Thursday, March 31, 2016

Women’s World Twenty20: What Happened England?

The England Women Cricket team was destined for greatness in the inaugural Twenty20 tournament that took place in 2009. In the final match, they faced a consistent New Zealand team who were the host nation but, through Katherine Brunt, who had an opening spell of 3 for 6 bowled out New Zealand for 85. England was too strong for New Zealand, especially with Claire Taylor, who was in inspired form, led them to a comfortable six-wicket victory. But this marked their only Women’s World Twenty20 victory. In the 2010 event, England was bundled out at the group stage: the next two Women’s World Twenty20 events were agonising as they finished runners-up in the 2012 and 2014 games beaten by their arch rivals, Australia. In this year’s event, for the third time in a row, England’s race for the World T20s was cut short by Australia at the semi-final stage: this is a hurting defeat.

This was not a strong versus the weak type of encounter. Both Australia and England were regularly found wanting, especially in the initial ten overs in the field. England showed the first signs of complacency when they bowled a touch that was too wide for the incredible Lanning, who had a classy half-century as a result of her high-quality shots played through the off side. Australia too was complacent with the ball, but Megan Schutt was in the form of her life with incredible inswingers.

The key players for Australia came in the shape of Megan Schutt, Alyssa Healy and captain, Meg Lanning. It is the captain who hit a composed 55, while Alyssa Healy recorded a rapid 25 as Australia accumulated 132-6. For the England team, Tammy Beaumont and Edwards had a perfect start of 133 off to continue their excellent partnership that went to new heights in this year’s Women’s World Twenty20. They played well together to add 67 for the first wicket inside ten overs.

England came into the Women’s World Twenty20 semi-final against New Zealand after winning four of their group matches, but the signs of fragility had been showing especially with the bat. Against India, England lost their nerve and showed poor decision making by dropping from 42-1 to 92-8, it was Anya Shrubsole, the number 10 who dropped the ball before she lashed with the winning runs through backward point. England’s lack of concentration was also evident when they faced West Indies and collapsed from a 59-0 to 109-9, in this game, Merissa Aguilleira was the most culpable when she lost her cool and ran for the stumps with ball in hand allowing Rebecca Grundy to come in and steal the last ball of the innings.

In the semi-final against New Zealand, England failed to pick up on the momentum started by Beaumont and Edwards. With only seven overs remaining, they just needed 45 with nine wickets in hand, but panic got the better of them leading to their ultimate defeat. It all started when Beaumont was caught over after playing an unnecessary slog, Natalie Sciver bowled an overambitious scoop and bowled third ball and then Erin Osborne was smacked by Heather Knight for a long on. England laid their hopes on Sarah Taylor who was badly out of form: she played a dismal reverse sweep that was caught to sum up their shallow thinking and ultimately, sealed their fate.

The one area that England should improve is to learn to build on their early momentum. If they managed another five runs, they would have had a super over but they failed to capitalise. They also need to learn how to hold their nerve, avoid fumbles and play tactical and smart cricket. With this record, would you
bet on England for the next Twenty20? Let us know in the comments below.

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