One year ago, almost to the day, a rampant England smashed New Zealand for a glorious 347 at Canterbury, before bowling the White Ferns out for 144 to win by over 200 runs – a result that New Zealand captain Sophie Devine memorably described afterwards as “one of those games that you just flush down the dunny”.
Today it was England’s turn to be on the receiving end of a hammering, as India took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series – the first time since 2007 that England have lost a home ODI series to anyone except Australia.
England did the right thing by opting to bowl having won the toss – as our analysis published earlier today shows, women’s ODIs between the top sides are more likely to be won by the team batting second, and attempting to defy gravity by choosing to bat first doesn’t usually end well. The fact that India won today doesn’t change that in any way.
Sometimes however you come up against a performance that takes on a life of its own. Australia found that out in the 2017 World Cup semi-final, and England found it out today, as Harmanpreet exploded like a volcano in the death overs – hitting her last 43 runs off just 11 balls, at a strike rate touching 400, to finish with 143 off 111 balls.
If this had been a frame of snooker, England would have conceded at that point – no one has ever successfully chased even 300 in a women’s ODI (though South Africa did once unsuccessfully pass 300 in a chase) and England weren’t going to do it today.
In fairness, they didn’t totally collapse – they cantered along at a pretty reasonable rate, and were actually “ahead” at 25 overs, albeit having lost one more wicket.
But it was “ahead” in 72-point finger-quotes – we didn’t believe it and they didn’t believe it – from the moment Harmanpreet left the field at the end of India’s innings, we were just waiting for reality to catch up with what everybody already knew – India had conquered Canterbury and England’s cathedral had fallen.
England’s white ball record this year reads: Played: 30; Won 16 (53%); which is actually… not great of itself, especially when you realise that fully half of those wins were against South Africa – Payed: 9; Won: 8 – against everyone else, their record is: Played: 21; Won: 8; Lost: 12. Not great at all.
To be fair, if there is a time to be losing games, this is probably it. 2½ years out from the next 50-over World Cup, England are starting to build a new side around the next generation of players, with Alice Capsey at the heart of it – the way she went out today and played with such positive intent, despite clearing being in some pain from the injury to her finger sustained whilst fielding in the deep, was remarkable. But as The Ed. put it: “Capsey Gonna Capsey”. (And equally… just at the point where you thought she was going to push on and play a really big innings, she was caught going for a big heave, because… well… Capsey Gonna Capsey!)
England’s other two youngsters, Freya Kemp and Lauren Bell, both took a battering today, but to a certain extent “that’s life” as a bowler in the modern game. For every performance like Harmanpreet’s today, or Smriti’s last week, there’s a bowler or two with a badly bruised ego; and they’ll both be back, hopefully at Lord’s on Saturday – the way for the management to respond to today is definitely to show faith in them, not to drop them.
Fingers crossed then that the weather plays along, and our big day out at Lord’s this weekend is everything we’ve been hoping for, for England’s first “normal” match in the capital since 2013. (They were scheduled to play India there in 2014, but the match was rained off without a ball being bowled.) It will be a good test of England’s ability to draw the kind of crowds we’ve seen for The Hundred, and which have encouraged the ECB to schedule not one but two Women’s Ashes matches in London next summer – though the official ticket site currently suggests that it is far from a sell-out with “plenty of tickets” still available, so… we shall see!
Bell’s 79 conceded runs was the most ever conceded by an England bowler in an ODI ………… until Kemp conceded 82.
The previous record was 10-0-78-0 by Melissa Reynard against Australia on 3rd February 2000
I offer 2 crumbs of comfort to Bell and Kemp ; firstly what is now the 4th worse case was 10-0-77-0 by a Sophie Ecclestone – so it’s not career ending; secondly when Kaur is in this sort of form even the best in the world cannot cope (eg the 171 that ‘Kaured’ Australia). Actually 3 crumbs, because they will almost certainly not be dropped for the next match precisely because they got blitzed.
Was Kemp’s 11 ball over the most deliveries within an over by an England bowler ? It went:-
4 – 1w – 1w – 1 – 6 – 1w – 1w – 4 – 2w – 4 – 1
a remarkable 26 run, 11 ball over. Wow, what an over, proving its not over ’til its over.
The finish of the India was ………
40 : 212-4
41 : 218-4
42 : 230-4
43 : 240-4
44 : 243-4
45 : 253-4
46 : 262-5
47 : 271-5
48 : 297-5
49 : 314-5
50 : 333-5
A remarkable 80 runs off the last 5 overs, 71 off the last 4 overs (which also means the Kaur/Sharma partnership was 71 off 24 balls) and 62 off the last 3 overs !
After reaching her 100, Kaur scored: 6 – 4 – 4 – 6 – 4 – 1 – 6 – 4 – 4 – 4 – 0 so an unbelievable 43 runs off her last 11 balls (as noted above). Move over Dottin.
Sophie Devine was correct – just say ‘well done Harmanpreet and just move on’.
Of course it was a magnificent innings by Kaur, but just to say that we were beaten by a freakishly good knock is surely not entirely accurate. What about the difference in the number of extras (especially wides) conceded by the two teams? What about the fact Bell looked seriously out of sorts well before Kaur arrived at the crease? Why did we only use five bowlers? Given that the most successful bowler was the spinner who didn’t have to bowl at the death, why did we not use Lamb in the middle overs? Was this a case of an inexperienced captain looking like a rabbit in the headlights? With hindsight, shouldn’t Beaumont have been handed the captaincy (in all formats) as soon as Knight got injured?
Some very good points Martin. The lack of tactical flexibility was baffling and frankly worrying.
The CWG and this series against India have shown that Wong, Bell and Kemp are not ready to bowl at this level, and some of them may never be ready.
If you put them into the last ODI they will still not be ready. In fact they may be even less ready. There are times when you have to admit your mistakes and not just plough on regardless.
Neither Brave/Vipers would have hung Kemp out to dry as England did.
Leadership comes from the very top. The team selection for the first two ODIs was wrong.
Yes, could very well be, EF. Who’s to say this is not how young players are broken as well? There have been many cases of promising up-and-coming bowlers who never really fully recover from their first International drubbing. That so little was done to try and mitigate it was very strange, and smacks of an outgoing regime which doesn’t really care about such things anymore.
“The team selection for the first two ODIs was wrong” – broadening the question, was the squad selection correct for the India series ?
As I previously noted when the squad was announced; the omission of Arlott (given she performed in The 100 better than any of the ‘quicks’ selected for the India series) was perplexing. There must have been a good reason but it’s not immediately obvious to me what it is.
Remarkably sanguine, Syd. There are many more people massively frustrated by these 2 ODI performances and the new malaise seemingly sweeping over the side. After getting India 3 down with Mandhana out, with less than 100 on the board and only 30 odd overs left, England should never have let India get near 300 let alone 333. The way no-one stepped up to really try and stop that, either by squeezing the runs (with possible exception of Dean) or with more positive bowling and fielding choices, was simply not good enough. And the batting is a shadow of the team from earlier this summer.
This side look sadly uncompetitive at the moment, and I’ll be very surprised if things change at Lord’s.