Review of England Women vs West Indies Women
By Josh Knappett
The top-level of women’s cricket in the UK suffered from COVID-19 restrictions with South Africa withdrawing from their tour to the UK due to their Government’s restrictions. The Hundred was postponed too, which was understandable but still a shame. However, the great news was that we thankfully saw a domestic tournament still played with the inception of the Rachel Heyhoe-Flint 50 over competition (where Southern Vipers were this year’s winners).
Having been through leadership changes over the last year or so with Lisa Keightley now being appointed as Head Coach, the series has now been completed between England Women and West Indies Women. England came out with a desire to entertain and to show their future intent. The way they will approach their strategy is now clear for all to see – attack with the bat, get experienced players dominating and give opportunities to younger players to shine. I have really enjoyed watching the progress they have made and direction they are looking to now take female cricket.
In these T20I’s at the back end of our condensed UK summer, England came out with dominant performances and overall series winners, 5-0. Having won 4 from 4 so far by getting runs on the board and squeezing with the ball in hand. They won their last match by chasing down 42 in a rain-affected match, reduced to 5 over aside.
Beaumont at her ball-striking and inventive best in game 1. With a classy and commanding 62 off 49. Heather knight got off to a fantastic start in most games and looked a level above with a wide variety of shots, clear and controlled strengths and tactically very aware. I cannot wait to watch her again. Technically she is incredibly well set up, with good power, and will be pivotal to this team not only with her captaincy and leadership but with runs as the premier batter too.
Nat Sciver has dominated through most matches with destructive batting – especially in game 3 where she scored 82 off 61 balls. With the bat and with the ball she has the ability to be a key performer. She will certainly be a marquee player in driving the change and growth of Women’s cricket in the UK as well as winning matches on the field. She clears the ropes, can control the game and will look to be explosive and skilful throughout her innings. She is a determined and highly competitive character who I'm sure works very hard at her game on and off the training ground.
Amy Jones is yet another example of fine English wicket-keeper batters produced in the UK. She holds her own in the team as an out batter who can go in at the top or play a role in the middle order. She showcased her versatility and talent in game 4. Now having taken over more permanently with the gloves she gives the team great strength in depth. A quick-fire 24 in game one, striking at 150 s/r, and then 55 off 37 with five 4’s and 2 maximum’s in game 4, she again will be a key figure in this team towards the back end of an innings when the pressure is on!
This England team are an exciting group to watch. With Danni Wyatt at the top of the order, who will be aggressive and bold in her approach, then the wisdom and competitiveness of Kathryn Brunt in the lower middle order. Then with the likes of Middlesex homegrown player Sophia Dunkley trying to forge a place in the team as a hard-hitting batter with huge amounts of ability and charisma alongside Sarah Glenn who can be an effective lower or even middle order batter and front line spinner, there seems to be good depth of young talent pushing through.
They follow up their batting with experienced campaigners and talented young guns to keep the pressure on their opponents when its their turn to bowl. There plenty of good reasons to watch this team and follow the highlights. The future is bright for this England team as they try to catch up and surpass the Australian and Indian sides. And unless the superstars in the oppositions team have outstanding games, I can’t help but feel that England will have the hold over their competition, through the volume of talent, seasoned and travelled professionals, and strength in depth for some years to come.