlucky with their injuries. You’re being too harsh on England based on the final moments. There was plenty of good stuff in this game. I’m simply not having that this England performance was anywhere near as bad as the WI loss. We dominated for much of this game and kind of skittled NZ early, then remained significantly ahead on DRS for much of the chase. Knight, Sciver and Dunkley played very well. Cross, Ecclestone and Dean were terrific with the ball. The fielding was good in contract to the sloppy display against WI.
Let’s talk about the umpires’ performance. Palliyaguruge had an “interesting” game. He, seemingly randomly, decided to call out the NZ batters for encroaching on the danger area in their perfectly normal attempts to nullify the swing. Repeated warnings were made and it was an absolutely surreal thing to focus on. The NZ coaching team were less than impressed, and made it clear to the match officials. No such concerns were raised when England batted, perhaps because the umpire had been told during the break, in no uncertain terms, to desist from that unnecessary little fixation. It was “Policing” gone mad.
And then the umpires surprised me slightly by staying on near the end of England’s innings despite what was clearly pretty heavy rain. They would have surely gone off under normal circumstances and would never start under that. England were well (20+ runs) ahead of DRS par-score for most of the chase so would have taken going off early. To force them to stay on through the rain brought unexpected factors into the equation that, frankly, England did not deal well with. Mackay exploited the conditions brilliantly though.
England, in my view, need to have a couple of little mini-inquests into 2 main events here. (On top of the more major inquests into tactics and structure I’ve pointed to in pervious comments.)Firstly – the opening bowling – just what the hell is going on? There seems to be no plan, and if Brunt and Shrubsole can’t control or exploit the early swing the we should be adjusting or using another option sooner. Every match we’re giving the opponent a fast start.
Secondly, the collapse in the rain was unacceptable – especially in the seeming lack of communication between England players. The ball was skidding on, off the tacky surface and they should have adjusted – playing late off the back foot, previously a good idea on a ptich that was gripping and noticeably slower than the previous game, suddenly became hazardous and England’s last 4 or 5 dismissals (apart from the run-out) were all influenced by the ball speeding off the surface, zipping through to take the stumps or pads. It took them too long to realise that and adapt. England should have slowed the game down, called for a glove change or something and got instructions from the coach. Brunt’s run out was also completely unacceptable – no need for that second run, and utter madness. All that experience for Brunt looked sadly lacking. 21 year old Charlie Dean seems like one of England’s calmest, most composed players and that just shows how much some of them lost their heads in those last few overs. It took a modicum of composure from Shrubsole to see it through.
Somehow, the road ahead looks a little clearer now, and one thing’s for sure – if England don’t beat Bang and Pak then they rightly won’t have deserved to qualify.
At last, (James P agrees with my thoughts!) Shrubsole and Brunt need a kick up the whatsit! Obvious ability history proved! But game plan and strategy application from both v NZ was dire! Time for change?
Line and length from an old recording from Divine Comedy ( alias Duckworth Lewis Method!) seems to have been forgotten by our senior twosome.
Nas Hussein noticed too, Brunt trying too many variations and bowling poorly gave NZ a comfortable start. The youth showed them, Charlie Dean, good line, length, varied pace very good!