England v West Indies 2nd T20 – Dott-in… Dott-out

England inflicted another heavy defeat on the West Indies in Derby, with a 47 run win – Sarah Glenn top-scoring with 26 off 19 balls, and then picking up 2-24 with the ball, to take home the Player of the Match champagne.

Having won the toss, Stafanie Taylor chose to put England in to bat and then chase – an “interesting” decision, after what happened last time out! Was it confidence? Or hubris? She’d say the former, of course, but the gods had other ideas!

To be fair, England didn’t get things entirely their own way with the bat – they lost 8 wickets (again!) and looked on course to make only around 130, until Glenn and Katherine Brunt pumped up the volume to give them a big fillip at the end.

Every team says they “bat long” – it’s a cliché well on the way to losing all meaning! But England definitely batted long today, with numbers 7, 8 and 9 combining for 53 off 37 balls at a Strike Rate of 143, that saw England finish on 151 – 20 runs ahead of where they’d looked like being.

Dottin was always going to be the key to the West Indies chase, and while she was Dott-in they stayed in with a shout.

As the worms show, they were slightly off the pace in the powerplay, but they built a platform that saw them come within touching-distance of England at the half-way mark, with only 1 wicket down, and both Dottin and Taylor set and going at a run a ball. They were still going to need a couple of big overs from somewhere, but that’s something we know both of those players are more than capable of.

However, it wasn’t to be – as soon as Dott-in became Dott-out, the strike rate fell away almost instantly, and a slow march of death ensued, as the game slumped towards its then inevitable conclusion.

Heather Knight finally gave Mady Villiers the chance to send down a couple of overs, and she didn’t disappoint, taking 2-10.

Meanwhile Sophie Ecclestone returned 2-19, though such are the standards that she sets herself these days, that she didn’t look at all happy with it, interestingly, which is probably the mark of a truly great player in the making – never quite satisfied and constantly striving to be better. (If you’re a young left-arm orthodox spinner, with ambitions to play for England in the next 10 years… have you considered hockey or netball? Because you’re not going to displace Ecclestone from this team in a hurry!)

So, on to The Big One on Saturday – the Free To Air showcase, live on the BBC, which the England players are obviously pretty hyped for, with the Beeb having done their best to turn it into an “Event” with a capital “E”.

But a good game of cricket really needs both sides to turn up. We know this West Indies side can turn up – we saw it on a hot night in front of a raucous crowd in St Lucia at the World Cup in 2018.

Now we just need them to do it behind closed doors on a cold day in Derby in 2020.

No? Me neither! But we live in hope!

RHF TROPHY STATS: Bowling Rankings

2020 was a good year to be a Bryce in English domestic cricket, with Sarah placing second in the Batting Rankings and sister Kathryn going one better, finishing as the number one bowler, and the leading wicket-taker in the group stages of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy. As with Sarah, an England future is definitely a possibility for Kathryn, though the cupboard at Loughborough marked “Young Bowlers” is currently significantly better stocked than the one marked “Young Batters” so it may be a longer shot, assuming of course that is actually what she even wants, which it may well not be.

Thunder captain Alex Hartley is ranked second, and returned the best Economy Rate of those who bowled in every game, at 3.14. An honourable mention should go to her teammate Hannah Jones, who also bowled in every match and was only just behind Hartley, with an Economy Rate of 3.16, but ranked outside the top 20 because she didn’t take many wickets.

(We’ve previously discussed tweaking the calculation to give more weight to economy – a formula of Economy-2 * Wickets would have (just) pushed Jones and Danielle Gregory into the top 20 – ironically at the expense of the other Hannah Jones (Stars) and Charlie Dean – but the differences overall are marginal, so we’ve decided to stick with the traditional calculation for the time being.)

This season’s highest new entry, at number 5, is Vipers’ Charlotte Taylor, who didn’t even expect to be playing in the RHF and had lined up a commentary gig with BBC Radio Solent for the game against the Stars at Hove, which she had to pull out of when she was selected to play in the match! After taking 2-13 that day, she kept her spot and justified Charlotte Edwards’ faith in her by taking a 4fer versus the Storm at The Ageas Bowl, finishing the group stages with 9 wickets at 3.47.

Taylor’s emergence is reminiscent of another spinner – Linsey Smith – who wasn’t even a squad selection for the Vipers in KSL01, but came in as an injury replacement, did well, and has since gone on to win several England caps.

Player Played Wickets Economy Rate
1. Kathryn Bryce (Lightning) 6 14 3.88
2. Alex Hartley (Thunder) 6 11 3.14
3. Fi Morris (Storm) 6 11 4.06
4. Tash Farrant (Stars) 6 9 3.40
5. Charlotte Taylor (Vipers) 4 9 3.47
6. Beth Langston (Diamonds) 6 11 4.28
7. Tara Norris (Vipers) 6 12 4.72
8. Georgia Hennessy (Storm) 6 11 4.83
9. Paige Scholfield (Vipers) 6 9 3.96
10. Katie Levick (Diamonds) 6 8 3.75
11. Katherine Brunt (Diamonds) 2 6 2.94
12. Clare Boycott (Sparks) 5 8 4.32
13. Lucy Higham (Lightning) 6 8 4.43
14. Lauren Bell (Vipers) 3 7 4.00
15. Anisha Patel (Sparks) 5 8 4.59
16. Sophie Ecclestone (Thunder) 2 4 2.35
17. Jenny Gunn (Diamonds) 6 7 4.18
18. Charlie Dean (Vipers) 6 8 4.87
19. Hannah Jones (Stars) 6 7 4.39
20. Georgia Adams (Vipers) 6 6 3.99

Bowling Ranking = Wickets / Economy

England v West Indies 1st T20 – A Game Of Two Halves

The T20 series between England and the West Indies at Derby kicked off with a 47 run victory for England; and for once “kicked off” feels like the right phrase, because like a football match, this was a game of two halves – the first “half”, a half century from Tammy Beaumont; the second, a half-ars*d batting performance from the Windies.

Back at the top of the order, Beaumont underlined her status as England’s premier batsman. The numbers in T20 don’t quite back up this claim – Danni Wyatt and Nat Sciver have both scored a few more runs. However, that was partly because Beaumont spent most of last winter coming in down the order, not because anyone really thought it was the best place for her to be batting, but in order to try to find a position for Amy Jones where Jones might score more consistent runs.

Having ditched that experiment in what turned out to be the last game of the World Cup in Australia, England seem to have accepted now that those consistent runs probably aren’t going to come from Jones, so allowing TB to return to the opening role she clearly prefers.

It wasn’t quite a text-book performance from Beaumont – she played and missed a few times early on, and was dropped in single-figures – but she took her breaks where they came, and made it count on the scorecard, with 62 off 49 balls.

The positive for the West Indies going forwards was that they did take 8 wickets – no other England batter made more than Heather Knight’s 25, and if Beaumont’s early luck had gone the Windies’ way instead, it could have been a very different story.

As it was, we quickly saw the now-familiar sight of a West Indies team which clearly didn’t believe they could chase 163. They really are The Little Engine That Couldn’t at times like these, repeating over and over the traditional mantra: “I think I can’t; I think I can’t!”

England’s fielding was very good, and Amy Jones was excellent behind the stumps. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Player of the Match given to a wicket keeper just for their keeping, but there was a case for it in this match, exemplified by her spin on ice-skates to execute the run out of Lee-Ann Kirby. Kirby’s wicket has gone down in the scorebook as “Run Out (Knight)” but it was a hospital pass of a throw from the England captain, with Jones doing all the work to make it count!

Mady Villiers was also brilliant in the outfield – we thought Wyatt was good out there, but Villiers really has taken it to a new level… and a good job too because she wasn’t given any other opportunity to contribute – coming in to bat at 10, and then not bowling. England seem to have always been confused about her role – Mark Robinson talked about her batting, but played her as a bowler; and now Lisa Keightley seems to be playing her as a specialist deep extra cover?

The big question now is whether the West Indies can turn things around. Dottin’s innings should give them some confidence that this series isn’t a lost cause yet, although if you’re being glass-half-empty you might observe that she didn’t actually really get going until the game was already gone – at the half way mark she was 22 off 26 balls, with them needing an improbable 12 an over through the last 10. For the sake of the game of cricket, you’d hope they can step things up on Wednesday and keep the series interesting; but you wouldn’t put money on it.

As for England, I’d be very surprised if they made any changes for Wednesday – as much as I’d like to see Sophia Dunkley and Freya Davies getting a proper run in the team, I don’t think we’ll see them now until at least the 4th match; so it will be more of the same… probably with the same result.

RHF TROPHY STATS: Batting Rankings

The Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy has provided an unprecedented opportunity for the non-England players to showcase their skills on decent pitches; and playing at First Class grounds really has been a sea change, as Emily Windsor told us after making 47* for the Vipers at The Oval:

“Playing on First Class pitches makes a massive difference. You can trust your shots more and you can play more creative shots, because you know the ball’s going to come onto your bat nicely. And then obviously the outfield – you know as soon as it beats that inner ring that it’s going for four. It’s different and that’s why you’re seeing some fantastic scores, like at the Ageas Bowl last week that innings by Georgia Adams – she’s a quality player and she was able to really show what she can do and what people can do in the women’s game.”

Hence we’ve seen 6 hundreds this year – many more than you’d have expected in the old County Championship, which was played mostly on club grounds, and where only 10 centuries were scored in Div 1 in the past 5 seasons.

Georgia Adams’ 154* for the Vipers versus the Storm was the highest score ever made by an uncapped player in top-level domestic cricket in England, and Adams tops the overall rankings with 420 runs in the competition, and the potential to add further to that in Sunday’s final.

Lightning (and Scotland’s) Sarah Bryce was only just behind Adams in the end, after scoring a big hundred of her own – 136* in Lightning’s final game against the Sparks. Aged only 20, she has set the foundations this season to push for an England career in the future if that’s what she wants, especially as she also comes with a pair of wicket-keeper’s gloves, bearing in mind that England’s only current backup option for Amy Jones is to press gang Tammy Beaumont into the role – something that she’d obviously do, but isn’t really her preference.

Looking at Strike Rates, the standout performance was from the Storm’s Alex Griffiths (ranked 6th), who was the only player in the top 50 run-scorers to record an overall Strike Rate of more than 100 – an impressive return which should surely see her bumped up from the Training Squad to the full England Academy over the winter.

Player Played Runs Strike Rate
1. Georgia Adams (Vipers) 6 420 82
2. Sarah Bryce (Lightning) 6 395 79
3. Sophie Luff (Storm) 6 339 76
4. Eve Jones (Sparks) 6 334 74
5. Georgia Hennessy (Storm) 6 209 80
6. Alex Griffiths (Storm) 6 141 118
7. Heather Knight (Storm) 2 158 88
8. Marie Kelly (Sparks) 6 223 62
9. Jo Gardner (Sunrisers) 6 193 69
10. Charlie Dean (Vipers) 6 178 74
11. Maia Bouchier (Vipers) 6 155 84
12. Nat Brown (Thunder) 6 189 69
13. Abby Freeborn (Lightning) 5 167 69
14. Gwenan Davies (Sparks) 6 169 68
15. Sterre Kalis (Diamonds) 6 142 75
16. Danni Wyatt (Vipers) 2 119 89
17. Teresa Graves (Lightning) 6 114 89
18. Nat Sciver (Diamonds) 2 108 92
19. Holly Armitage (Diamonds) 6 150 63
20. Kathryn Bryce (Lightning) 6 141 65

Batting Ranking = Runs * Strike Rate

RHF TROPHY: Emily Turns The Oval Into Windsor’s Castle

In September 2019, The Oval hosted the finals of the Kia Summer Smash – a national women’s club competition sponsored by Kia and The Cricketer magazine.

It was a fun day out for four amateur clubs from the four corners of the land. Everyone enjoyed themselves tremendously, and England captain Heather Knight popped across the river from her home in north London to present the trophy to the winning captain of Hursley Park from Hampshire – Emily Windsor, who had led the way to victory with unbeaten innings of 43* in the semi-final and 42* in the final.

One year later, all-but to the day, Emily Windsor returned to The Oval, but this time as a paid professional, representing the Southern Vipers in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy against the South East Stars. The Vipers appeared to be cruising to victory at 139-3, but two quick wickets brought Windsor and keeper Carla Rudd together on 141-5, with 87 still required from 19 overs.

For Vipers fans watching around the world on the live-stream… not to mention one Vipers fan in the ground*… these were nervous moments; but they needn’t have been – an hour or so later, Windsor walked off the pitch with 47* to her name, having hit the winning runs off Tash Farrant with 9 balls to spare. With another 40-something not out in the book, it seems The Oval really is Windsor’s Forty-fied Castle!

“When we arrived today, [fellow Hursley Park player] Charlotte Taylor and me sent a little video to the Hursley girls saying: It’s good to be back!” Windsor told us after the game. “Now I’ve got a few messages saying that I need to move to The Oval permanently because I’m still not out here!”

In the year between the Summer Smash and the RHF Trophy, Windsor has had time to work on her game and her outlook.

“I spent the winter at The Ageas working hard with Charlotte Edwards and some of the other coaches. I really simplified my game down – we talked about the tactical side and not overthinking it, because I’m quite an overthinker.”

“I also had a bit of an injury, and I think sometimes that actually helps because you have a little bit of a break away from the game.”

“I think quite a lot for me has been mindset – I know I can do it! And the games at The Oval last year really did spur me on to know that I can play at a higher level.”

Although Windsor was around the Vipers setup during the KSL, the RHF has been her first season as a regular member of a professional team.

“It was a bit daunting at first – I didn’t know these girls, or I only knew them from playing against them. But now we’re all teammates, and I just try and learn as much as I can from some great players – if I keep doing that then I’ll just keep getting better and better.”

With the Vipers top order in such fine nick, it has been hard though for the middle-order to get a look-in sometimes.

“I’ve been thinking throughout the competition that I haven’t had much opportunity, because our top order’s been absolutely fantastic, so I really wanted to take the opportunity today to prove to myself and my teammates that I deserve a place in this team; so I just went out there and played simply – watched the ball, and it came off.”

With her match-winning performance having presumably cemented that place for the final of the RHF, Windsor can now relax and relish the opportunity of getting her hands on another trophy at Edgbaston next weekend.

“I’m really really excited! We’ve gone 6 from 6 in the group stages and we’re feeling really good – hopefully we can go 7 from 7!”

———

* Ok… yes… it was me!

NEWS: Dunkley & George Recalled To England Squad For West Indies T20s

England have recalled batting allrounder Sophia Dunkley and fast bowler Katie George, as part of a squad of 16 to face West Indies in 5 T20 internationals later this month. Dunkley is selected off the back of an innings of 97 for the South East Stars, which was watched in person by England coach Lisa Keightley; whilst George has impressed in the intra-squad warm-up fixtures at Derby and Loughborough.

Apart from Georgia Elwiss, who is out with a back injury, the squad is otherwise unchanged from the one which contested the T20 World Cup in Australia earlier this year.

The other members of the training squad will return to their regions for the last round and the final of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, though Bryony Smith and Linsey Smith have both been placed on “standby” to re-join the England squad, should they be required.

Announcing the squad, Lisa Keightley said:

“We’re in a great place going in to the Vitality IT20s against West Indies. It’s been a challenging summer for everyone and we are privileged to be in a position to play an international series, and to get the chance to showcase the women’s game.”

Full Squad

  • Heather Knight (Western Storm)
  • Tammy Beaumont (Lightning)
  • Katherine Brunt (Northern Diamonds)
  • Kate Cross (Thunder)
  • Freya Davies (South East Stars)
  • Sophia Dunkley (South East Stars)
  • Sophie Ecclestone (Thunder)
  • Katie George (Western Storm)
  • Sarah Glenn (Central Sparks)
  • Amy Jones (Central Sparks)
  • Nat Sciver (Northern Diamonds)
  • Anya Shrubsole (Western Storm)
  • Mady Villiers (Sunrisers)
  • Fran Wilson (Sunrisers)
  • Lauren Winfield-Hill (Northern Diamonds)
  • Danni Wyatt (Southern Vipers)

RHF TROPHY: Gads-zooks! Adams On The Path To Domestic Greatness

Georgia “Gads” Adams’ 154 not out for the Vipers yesterday against the Storm, was one of the great innings in the history of domestic women’s cricket. It was the highest score ever made in top-level domestic cricket in England by an uncapped player, and although it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Gads will go on to play for England, she’ll be 27 next month, so it does look as though her appearances for England Academy will be as close as she’ll come to wearing an England shirt.

Gads’ father – Chris – did have an international career, but it was a brief and not particularly successful one: he played 5 tests and 5 ODIs between 1998-2000, averaging 15. Nonetheless, he could have left it there – many have dined-out for the rest of their lives on less! But he went on to become something perhaps even rarer than a great international player – a great domestic player, captaining Sussex to the Men’s County Championship 3 times in the 2000s, finally retiring in 2008 with 69 First Class and List A centuries to his name.

Now, thanks to the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy and the growing professionalisation of domestic women’s cricket, there is the chance for his daughter to follow the same road to becoming a domestic “great”.

Adams Jnr. always “looked” like a good cricketer – playing her strokes with a flourish – but for a long time her numbers never quite backed that up. She became a Sussex regular in 2012, and scored her first hundred in 2014, but didn’t make another one until 2018, which starts to look like a pivotal year, as it was also the year she moved KSL teams – ironically from Vipers, where she had averaged just 11 in 2016-17, to Loughborough Lightning where she doubled that average to 24 in 2018-19.

Vipers coach Charlotte Edwards obviously agrees that something has changed, because not only did she bring her back to the Ageas Bowl this year as one of her 3 initial “pros” – she made her captain! And it has proved to be an astute appointment – Gads has led from the front, with not only yesterday’s 154* but two other half-centuries, averaging over 90 at a Strike Rate of 84. She has been the pivotal player as the Vipers have won 5 from 5, and qualified for the final at Edgbaston with a round to spare.

Of course, the real test is yet to come – there are no prizes in the RHF for winning your first 5 matches – only for winning the last one! But if Gads does go on to lead the Vipers to victory in the final, and if she continues to pursue the ethos of hard work and graft for which her father became legendary, then she too will genuinely have set herself on the path to emulate him as one of domestic cricket’s greats.

VIDEO: The CRICKETher Weekly Vodcast – Episode 26

Raf & Syd discuss:

  • The profile of the RHF Trophy, & what might happen to regionals next year (and beyond)
  • Why have Vipers been so successful, compared with Sunrisers & Thunder?
  • England Squad & Series Predictions

Plus Syd reveals who he thinks will win the competition… and it’s not Vipers!

RHF TROPHY: Vipers Pro Batters Step Up As Sun Sets On Sunrisers

The Vipers win over the Sunrisers yesterday formally ended the Sunrisers chances of travelling to Edgbaston for the RHF Trophy Final at the end of the month. With four rounds completed, the Sunrisers are the only winless team in the competition, while the Vipers have (as our American cousins say) gone “four for four”. So what’s been the difference between the two sides?

They are very similar in age-profile – the two XIs which took the field yesterday both had an average age of 22. And they have both had their three “pros” for the whole competition, unlike the Stars who lost Alice Davidson-Richards, Bryony Smith and Sophia Dunkley back to the England bubble for rounds 3 and 4.

The key difference between the Vipers and the Sunrisers has been with the bat – Vipers batters have scored 831 runs, to the Sunrisers 680; and most of that difference has come from the Vipers pros.

Runs Off The Bat Vipers Sunrisers
Pros 449 210
Amateurs 263 354
England 119 116

The Vipers pros collectively have hit more than twice as many runs as the Sunrisers’ – 449 to 210 – and although Sunrisers’ Cordelia Griffith was injured for the opening weekend, this is balanced out by the fact that one of the Vipers pros (Tara Norris) is an out-and-out bowler, whereas the Sunrisers’ pros are two batters (Griffith and Amara Carr) and a batting allrounder (Naomi Dattani).

Meanwhile the Sunrisers’ “amateurs” can hold their heads up high – especially Jo Gardner, who is their top scorer with 131 runs.

Another difference evident on the pitch yesterday was the fielding. The Sunrisers were poor in the field – it was quite a short rope at the Ageas, and the quick outfield there means you have to run hard to cut off those boundaries, which the Vipers showed them how to do, conceding just 15 fours to the Sunrisers 27. Fielding drills will need to be a priority for them over the winter – they won’t enjoy it, but it can make a big difference, as coach Trevor Griffin will undoubtedly be telling them!

All this being said, however, it is important not to be too hard on the Sunrisers. They haven’t totally fallen apart – they’ve hit two scores over 200 and their lowest score with the bat is a respectable 179, which would still have got them 3 (out of 4) bonus points in the old County Championship. And with the ball, they did actually bowl out the Vipers yesterday, albeit only just, off the penultimate delivery.

The Sunrisers have still got 2 matches left this summer to get a win on the board, starting with the Stars, who also slipped out of the reckoning yesterday, at Chelmsford on Sunday. This season may be over for them in terms of silverware, but they have to put that behind them – next season is what counts from here, and next season starts now!