STATS: #WBBL Bowling Rankings – If The Kapp Fits…

If you were picking your dream T20 franchise XI, who would be at the top of your list? Perry? Devine? Smriti? For me, it would be Marizanne Kapp every time – top batsmen are almost two a penny, but there is only one Marizanne Kapp. Her worth really showed when the Renegades took their semifinal against the Sixers to a Super Over – Perry might have hit the runs that technically won the game, but it had been set up by Kapp conceding just 6 in the Renegades’ over. With the lowest Economy Rate in the competition at 5.8 runs per over, and 20 wickets too, Kapp is a Jaguar F-Pace with the petrol consumption of a 1 litre Ford Fiesta – she simply shouldn’t exist in an era when batsmen rule the roads, and the fact that she does is a constant marvel!

The only players close to Kapp on economy were Lea Tahuhu (5.9) who has often looked a bit lost in T20 franchise cricket, but had a very good season for the Renegades; Georgia Wareham (5.9), who I think could be a big player in the Women’s Ashes this summer; and Grace Harris (also 5.9).

In fact, with Harris ranking No. 8 in bowling and No. 5 in batting there is an argument that she, rather than Perry, should have been Player of the Tournament, and it will be interesting to see whether her performances force the Aussie selectors into a rethink on her, having not played for the Southern Stars since 2016.

The leading wicket-takers in WBBL04 were jointly Delissa Kimmince and Heather Graham, with 22 victims each, but both were a bit expensive – Kimmince conceding 6.8 runs per over – exactly a run an over more than Kapp – and Graham 7.4.

The leading English bowler meanwhile was Heather Knight at No. 20, with the other English bowlers well back in the pack – Dani Hazell at 38, Alex Hartley at 43 and Kate Cross at 45.

Player Matches Wickets Economy
1. Marizanne Kapp (Sydney Sixers) 16 20 5.8
2. Sammy-Jo Johnson (Brisbane Heat) 16 20 6.2
3. Delissa Kimmince (Brisbane Heat) 16 22 6.8
4. Heather Graham (Perth Scorchers) 14 22 7.4
5. Molly Strano (Melbourne Renegades) 15 19 6.4
6. Dane van Niekerk (Sydney Sixers) 16 19 6.7
7. Stafanie Taylor (Sydney Thunder) 15 19 6.9
8. Grace Harris (Brisbane Heat) 16 16 5.9
9. Lea Tahuhu (Melbourne Renegades) 15 14 5.9
10. Sophie Molineux (Melbourne Renegades) 14 16 7.0
11. Alana King (Melbourne Stars) 14 15 6.7
12. Jess Jonassen (Brisbane Heat) 16 15 6.9
13. Brooke Hepburn (Hobart Hurricanes) 14 15 7.3
14. Nicola Carey (Sydney Thunder) 15 15 7.3
15. Megan Schutt (Adelaide Strikers) 14 13 6.5
16. Lauren Cheatle (Sydney Sixers) 16 14 7.0
17. Jemma Barsby (Brisbane Heat) 16 14 7.0
18. Rene Farrell (Sydney Thunder) 10 14 7.2
19. Georgia Wareham (Melbourne Renegades) 15 11 5.9
20. Heather Knight (Hobart Hurricanes) 13 14 7.57

Bowling Ranking = Wickets / Economy

Advertisements

STATS: #WBBL Batting Rankings – Perry Top… But No Icing

Hot Take: Ellyse Perry let the Sydney Sixers down this season.

[Ed: What? Have you gone you mad?]

Yes… but there is method in my madness, so let me explain!

Prior to this season, Perry the batsman had a problem in Twenty20 – although her big innings were always scored at a respectable Strike Rate, she invariably tended to start very slowly, often scoring her first 25 runs at a Strike Rate pushing as low as 50. This meant that if she got out for 25, she’d chewed up a lot of balls in the process, putting big pressure on the rest of the team.

However, this WBBL season was different – she found a way of adjusting mentally, and almost “starting her innings in the middle”, which allowed her to score at 100+ from the off; and this is one of the reasons she was able to score those two hundreds and six fifties which all-but guaranteed her the Player of the Tournament award well before we got to the business end of the competition.

But, but, but… then came the final – the big match – the one that mattered… and who should walk out to open the batting for the Sixers but the old Ellyse Perry. At the end of the powerplay, she was 7 off 15 balls, and the lack of momentum up top was arguably a critical factor in tipping the balance of what turned out to be a very close game away from the Sixers. It shouldn’t take away from the fact that Perry obviously had an outstanding season overall, but when you buy a cake, you expect icing on the top… and for once Perry’s cake didn’t.

The New Zealand opening pair of Sophie Devine, who is ranked in our list at number 2, and Suzie Bates, ranked at 7, both had good returns, though the Adelaide Strikers’ season overall was a disappointment – their main achievement being definitive proof that packing your bowling line-up doesn’t work in T20 – you need batsmen, not a tail that starts at 3!

Elsewhere, the highest ranked English players were Heather Knight at 9, and Danni Wyatt at 13 – both seem to always play well in Australia, which could be good news for England at next year’s World Twenty20.

It is also interesting to see Sophie Molineux ranked so highly at 14 – Raf picked her as One To Watch in 2019 for the Guardian at New Year, but obviously mainly for her bowling not her batting. Arguably, Australia’s batting is so strong, they don’t need to worry too much about how well the bowlers bat, but nonetheless she is looking like she could be very useful for the Southern Stars over the next few years, maybe coming in at 7 or 8 with a couple of overs to go.

Player Matches Runs SR
1. Ellyse Perry (Sydney Sixers) 16 777 121
2. Sophie Devine (Adelaide Strikers) 13 556 137
3. Alyssa Healy (Sydney Sixers) 16 445 142
4. Beth Mooney (Brisbane Heat) 16 486 128
5. Grace Harris (Brisbane Heat) 16 374 148
6. Meg Lanning (Perth Scorchers) 9 389 137
7. Suzie Bates (Adelaide Strikers) 14 421 112
8. Smriti Mandhana (Hobart Hurricanes) 13 318 145
9. Heather Knight (Hobart Hurricanes) 13 374 122
10. Elyse Villani (Perth Scorchers) 11 403 113
11. Rachel Priest (Sydney Thunder) 15 338 134
12. Rachael Haynes (Sydney Thunder) 13 376 115
13. Danni Wyatt (Melbourne Renegades) 14 368 112
14. Sophie Molineux (Melbourne Renegades) 14 354 115
15. Harmanpreet Kaur (Sydney Thunder) 13 310 127
16. Ashleigh Gardner (Sydney Sixers) 16 337 115
17. Lizelle Lee (Melbourne Stars) 14 276 137
18. Alex Blackwell (Sydney Thunder) 15 301 122
19. Sammy-Jo Johnson (Brisbane Heat) 16 260 140
20. Tahlia McGrath (Adelaide Strikers) 14 276 126

Batting Ranking = Runs * Strike Rate

NEWS: Dani Hazell Retires With Head Held High

England’s Dani Hazell has announced her retirement from international cricket, after a 141-match career in which she took 146 wickets and won two World Cup winner’s medals.

Ironically, the way she won those two medals rather summed-up her career – in 2009, she was in the squad but didn’t play at all in England’s victorious World Twenty20 campaign; and although she played 5 matches at the 2017 50-over World Cup, she was relegated to bench for the both the semi-final and final as England triumphed.

Despite having reached the dizzy summits of No. 1 in the ICC rankings for T20 bowling, Hazell was never able to hold down a long term place in the England side – a source of constant frustration for the player, who was rumoured to have considered quitting during the 2015 Women’s Ashes, after she was left out of the ODI team that summer for reasons that were only tangentially cricket-related. (The Australians, as documented in David Tossell’s Girls of Summer, couldn’t believe their luck at not having to face the one England spinner they really rated, as they went on to win the series by 10 points to 6.)

Hazell did play in the recent World Twenty20 final in the West Indies, and has just finished a reasonably successful stint with the Adelaide Strikers in the WBBL, taking 9 wickets in the season. But with England’s squad for the spring tour to India due to be announced shortly, the speculation will presumably be that she had once again lost her place and that this was the last straw for a player who never made a secret of the fact that she thought there was more to life than just playing for England, and wasn’t prepared to sacrifice her mental or physical health to do so, especially when she was sitting out half the time anyway.

Nonetheless, she should leave with her head held high, knowing that she will be remembered as a player good enough to have captained England on 2 occasions when Heather Knight was injured, and a bowler who the opposition always feared – perhaps the ultimate compliment the game can give.

NEWS: Players Face Crack-Down On Social Media “Ads”

Hundreds of cricketers may be breaking the law and could in theory face significant penalties, as the UK government cracks down on covert social media advertising.

Following high-profile scandals such as the Fyre Festival, where celebrities were paid up to a quarter of a million dollars to promote a non-existent music festival via posts on Instagram and Twitter, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published new guidance for social media influencers, which lays down the law about sponsored content.

The start of a new cricket season is always heralded by a murder of posts to the tune of: “Can’t wait to get out in the middle with my new Batty-Bats bat!”

But George Lusty, the CMA’s Senior Director for Consumer Protection said:

“If celebrities or influencers are posting about a product on social media, they must make it clear if they’ve been paid.”

The CMA’s guidelines now state that such posts should include the hashtag “#ad” at the start of the post to indicate this.

And crucially these guidelines don’t just address traditional endorsement deals, where top players are paid directly to lend their name to a range of equipment; but also to those cases where players have a less formal relationship with a brand, such as being sent free kit, even when no money changes hands and there is no signed agreement between the player and the brand to promote the product.

The guidelines state that:

“Any form of reward, including money, gifts of services or products, or the loan of a product, is ‘payment’ – whether you originally asked for it or got sent it out of the blue (e.g. ‘freebies’).”

This would apply not just to players promoting bats, but to those who are lent cars during the season, or sent energy bars, headphones, or beer (yes… beer!) to try. A quick scan through the recent social media feeds of current and recent England players shows several such posts, one as recently as yesterday, none of which are accompanied by the “#ad” hashtag.

And as Lusty explains, this matters because it is important to ensure that all advertising relationships remain transparent in the social media age:

“Stars can have a big influence on what their followers do and buy. If people see clothes [or] a car… being plugged by someone they admire, they might be swayed into buying it. So, it’s really important they are clearly told whether a celebrity is promoting a product because they have bought it themselves, or because they have been paid or thanked in some way by the brand.”

Although the most likely outcome of any direct investigation would be a slap on the wrist, in theory breach of the applicable law (The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008) could lead to a large fine or up to two years in prison.

—————————-

Want to know more? Download the official guidance here:

https://www.asa.org.uk/uploads/assets/uploaded/3af39c72-76e1-4a59-b2b47e81a034cd1d.pdf

The CRICKETher 2018 Christmas Quiz

PS – If you’ve got any questions for us for our End of Year Vodcast, please post them in Have Your Say below!

WBBL: Mid-Term Reports See Thunder Top The Christmas Tree In Oz

Team Played Won Lost N/R Points
1. Sydney Thunder 7 6 1 0 12
2. Sydney Sixers 7 5 2 0 10
3. Brisbane Heat 7 4 3 0 8
4. Perth Scorchers 8 4 4 0 8
5. Melbourne Stars 8 4 4 0 8
6. Adelaide Strikers 7 2 4 1 5
7. Melbourne Renegades 6 2 3 1 5
8. Hobart Hurricanes 8 1 7 0 2

With Christmas falling at pretty much the mid-point in the WBBL, we take a look at who has been good… and who is on Santa’s “Naughty List”!

Sydney Thunder

With just one defeat – to the Sixers – the Thunder sit atop the tree on Christmas Day. They have been professional, rather than spectacular – perhaps indicated by the fact that their star player has been Stafanie Taylor… with the ball! Taylor has taken 14 wickets at a respectable 6.92, and has also done a job with the bat, coming in down the order and finishing Not Out in 4 of 7 innings.

Sydney Sixers

After her incredible run of form at the World Twenty20, and an opening-day 70, Alyssa Healy has subsequently had a bit of a slump with a run of low scores; but the reason the Sixers were favourites wasn’t that they had Healy – it was that they had Healy and Perry and Gardner and van Niekerk and Kapp and… you get the idea! And whereas the Thunder have been clinical, the Sixers have sparkled, especially Ellyse Perry. With 2 centuries and 3 further fifties, the Player of the Tournament is probably already decided – the only question is whether Perry will get a winner’s medal to go with it.

Brisbane Heat

Unloved and unfancied… at least by us in our preview… the Heat have upset some apple carts to sit third – on Net Run Rate, but with a game in hand over the Scorchers and the Stars. They have been helped by a couple of outstanding one-off displays – Grace Harris’s 101* against the Stars will be the one that goes down in the record books, but Sammy-Jo Johnson almost single-handedly beating the Sixers, with 51 runs with the bat and then 3-23 with the ball, was actually the bigger performance. However, consistency is going to be their issue during the run-in.

Perth Scorchers

The Scorchers have to be disappointed with only 4 wins from 8, with Heather Graham’s comp-leading 15 wickets only partly compensating for some disappointing performances with the bat. To be fair, the injury to Meg Lanning, which led to her missing 5 matches, didn’t help things. With Lanning back and in-form, scoring 75 off 50 balls to beat the Renegades with some g-force acceleration at the back-end of the innings, the Scorchers should pick things up from here and cruise through to the knock-outs. Should!

Melbourne Stars

The Stars may have been laid waste by “Bomber” Harris, but they have actually done okay overall. Veteran captain Erin Osborne has led from the front with wickets and runs, while Lizelle Lee scored a match-winning hundred to beat the Sixers, and probably has another couple of big scores in her before we’re done. The crucial player for them could be their other South African, Mignon du Preez. She is not, and never will be, a “Bosher”, but she seems to have found a way to play T20 cricket at this WBBL, taking the boundaries where she can and still running hard between the wickets – averaging 30 at a really useful Strike Rate of 128, she is giving them the backbone they will need if they are to push on.

Adelaide Strikers

The question for the Strikers was always going to be whether a great bowling attack was enough, when your batting tail starts at 3 – the answer so far has been a qualified “No!” Sophie Devine has been outstanding, averaging 50 with the bat, but it hasn’t been enough, and their bowlers are struggling to make up the difference – Devine is their leading wicket-taker, with 8, but she has been expensive, while the likes of Megan Schutt and Sarah Coyte aren’t making enough of an impact in the wickets column to really peg anyone back. They could still pull through, of course… but I wouldn’t bet money on it. (Sorry Raf!)

Melbourne Renegades

The Renegades problem has been runs on the board – Danni Wyatt has been in reasonable nick, as she usually is in Australia when the ball is coming on to the bat, but even she hasn’t really been laying on the fireworks. Wyatt aside, only Amy Satterthwaite has scored more than 100 runs for the Renegades so far… and Satterthwaite only just, with 115! With the ball, the notable performer has been Georgia Wareham – she has only taken 3 wickets, but at an Economy Rate of under 5, to which no one else in WBBL is even close!

Hobart Hurricanes

The positive for the Hurricanes is that they’ve had some close games. But unfortunately not close enough to actually get more than the solitary win on the board. Heather Knight and Smriti Mandhana have hit enough runs to keep the wolf of embarrassment from the door; but they have been poor with the ball and their fielding has been terrible, bordering on amateur at times. Surrey Stars coach Richard Bedbrook has been now flown out to Hobart to try to rescue something for the ‘Canes from the season – we wish him luck… he is going to need it!

BOOK REVIEW: The Fire Burns Blue: A History of Women’s Cricket in India

The Fire Burns Blue: A History of Women’s Cricket in India by Sidhanta Patnaik & Karunya Keshav

BUY NOW @ AMAZON.CO.UK

At the Women’s World Cup Final between England and India in July 2017, we were privileged to share the press box with three wonderful colleagues from India, two of whom have now collaborated on a new book recounting the history of women’s cricket in India, from the founding of the first modern teams in the early 70s, through to that dramatic day at Lord’s.

The story they tell begins, like the finest post-modern novel, near the end – with Harmanpreet’s remarkable 171 not out in the semi-final against Australia – before, with little pause for breath, we are whisked back nearly 50 years to the founding of the Women’s Cricket Association of India by a group of girls who, long before Cyndi Lauper, just wanted to have fun.

Sidhanta and Karunya proceed to take us on a 500-page journey – from the early days of travel by second-class train ticket, playing at third-class grounds in front of a handful of spectators; to flying business class to compete at global tournaments, cheered on by a TV audience of millions.

The tale is engagingly told through the eyes of the key protagonists – the players and administrators – many of whose stories are set down here on record for perhaps the first time. The borrowed bats and the dormitory pranks are one thing; but the authors don’t shy away from the more difficult issues, such as how one deals with one’s period in the middle of a vital match.

It is a book for the reader, rather than the statistician or the academic historian – matches are recounted more by a shot remembered here, or a ball recalled there, rather than with the clinical details of a traditional report. Sometimes reading a cricket book can feel like a drowning by numbers, but this book takes a more anecdotal – more human – approach; and is all the better for it.

Controversies, such as the 1986 tour to England, when a diplomatic incident was created as India slowed their rate to a 7-overs-an-hour crawl in pursuit of a draw in the first Test, are dealt with in a balanced manner – and notably more equitably than they have been in English print, where the Indians have been accused of “[playing] the diva card to new extremes” to quote just one example!

If there is one small criticism it might be that the writers are a little too ready to believe the propaganda of the other boards – particularly Cricket Australia and the ECB – that things are so much greener on the other side of the fence, compared to the privations endured over the years by the Indians – we have to tell you, they really aren’t!

English readers should also prepare themselves for a fair smattering of Hindi – it is (loosely) translated in-line, but it can be hard work nonetheless.

Overall though, The Fire Burns Blue remains a thoroughly affable read which deserves a place under your Christmas tree this season.

PREVIEW: #WBBL…. Already?

Hang on… wait… it’s #WBBL already? I only just got used to typing #WT20! And now there’s another hashtag? It’s all too much!!

It’s all a bit too much for some of the players too – several of them, including England’s Heather Knight, who must feel like she has spent most of the last week on a plane, won’t be appearing this weekend. (The England players are required to take an 8-day post-tournament break, so we’ll see them next week hopefully!)

There are 23 televised matches, which you can watch in England via BT Sport, starting tonight at 2:45 am (i.e Saturday morning) with the Sixers v the Stars. All of the non-televised matches will be live-streamed at cricket.com.au, so it will once again be possible to watch every game your team play. (And I guess every game, as long as you have enough screens!)

Here at CRICKETher, Syd will be once again supporting the Hobart Hurricanes, due to a long-nurtured sense of fatalism and some vague Berkshire connections; while Raf will be rooting for the Adelaide Strikers, as long as they’ve still got Sophie Devine playing for them! [Yup – check – they have!]

Adelaide Strikers

After a disappointing past few months in international colours, the Dynamic Duo from New Zealand – Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine – will probably feel the pressure is off a bit as they pull on a different coloured jersey, and this could be bad news for everyone else. With Bates and Devine to open the batting the will be hoping to get off to some big starts, and their batting isn’t even their strong point! Their bowling includes current World No. 1 Megan Schutt, former World No. 1 Dani Hazell, Sarah Coyte, Amanda-Jade Wellington; and not forgetting that Devine herself was the second-leading wicket-taker in KSL this year! Having slightly disappointed last year, when they came 4th in the ladder, expect more this time around.

Prediction: Up There

Brisbane Heat

They’ve got Beth Mooney. And… er… hmmm… look… we love Laura Wolvaardt, we really, really do, but she just isn’t a Twenty20 player; and Sune Luus, their other big South African signing, still looks like a lost empire in search of a role – since her bowling went south, South Africa have tried to turn her into a batsman, which hasn’t been a total disaster, but hasn’t exactly been a roaring success either. Jess Jonassen is short of match fitness having spent #WT20 carrying drinks; while one-time Great White Hope Holly Ferling spent #WT20 back home watching on TV. They only just missed out on the playoffs last time – if they get even close this time, it will be a miracle.

Prediction: Wooden Spoon Challengers

Hobart Hurricanes

The WBBL’s perennial whipping-girls still don’t have any Aussie stars. What they do have is a new coach poached from Loughborough – Salliann Briggs – and the two leading run-scorers from KSL, Heather Knight and Smriti Mandhana. With Hayley Matthews, who seems to perhaps be at last starting to fulfil the promise she showed on her spectacular entry to the international stage when she powered the West Indies to victory in the final of the last #WT20 in India in 2016, things could be looking up in Hobart. A hurricane? Perhaps not! But at least a strong wind!

Prediction: In The Mix

Melbourne Renegades

Another team without any big Aussie stars, but they’ve got a few smaller ones, including Sophie Molineux and Georgia Wareham who are now officially World Cup Winners™, plus Tayla Vlaeminck who played in the group stages of #WT20 but not the final. Danni Wyatt always seems to turn up in Australia, and having Amy Satterthwaite on the bridge is always a bonus with bat and ball, especially as she comes with a free Lea Tahuhu boxed-in. They probably won’t make the playoffs, but it wouldn’t be a massive shock if they did.

Prediction: In The Mix

Melbourne Stars

To lose one Lanning (Meg, to the Scorchers last year) may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both (Anna, to the Renegades this year) looks like carelessness, and it is carelessness that the Stars look likely to pay for. At 34, Kristen Beams is a veteran who has seen it all before, but is also coming to the end of her career; and none of their other marquee players are quite superstars – Georgia Elwiss is very reliable, but isn’t going to set the world on fire; Lizelle Lee can set everything on fire, but seems to be out of matches more often than she’s not; while Mignon du Preez is one of the hardest working women in cricket, but as an accumulator she can’t do it alone in T20. They came second-to-last in the table last season – expect similar this time.

Prediction: Wooden Spoon Challengers

Perth Scorchers

The Scorchers’ key player last year was Katherine Brunt, but them playing her through a niggle which then flared-up into a full-blown long-term injury ultimately cost everyone big, as she missed the #WT20 for England and has obviously not returned to Perth either. Filling Brunt’s shoes are Kate Cross and Amy Jones, but they are big shoes to fill, and what the Scorchers could really have done with is another big batsman – someone like… oh, I don’t know… Meg Lanning! Lanning isn’t the most elegant player in the world (*hi Sarah Taylor*) or the most destructive (*waves at Harmanpreet Kaur*) but she has already broken many of the records in the book, and will surely break the rest before she is done. With her on board the Scorchers will surely be up there again this season.

Prediction: Up There

Sydney Sixers

They won it last year; they won it the year before – yer, let’s just say this: they’re gonna win it again! They don’t have Kim Garth this time  – the loophole that allowed her to play as a “rookie” has now been closed – but they still have Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, and Ellyse Perry from the Aussie contingent; plus Marizanne Kapp, who might not be officially the world’s No. 1 bowler, but would be the second name on many “World XI” team-sheets nonetheless, and Dane van Niekerk just for the LOLs – and there will be a lot of LOLs for Sixers fans this season, that’s for sure.

Prediction: Winners

Sydney Thunder

The Thunder have the most stable team in WBBL – no big names, in or out. It will be interesting to see how Alex Blackwell performs, having largely retired from playing, and indeed being a coach in KSL. Their overseas – Harmanpreet Kaur, Rachel Priest and Stafanie Taylor – are all capable of hitting huge runs… but equally all capable of not. They will need Ms Ultra-Reliable – Rachael Haynes – to be… well… ultra-reliable; and hope that they have enough bowling to keep things in check in the field. They came a solid second in the ladder last year – they probably won’t do quite so well this.

Prediction: In The Mix

NEWS: Sky To Televise Full Summer International Schedule

Following the announcement of the 2019 international schedule, CRICKETher can confirm that Sky will be televising every match.

This will be probably the busiest summer of international cricket ever in England, with not only the Men’s and Women’s Ashes, but the Men’s World Cup taking place in England, and inevitably some of the men’s matches clash with women’s fixtures.

However, Sky have pulled out all the stops to ensure that all the women’s games will be broadcast, even when they clash with the men’s matches.

Great news for women’s cricket fans, and a signpost towards a future where the women’s game stands tall alongside the men’s!

#WT20 – Five Reasons To Be Proud Of England (And Scotland)

So #WT20 2018 is done and dusted and we’re getting ready to fly back home, away from mosquitos and back to winter coats. But, while England couldn’t quite snatch the trophy away from Australia, we’re still proud to support them. Here’s why:

1. They Reached The Final Against All Odds

England did most of their preparation for this tournament in a tent at Loughborough, had their warm-up fixture against Australia rained off, and then spent days cooped up in hotel rooms in St Lucia while the rain came down. The rain even cost them points when their fixture against Sri Lanka was abandoned without a ball being bowled. Despite that they reached their second global final in 15 months.

“We’ve shown some brilliant heart and brilliant fight in this tournament,” Heather Knight said. She was spot on.

2. They Successfully Blooded New Players

In a surprise move, Mark Robinson chose to throw all 3 of his debutants (Linsey Smith, Kirstie Gordon and Sophia Dunkley) in at the deep end in the same match. It was sink or swim: and they all swum.

Dunkley had to wait until her third match to get her first opportunity with the bat, but it was worth the wait as she top-scored against West Indies to take England to a competitive total in a match that they only just lost. Smith bowled well in the powerplay and picked up her first international wicket in only her third over of the tournament.

Meanwhile Kirstie Gordon topped off her meteoric rise into international cricket by finishing as England’s leading wicket-taker. Gordon remains a proud Scot (Scottish readers, please note the title of this piece!) but is equally proud to wear the England colours. It’s been great to see young cricketers making their mark on the side so quickly.

3. They Overcame The Loss Of Sarah Taylor And Katherine Brunt

Taylor’s and Brunt’s were big shoes to fill, two senior players with over 400 caps between them. Cue Amy Jones and Nat Sciver stepping into the breach.

Not having a settled role in the side has made life difficult for Jones in the past but in this tournament she showed a new confidence and maturity with the bat, her innings in the semi-final in tricky conditions a case in point.

Her partner in that run chase, Nat Sciver, has been seen largely as a batsman in recent years, but having remodelled her action just prior to this tournament she showed off just what she can do with the ball, opening the bowling in all but one of England’s matches and taking 3-4 against South Africa.

4. They Showed They Are A Better, Fitter Side Than They Were In 2016

In 2016, in the wake of England’s loss to Australia in the World Twenty20 semi-final, Mark Robinson identified one key issue: fitness. During this tournament England showed that they have taken that critique to heart, working hard over the past 2 years to reach peak physical condition. Their running between the wickets has been lightning quick, creating singles that just wouldn’t have been there in 2016. On pitches where boundaries were hard to find, that was crucial.

5. They Have The Best Fans In The World

Of all the teams bar West Indies, who had the obvious advantage of a home crowd, England were far and away the best supported side in the tournament. Fans came from far and wide, some to their first ever international tournament, having watched the World Cup last year and become smitten with a brilliant team. We know how they feel: we’ve loved every minute of watching this team too.