Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Women's #WT20 Group Stages Review

Random thoughts on Shrubsole, South Africa & video highlights...

Anya Shrubsole

They say in football that the table never lies, so let's take a look at the 'Player Points' table from the Women's Cricket Blog Fantasy League:

Anya Shrubsole390
Suzie Bates303
Dane van Niekerk295
Meg Lanning 297
Sarah Coyte260
Mithali Raj 254
Shabnim Ismail245
Natalie Sciver236
Salma Khatun231
Tremayne Smartt230

The points system should be fairly balanced (it was tested against the last WWT20) but this time one name is way out in front - Anya Shrubsole is, as the players themselves say, quite literally on fire. And although England's latest kit revamp may give the impression that everybody is 'quite literally' on fire, I think it might also have something to do with the hard yards we hear she's been putting-in at the gym since she came back from Australia.

South Africa

When I spoke to South African captain Mignon du Preez last Christmas, I suggested it was very early days for this team, and that a realistic target might be to take a shot at the 2017 (or even the 2021?) World Cup? She pretty-much agreed, so getting to a WWT20 semi-final in 2014 - 3 years before they are aiming to peak - is clearly massive, and you could see it on the faces of the players at the end of the New Zealand game.

Prior to the tournament I debated with some people on Twitter about whether the traditional 'Big 4' (England, Australia, New Zealand & India) had now become a 'Big 5' including West Indies? Or whether indeed West Indies had replaced India in a new 'Big 4'? But now it looks like that's a door South Africa are going to be knocking on very, very soon too! Though given they are playing England in their semi-final... not too soon please Minx ;-)

Video Highlights

I'm sure the ICC think they are doing us all a massive favour with their 3 minute highlights, and I guess they are better than nothing... but frankly it's a close call. There is no commentary or sub-titles, the cameras all seem to be at ground level, and the picture quality is terrible. In this day and age, it really isn't good enough for a show-case tournament and someone needs to stand up and say so! Which I guess is my way of standing up and saying so.. for what little that's worth! (Hint: not much!)


  1. It was a fascinating group stage (or seemd to be form what I could glean from live scorecards).
    I think NZ can count themsleves very unlucky to have been in the group with both Australia and SA.
    Similarly England and WI are probably very pleased they didn't have to contend with SA in order to get through to the semi finals.

    As has been observed for a while now India are going backwards seemingly through apathy for their local administrators rather than a lack of player talent.

    As you pointed out some months ago the lack of playing time India gets makes it almost impossible for them to come into tournaments with any kind of form.

    It's almost scandalous that a player like Raj, arguably one of the great sportswomen of her era has her playing time limited due to the indifference of the BCCI.

    Any chance someone could outline the domestic structure of Indian women's cricket? How many games do Raj and co. get a chance to play when they're not playing international cricket and what kind of financial support does the team get?

    I can't help be impressed by Raj's ability to basically never be off form despite massive gaps between her international appearances.

    Just as one example of the disgraceful lack of opportunity provided by the BCCI, compare Natalie Sciver who made her debut in July 2013 and Raj who played in the third ever women's T20I match back in 2006.
    Sciver has played 17 T20I games for England in the last nine months and Raj has played just 45 times fro India in the last eight years.

    A shame that Pakistan and Sri Lanka didn't live up to their improved form over the last year or so.
    It seems judging by the press conferences that the less experienced teams particularly Pakistan had real difficulties with the dewy conditions in the evening. I suppose it should have been obvious they might struggle having played a lot of their cricket over the last year during the daytime in England and Ireland.

    It will be fascinating to see what difference the conditions in Dhaka will have on the performances in the semi finals.

    As usual England look overly reliant on a big performance from the openers particularly remarkable evergreen Edwards and will be hoping Shrubsole, Gunn and Sciver can keep the brutal lower order hitting from SA in check.
    On balance and perhaps against my better judgement I think England will just about edge it purely on experience. Potential for a huge upset here though.

    I'm guessing the Australians greater consistency will be the difference in their semi but this match really is a toss up and the winners of this are the likely champions IMO.

    I think the fantasy league could perhaps have been improved by players scoring points for all their actions and their role being up to the selector.
    You should still have the four bat, four bowl, two allround, one wk limits but have it entirely up to the fantasy selector who fills those roles. So if someone wanted Edwards to only score bowling points or Shrubsole for her batting, on their own head be it.
    A player should be able to choose whether to select Perry for her all-round game or for her batting or bowling alone.
    It would solve the problem of Dottin's bowling for example being irrelevant to the standings in the current league.

    Anyway I'm just bitter that Australia aren't utilising what I thought was my canny selection for sub continental conditions as much as I'd hoped.

    Apologies for the long winded ramble, but I take it as a good sign for women's cricket that there's been so much to talk about.

    1. It *is* good to see Mithali up there... especially when you consider that not only did India play just a handful of games post-WC last year, but Mithali didn't play in many (any???) of them because she spent several months sitting on the BCCI's naughty step!

      Definitely welcome suggestions for improving the fantasy game next time, so thanks for that too - all taken on board.

    2. India played 3 series post wwc 2013.. @ home vs Bangladesh almost immediately after, then@ home vs Sri Lanka in Jan, and away vs Bangladesh just before the WT20.. first two were 3 ODI and 3 T20, last was j just 3 T20.. Mithali and Jhulan were rested for the first, played the other two..

      So in all, not a lot, and Bangladesh wasn't really competitive..

      How does that compare with England?

  2. It would be ironic if England win the WC because T20 is usually about 'bosh' (term borrowed from Danni W) and England have shown very little 'bosh', relying heavily on a stellar bowling performance.

    Evidence to support this claim:-

    Number of 4s = 48 (and Lottie has 21 of these)

    Number of 6s = ZERO !!

    Team RR = 5.58

    Lottie is the only top 7 batsman with a RR > 6

    Those batting between No3 and No7 have scored 154 runs from 196 balls at 4.71 runs per over (although this does rise to 5.23 if one removes the 24 balls that Beaumont took in scoring her 4 runs).

    If England really 'have momentum' (quote Lottie) then perhaps that momentum could be focused in on scoring at nearer 8 an over in the remaining matches.

    1. A salient analysis.

      Unfortunately England's "brand of cricket" is one reason that were I to put on a ruthless marketing hat and consider what would be the "best advert for women's cricket" and what would be "good for the wider game", I'd be hoping for a South Africa vs. West Indies final.

      Those two batting line ups firing on all cylinders could certainly grab the imagination of the wider public and it would show there's more to women's cricket than Australia vs England.

      I think SA vs. WI probably has the best chance of producing a spectacular 150+ playing 150+ final.

      That is of course if both teams play well. The Eng v Aus would likely be a hard fought match of good quality but I think (within reason) spectacle trumps quality, particularly in T20.

    2. Don't forget that SA recently lost to Pakistan, and unlike when England managed that, it wasn't a deliberately weakened team.

      So it is equally plausible that a WI/SA final ends up with SA chasing 150, going for it, and ending-up all-out for something embarrassing.

    3. Absolutely. I know I'm being wildly optimistic.

      I think the biggest question about the semi-final line ups is how SA will cope under the pressure of playing in a big televised match.

      We'll know soon enough.

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  4. In response to a question in the comments, to get some idea of the Indian domestic season, you can look at my preview Ring out the old, ring in the new : Women's Domestic Season Preview
    As well as the one day leg overview..

    In terms of financial support, this post The Other Domestic Title : Women's Cricket Inter Railways Preview might tell you how most Indian cricketers earn a living, financial support from the BCCI is another matter though..


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