Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Womens Ashes 1st T20

Random thoughts after England's #WomensAshes victory -
  • 150 wasn't a bad total - in the entire history of women's T20Is there have only been a couple of occasions when a team has chased more. Australia did their job batting first; but England just did theirs better batting second and made it look easy in the process.
  • Tash Farrant bowled really, really well I thought. She isn't a great "threat" but she maintains a remarkably consistent line and length and is clearly difficult to 'get away'. I couldn't help but feel we could have done with some of her in the ODIs - particularly the 3rd!
  • Sarah Taylor might be one of the best in the world already, but she still continues to develop as a batsman. Her innings in the 2nd and 3rd ODIs were a sign of a more mature approach - she didn't get herself out trying to set off at 90mph. Similarly today - she held back just enough. It was also interesting to see a ramp/scoop - a shot I don't remember her playing before - though it went a little too close to the fielder for my liking!
  • The commentators were asking why Australia didn't deploy Ellyse Perry earlier to try to break the Edwards-Taylor partnership - Charles Dagnall on Twitter called the decision "weird". I guess the plan was to keep Perry in reserve as the best option for bowling the overs at the end where England might need (say) 10-an-over to close-out the innings; but in hindsight...
  • Yet again the double-header format failed to draw much of an early crowd. You can see why the TV companies like it - they can fulfill their moral obligation to televise some women's games, at the very marginal cost of turning the cameras on a couple of hours earlier; but whether it really benefits anyone else is an open question?


  1. I imagine the thinking is that Jenny Gunn provides the ration of tight, accurate bowling for ODIs whilst providing much more batting ability than Farrant (and Sciver and Brindle can chip in with the ball whilst performing as front-line batters), and they want the specialist seamer berths to go to strike bowlers. That didn't go entirely to plan for various reasons, but you can see why Farrant is currently viewed as a T20 option, where wickets are more likely to come from pressure than wonder-bowling.

    Presumably the same sort of thinking was behind the decision to hold back Perry until after the powerplay. I'm not personally convinced of the wisdom of that, but today it was let down as much by the loose bowling of Farrell and Hunter (particularly to Edwards), and the lack of fielding pressure (particularly to Taylor), as it was by its own inherent flaws.

    On that note, it's worth pointing out that if you take out Taylor's four boundaries, she still scored 34 from her other 33 balls, thanks to only facing four dot balls. This is remarkably similar to her innings at Chelmsford last summer, when she scored 53 from 51 balls ignoring boundaries, although that time she had the advantage of batting with Wyatt for the most part, so there were a lot more twos and a lot more dots.

    Whether this is a flaw in the way Australia have set fields to her, or whether they consider it a better choice to leave the field back and bowl for run-outs than to bring it up and hope catches I don't know. Certainly they have been rewarded with a lot of run-out opportunities - Wyatt at Chelmsford, Knight and Taylor in the last two ODIs, and they should have had Taylor today. They've lost a lot of matches on the way though.

  2. The main loser, perhaps the only loser, of the double-header format is the England women's supporter who doesn't want to hang around for the jamboree that is the men's T20 but still has to shell out for it. From a TV company's point view, as you state, it fulfils a purpose and from the cricket authorities point of view it puts the women's game on the box, which is clearly good. Also, some men's supporters may turn up early and realise the women's is a worthy product.
    Chelmsford, of course, last summer, might have been too successful. A full ground. Um. I certainly think a well marketed day/nighter T20 women's only match at a good location (eg good facilities, maybe not normally used for internationals, good sized population) can be a winner.

    Winning in Australia, out of season. Amazing.

  3. I think international double-headers might well be completely past their usefulness in England, although whether the success of Chelmsford can be repeated for a non-Ashes match is an unanswered question. I wonder, though, if Australia has any grounds good enough for internationals other than the state/franchise grounds, which are much too big.

    Anyway, I don't see why it shouldn't be possible at most grounds to seal off one stand for the duration of the women's match and make that available for free/low cost, then turf everyone out in between the two matches. Frankly, the length of time they tend to leave between the womens' and mens' matches they could evacuate the whole stadium in time to let ticket holders back in.

  4. 150 may normally be a good score but on that ground with that outfield I think it was only par. A huge bonus that Australia put England in on a wicket so well suited to chasing especially when England had bowling worries.

    Regardless of that I was hugely impressed with England's performance. I thought they might find it a bit tougher to get that crucial victory in the series but they managed it with admirable composure. There was real pressure on that match as was clear from Edwards' emotions at the end.

    Is that the record highest scoring double header I wonder?
    A combined total of 714 runs.

    The main advantage of double headers is as you say professional standard broadcast (however much a dedicated women's cricket fan may appreciate a two or three camera livestream there's no substitute for the proper camera angles, replays, speedguns, etc) reaching a mainstream audience which is still rare for women's cricket.

    It would be great if the Chelmsford success could become the norm but I'm not sure we're there yet, so however unappealing double headers are to longer term women's cricket fans they probably still do a decent job reaching new fans.
    It's a tough balance and you're never going to please everyone.
    I'm not sure the crowd seen at Chelmsford could be repeated everywhere in England. The Essex support base are generally very good at turning out for the cricket compared with many of the other counties.

    1. D'oh
      That should be "A huge bonus Australia *didn't* put England in"


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