VIDEO: The CRICKETher Vodcast – Social Isolation Edition – Episode 2

Raf & Syd look forward to what may (or may not) happen in 2020.

PS – Thanks to the magic of “green screen”, we’re at Lord’s… but can you guess when we are?

VIDEO: The CRICKETher Vodcast – Social Isolation Edition – Episode 1

Raf & Syd look back at the T20 World Cup in Australia.

PS – Can you guess “where” (via the magic of green screen) we are? (Hint: if you don’t recognise it, your local friendly teenager may be able to help!) Post your answer in “Have Your Say” below!

NEWS: England’s 2021 World Cup Fixtures Announced

The fixtures for the 2021 World Cup in New Zealand have been announced, with England starting their campaign against Australia at Eden Park, Auckland on Sunday 7th February.

Following a full “round robin” group stages – the same format as 2017 – the semi-finals will take place at Bay Oval, Tauranga and Seddon Park, Hamilton on Wednesday 3rd and Thursday 4th March, with the final at Hagley Oval, Christchurch on Sunday 7th March.

England’s 2021 World Cup Campaign

Sunday, 7 Feb – Australia v England (Eden Park, Auckland)
Wednesday, 10 Feb – England v QUALIFIER (Seddon Park, Hamilton)
Saturday, 13 Feb – QUALIFIER v England (University Oval, Dunedin)
Wednesday, 17 Feb – South Africa v England (Basin Reserve, Wellington)
Sunday, 21 Feb – England v QUALIFIER (Bay Oval, Tauranga)
Wednesday, 24 Feb – England v QUALIFIER (Hagley Oval, Christchurch)
Sunday, 28 Feb – New Zealand v England (Hagley Oval, Christchurch)
Wednesday, 3 March – Semi-Final 1 (1 v 4) (Bay Oval, Tauranga)
Thursday, 4 March – Semi-final 2 (2 v 3) (Seddon Park, Hamilton)
Sunday, 7 March – Final (Hagley Oval, Christchurch)

T20 WORLD CUP FINAL: Boom, Boom, Boom; Even Brighter Than The Moon, Moon, Mooney

In the 17th over of India’s innings, Richa Ghosh slogged a ball from Nicola Carey out towards Delissa Kimmince, patrolling the boundary at deep midwicket. If the game had been on the line, Kimmince might well have gone for the catch… and the way Australia were catching she would probably have made it too. But she didn’t bother – there was no point – the game was already won, and instead she hung back to take the ball on the bounce as the Indians ran an irrelevant single.

The play summed up the whole of the Indian reply to Australia’s mammoth 184, which was over almost as soon as it had begun, with Shafali Verma edging Megan Schutt to Alyssa Healy for 2 off the third ball. Without the Shafali “kick-start” the Indian innings quickly wilted. Taniya Bhatia retired hurt and Jemimah Rodrigues holed-out for a duck in the following over. While Harmanpreet remained, there was hope I guess, but her departure in the 6th over was not the beginning of the end… it was the end of the end.

From there, India played for survival, knocking out a steady 4 or 5-an-over when they needed 10… which quickly became 11… which quickly became the 25 they needed when Kimmince let that catch go by. Australia’s victory was a mere formality, as the crowd resorted to Mexican Waves to keep themselves entertained.

Proceedings at the MCG had begun a couple of hours previously with Katy Perry belting out the opening ceremony with her anthems to empowerment and inclusivity, Roar and Firework – two songs which could not have been more appropriate for this game on this International Women’s Day.

Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon

It felt like no one heard the lyrics to Firework as a call to arms more than Alyssa Healy, who smashed five 6s and seven 4s on her way to 75 off 39 balls, opening the innings with Beth Mooney. Mooney ended up scoring more runs (78 off 54) and was later elected Player of the Tournament by the distinguished panel of judges (which included CRICKETher editor Raf Nicholson) but today she was outshone by Healy nonetheless – she gave the Aussie’s the start that the Indians didn’t get from Shafali – boom, boom, boom; even brighter than the moon, moon, Moon…ey!

Could it have been any other way? Healy and Mooney were both dropped early on; but the thing with Australia’s batting line-up is that it is so long that even those two wickets might not have made any difference – those runs could just as easily have been scored by Lanning, Haynes and Gardner. Australia in this tournament have been a juggernaut with the bat, carrying a slightly weaker bowling lineup to yet another Twenty20 World Cup trophy.

Got a couple of bob to spare? Put it on the Aussies to win the next one too.

T20 WORLD CUP: 5 Gold Stars For England To Take Home

England won’t be taking any gold medals home from the T20 World Cup in Australia, but perhaps these gold stars will make up for them?

(I mean… they won’t… but I’m handing them out anyway – wear them with pride!)

They Achieved Their Goal

Going into the World Cup, England set themselves a goal of making the semi-finals. Realistically, that’s all you can do in these short, sharp tournaments – after that, it’s all a bit of a lottery, even if it doesn’t rain. And not only did England achieve their semi-final goal – they didn’t even lose their semi-final, technically, which means…

They Only Lost Once

Through the tournament, England only lost once – that’s exactly the same number of losses as the eventual champions Australia. (Because, let’s face it, they are going to win it, aren’t they?) Overall, they came away with three victories to one loss… and even that loss was a close one to eventual semi-finalists South Africa.

Ecclestone Soared

It was rather appropriate that it was during this tournament that Sophie Ecclestone clambered to the top of the greasy (and admittedly at times slightly unfathomable) pole of the ICC Rankings, because this was the tournament that confirmed that she is the best bowler in the world right now. Our own Bowling Rankings tell the story – 8 wickets at an economy rate of just 3.23 runs-per-over. The leading economy rate in these tournaments usually goes to the part-time spinner who bowls one over in a dead match; but Ecclestone bowled basically her full compliment of overs in four matches, and still had the best economy over everyone that bowled in the group stages.

Glenn Nailed It

Sarah Glenn came into the World Cup vying for a spot in the roster with seamer Freya Davies, with the expectation that England would pick one or the other according to tactics and conditions. But having been selected at the WACA on those terms, Glenn made herself impossible to drop with the consistency of her stump-to-stump leg-spin, consigning the unlucky Davies to the bench for the entire tournament. Glenn ended up 3rd in the Bowling Rankings, which for a twenty-year-old in her first big tournament under the spotlight of international scrutiny is very, very impressive.

Nat’s a Natural at 3

The retirement of Sarah Taylor last summer left a big hole at Number 3 in England’s batting order – the spot Taylor had made her own. Nat Sciver, who has spent 80-odd-percent of her career batting down the order at 4, 5 or 6, ended up landing in that role almost by default, but she has excelled in it during this tournament, scoring quickly and consistently, with a lowest score of a still-useful 36, so hopefully this is a major “problem position” solved for England going forwards.

T20 WORLD CUP: England Exit Harsh… But Fair

England were knocked out of the T20 World Cup at the semi-final stage, courtesy of the torrential rain which lashed Sydney all day, causing their match with India to be abandoned without a ball bowled. India, as group winners, therefore progress to the final.

There has been much talk about the unfairness of this system… and there will be even more if Australia exit the competition in the same manner later this evening. But the tournament Playing Conditions dictate that only the final should have a reserve day, and belated pleas from Cricket Australia for a last-minute change in the rules fell on deaf ears at the ICC.

And rightly so!

CRICKETher is the first to criticise the boards when they get stuff wrong, and it has earned us the ire of the ECB, Cricket Australia, the BCCI and the ICC themselves at times; but this time they didn’t get it wrong – they got it absolutely right.

One wonders whether the pleas of Cricket Australia would have been anything like as loud if they had been the ones in pole position at this stage?

Because the simple fact is that England and Australia were only in this situation because they lost their opening matches. If England had beaten South Africa, they’d have topped the group and would now being doing rain-dances in their hotel ahead of a semi with Australia. Ditto Australia, who lost to India on opening day.

England (and Australia, if that transpires) might not have lost this game “on the pitch” at the SCG, but they did lose it on a pitch – in England’s case, the one at the WACA in Perth.

As Heather Knight admitted when confronted with the weather forecast yesterday:

“It’s our own fault for losing that game against South Africa,” she said. “We didn’t top our group and only have ourselves to blame.”

Nor were the regulations “sexist” as some have suggested: the last men’s World Twenty20, in India in 2016, had exactly the same regulations.

The rules may be harsh – rules often are on those who fall the wrong side of them – but they were fair, and India deservedly go on to the final at the MCG on Sunday.

NEWS: Equal Prize Money For The Hundred

Six years on from the ECB’s Managing Director of Women’s Cricket Clare Connor describing the idea of equal prize money as “economically absurd”, the ECB have announced that the £600,000 prize pot for The Hundred will be split 50/50 between the men’s and women’s competitions.

 

The ECB received a lot of criticism in the media when the player salaries were revealed, with the best-paid women being paid £15,000 – half as much as the worst-paid men, who will trouser £30,000 for potentially six weeks of bench-warming.

In that light, Beth Barrett-Wild, head of The Hundred women’s competition admitted today: “We’re aware there is more to do in this space.”

However, this is nonetheless an important symbolic gesture and it certainly offers a genuine incentive for the players. Although the exact distribution of the prize pot within the women’s competition is yet to be revealed*, on the basis of the headline number it looks like some of the players on the winning team will likely have the opportunity to pretty-much double their tournament earnings, should they come out on top on Finals Day at Hove.

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* The Guardian are suggesting that the winners will get £150,000 and the runners-up £75,000, but it is likely not all of this will go directly to the players.