A look back at the closing stages of the women’s T20 world cup and a photo gallery.
In this post I look at the semi-finals and final of the Women’s World T20 Cup in South Africa.
AUSTRALIA V INDIA
I was at work when this match was played, so my knowledge of it is entirely second/ third hand. Australia won by five runs, and there appear to have been two key moments in the chase – Harmanpreet Kaur being run out due to a failure to ground her bat properly when coming back for a second and a brilliant piece of fielding by Ellyse Perry which saved a seemingly certain boundary.
SOUTH AFRICA V ENGLAND
No South African side, male or female, had ever reached a world cup final in either T20 or ODI cricket. England were unbeaten in the tournament and have plentiful experience of finals. SA posted a very respectable score. Katherine Sciver-Brunt playing her last ICC tournament had a terrible time in the field. After viciously upbraiding several of her team mates for perceived lapses she had a horror time bowling the 20th over, conceding 18 from it, which lifted SA into the 160s. This did not seem to matter when Dunkley and Wyatt made a blazing start to the chase, putting England ahead of the required rate, but the fall of wickets and a quiet spell spanning overs 9-15 inclusive turned the game South Africa’s way, and although England fought back hard in the closing stages South Africa won by six runs and thus claimed a place in the final.
SOUTH AFRICA V AUSTRALIA
With the hosts in the final Newlands was absolutely jam packed. Unsurprisingly both teams picked the same XIs that had won their respective semi-finals. Australia won the toss and batted. SA bowled well, but not quite well enough, and aided by a big final over Australia posted 156 from their 20 overs. SA started slowly and although Laura Wolvaardt (who overtook Natalie Sciver-Brunt to become the tournament’s leading run scorer in the course of her 61 off 48 balls) and Chloe Tryon staged a mid-innings revival that briefly hinted at making a serious challenge for the runs, Australia were just too good. In the end the margin was 19 runs. This was a sixth T20 World Cup for the Australian women, a 13th global trophy in all for them, and the fifth time that Meg Lanning had captained a side to a world cup victory (no one else of either sex has achieved this feat more than twice). South Africa had fought hard, and to the credit of the fans Newlands remained full right to the end even though the result was obvious some way before it was officially confirmed. Much more will be heard of this South African squad in the future, and it took the most dominant cricket team on the planet (either sex) to stop them in their tracks this time round.
A brief look at the four teams in the semi-finals of the Womens Under 19 World Cup, and a substantial photo gallery.
The semi-finalists of the Womens T20 World Cup are now established, as are the timings of their matches. Tomorrow when I shall be at work Australia face India, while on Friday England take on the hosts South Africa. This post looks at the four sides and their passage to the semi-finals.
They came into this tournament as heavy favourites and there is no great reason to alter that assessment. They have disposed of everyone in their path to date. They still have two tough contests ahead of them, but all available evidence suggests that they are thoroughly capable of adding yet more silverware to the best stocked trophy cabinet in international cricket.
England are also unbeaten, and finished their group stage with a flourish (a game I know about only at second hand due to work commitments), beating Pakistan by 114 runs (213-5 plays 99). They should have what it takes to get past South Africa in the semi-final, but unless India produce something beyond anything they have shown thus far in the tournament the women in green and gold will be waiting in the final, and England will need to be at their absolute best and probably have a bit of luck in addition to win that contest. England have been strong in all areas, with their least effective player of the tournament so far being the veteran Katherine Sciver-Brunt whose last ICC tournament this is.
Other than suffering a narrow defeat at England’s hands India did everything right in their group. They should also be buoyed by the recent success of their juniors in the Womens U19 T20 World Cup, the first world cup win by any Indian women’s team, and the upcoming Womens Premier League (female equivalent of the IPL) will act as a spur to ensure that they produce their best on the biggest stage, but they face a mighty obstacle in the semi-finals in the form of the Aussies.
The hosts left ir right to the last gasp to ensure their own qualification. They entered the last match of the group stage, against Bangladesh, needing a win (nothing else – net RR was not an issue) to qualify. South African teams have been known to fail to close out such deals, notably the South African men, who in the last men’s T20 World Cup were in the identical position against even less significant opposition, The Netherlands, and suffered a humiliating defeat and consequent early exit. SA were less impressive than their final winning margin of 10 wickets with 2.1 overs to spare suggests – Bangladesh batted poorly, and failed to capitalize on a number of opportunities they were given in the field. Although sometimes teams who only just sneak in at the last moment end up winning because they are the ones in form I don’t think even the most one-eyed of South Africa fans would dispute that they rank as fourth out of the teams to qualify for the semi-finals.
A look back at the first New Zealand v England test match, a couple of 15-minute city related links and lots of photographs.
The first test of mini-series of two matches between New Zealand and England men’s teams has ended early on the fourth of five scheduled days in a crushing victory for England. This post looks back at the match.
ENGLAND BAT FIRST
England batted first and scored at a very quick rate, so that the regular loss of wickets was not as much of an issue as it might have been. When the ninth England wicket fell at 325, with a bit of time left in the day, Ben Stokes declared in order to get New Zealand in under the lights. Harry Brook had made 89 and Ben Duckett 84.
EARLY WICKETS AND A FIGHTBACK
Anderson, Broad and Robinson proved highly effective in the situation that the England batters and their skipper Stokes had created for them and by the end of day one New Zealand were 37-3. On the second day, largely through Tom Blundell (138), the Kiwis mounted a spirited fightback and ended up only 19 runs in deficit on first innings. Stuart Broad and James Anderson stood on the cusp of yet another piece of history, needing one more to wicket between them to have taken more wickets in test matches in which they played together than any other pair of bowlers.
ENGLAND’S SECOND INNINGS
England scored briskly once again, and avoided losing excessive numbers of wickets to the new ball. On day three Neil Wagner put in a spirited bowling effort for the Kiwis, but half centuries for Root, Brook and Foakes plus aggressive contributions from Stokes and Robinson got England to 374 in their second innings, and at pace that meant that for the second time in the match they got to attack the Kiwis under the lights with the new ball (I reckon even if they hadn’t been all out Stokes would have declared to make sure of this, just as he did in the first innings).
NEW ZEALAND SECOND INNINGS
England were even more devastating under the lights second time round, and the Kiwis ended day three on 63-5 and surely knowing that the writing was on the wall.
In the event, in the very small hours of this morning UK time, while I was asleep, the Kiwis managed to exactly double this score, going down by 267 runs. Anderson finished with 4-18, Broad 4-45. Harry Brook was named Player of the Match for his 143 runs across the two England innings. A full scorecard can be viewed here. The biggest difference between the sides was in how they used the new ball – England, helped by Stokes’ game management that saw them twice get to use it under floodlights, kept things tight and took plenty of wickets, while New Zealand took few wickets with the new ball and got smacked around when trying to use it.
SIDELIGHT: INDIA MEN RETAIN BGT
Meanwhile India men were in action against Australia men in the second match of the Border-Gavaskar trophy series, India having won the first by a huge margin. Going into today Australia looked like they had a real chance to level the series, but a brainless display of batting against Jadeja (7-42) and Ashwin saw them crash from 60-1 to 115 all out, and India were never seriously in danger of failing to chase their target of 114 (yes, the teams were separated by a single run on first innings), getting there with six wickets in hand.
I have lots of photographs to share with you. Most of my photographs are taken within walking distance of my home in King’s Lynn, which links to the subject of 15-minute cities – a vision of providing people with amenities close enough to home not to require a car to visit them, and I have two good links to share on this topic:
A brief look back at yesterday’s cricket and a huge photo gallery, including the first lapwings of 2023.
Yesterday was Subcontinent day in the Womens T20 World Cup. In the first match of the day India were pitted against Pakistan, while in the second Bangladesh took on Sri Lanka.
INDIA V PAKISTAN
Pakistan looked to have done pretty well when they tallied 149 from their 20 overs. The experienced Bismah Maroof scored 68* off 55 balls, while Ayesha Naseem made an aggressive 43* off 25 balls. India were second best for 16 of their allotted 20 overs, but a combination of poor Pakistani bowling and some good batting by them in overs 17,18 and 19 saw them turn things round and win with a whole over to spare.
BANGLADESH V SRI LANKA
Bangladesh made a not terribly impressive 126 from their 20 overs. However, when teenager Marufa Akhter took 3-0 in her first eight balls as an international bowler Sri Lanka were 25-3 and looking shaky. The fourth wicket pair stopped the rot, and upped their tempo once the immediate danger of a collapse had past. In the end, like India earlier in the day they had a whole over to spare when the winning boundary was hit. The unbroken 4th wicket stand was worth 104* and both players had topped 50.
I have a huge gallery to share with you, including the first decent pictures I have managed to get of lapwings in 2023 – this morning at the point where the Nar flows into the Great Ouse.
A look back at yesterday’s final of the Womens U19 T20 World Cup, a passing mention of England Men’s loss to South Africa and lots of photographs.
This post looks back at yesterday’s final of the inaugural World U19 Womens T20 World Cup between England and India.
A DAY IN WHICH LITTLE WENT RIGHT FOR ENGLAND
India U19 Women won the toss and put England in. Liberty Heap fell for a duck very early on, and before the match was much older Grace Scrivens who had had a majestic tournament and Seren Smale were also out. Wickets kept falling, and apart from Ryana Macdonald-Gay, who scored 19, no one really ever looked like scoring runs. England were all out for 68. India bowled very well, and their fielding was absolutely sensational – few senior Indian sides of either sex could matched these youngsters in that department.
England themselves had been exceptional with the ball and in the field all tournament, but not even they could make 68 look a defensible total, and India duly won by seven wickets with almost six overs to spare.
India produced a magnificent performance in this final and England had no answers. However England showed enough in the tournament to suggest that their women’s side can also look forward to a bright future. We will see a lot more of these young women, including in some cases in the inaugural WIPL – Grace Scrivens will surely have a contract there, and maybe also Sophia Smale.
DOUBLE TROUBLE FOR ENGLAND IN SA
England’s senior men’s side were also in action in SA yesterday, playing the second match of three match ODI series, with SA having won the opener. When England posted 341-5 from their 50 overs all looked rosy for them. However, Temba Bavuma scored a rapid century to put SA firmly in contention, and David Miller (58* off 37 balls) controlled the closing stages of the chase, taking SA past the finishing line off the first ball of the 50th over, securing the series for them. Unsurprisingly, given the effect that major landmarks have on people’s minds it was Bavuma who was named Player of the Match for his ton, but Miller’s effort in the closing stages, especially after Markram was out with over 60 still needed, leaving Miller effectively in sole control of the chase from that point on, was every bit as important to SA’s cause as Bavuma’s innings up top.
My usual sign off, bolstered by the fact that weather was pleasant today (still cold, this being January in high northern latitudes, but bright and sunny) meaning that a long walk was a positive pleasure…
A look ahead to the final of the inaugural Women’s U19 T20 World Cup, and as usual some of my photographs.
This post looks ahead to tomorrow’s final of the inaugural Women’s Under 19 T20 World Cup. England and India will be fighting it out.
India did enough to make the semi-finals with some comfort, but in spite of the inclusion of two established senior internationals in Shafali Verma and Richa Ghosh they have not had things all their own way. They beat New Zealand very comfortably in their semi-final, as the latter produced their only poor performance of the tournament at just the wrong time.
England utterly bossed their first round group, and were barely any less convincing winners of their Super Six group. It was a different matter in the semi-final against Australia, as their batting misfired for the only time in the tournament, and they had a mere 99 to defend. However, their bowlers set about repairing the damage in very impressive fashion. At 59-7, and again at 77-8 they seemed to have the match won. The ninth wicket pair added 19, but then, a mere boundary stroke away from the final, Milly Illingworth was run out to make it 96-9. Four balls later Grace Scrivens claimed the final wicket, and England were home by three runs. Hannah Baker was named Player of the Match for taking 3-10 from her four overs.
A BATTLE ROYAL
I expect this contest to go down to the wire, but I think that England’s successful defence of a mere 99 in their semi-final is enough to make them favourites – their batting has failed only that once all tournament, and their bowling has been magnificent throughout, whereas India came into the semi-finals as the least impressive of the four qualifiers. Whatever happens tomorrow England have let the cricketing world know in no uncertain terms that the future of their women’s team is in good hands.
A look at the semi-finalists at the T20 World Cup, my team of the tournament and some photographs.
We now know who will be contesting the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup in the UAE. This post looks at the routes the four teams took to reach the SF stage and names an XI of the tournament.
ENGLAND DOMINANT UNTIL THEIR FINAL GAME
England won their first four games, and did so comfortably, accruing a massive net RR of +3.183 in the process. Their last game was against South Africa, third in the group, yesterday. In yesterday’s first game Australia had comfortably beaten West Indies, which meant they were well placed to qualify. South Africa needed a big win to qualify. South Africa batted first and did the first bit very well indeed, scoring 189-2 from their 20 overs. That left England needing 87 to qualify, 106 to top the group, 131 to eliminate South Africa and 190 to make it five wins from five. England went for the win, and went into the 20th over of their innings with a chance of pulling it off. Liam Livingstone hit the longest six of the tournament along the way, a 112 metre monstrosity of a hit. The first three balls of the 20th killed England’s hopes stone dead, as three successive batters holed out to boundary fielders, giving Rabada one of the more bizarre hat tricks ever seen in top level cricket (Charles Townsend’s 1899 effort for Gloucestershire v Somerset, when all three victims were stumped by keeper WH Brain is also noteworthy in this department). SA emerged victorious by 10 runs, but had not quite done enough, and found themselves knocked out in spite of winning four of their five group games, including beating the group winners (England). Australia went through in second place.
THE OTHER GROUP
The second group comprised India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Scotland and Namibia. This morning and very early afternoon UK time New Zealand took on Afghanistan, with India also having a mathematical chance of qualifying, should Afghanistan win by a small margin and then India beat Namibia tomorrow. In the event, with the exception of Najibullah Zadran (73 off 48 balls), no Afghan batter could get going and they posted a modest 124-8. NZ were never in serious trouble against so modest a target, and got home off the first ball of the 18th, confirming their SF place and India’s elimination. This is a case of cricketing justice being done and seen to be done – NZ had won four of their five matches, and had they lost someone would have been qualifying with three wins out of five when a team in the other group went home with four out of five. Pakistan are just starting their last group match against Scotland, in a bid to be the only team to record a 100% win record at the Super 12 stage. India have been the biggest disappointment of this tournament, succumbing tamely to massive defeats at the hands of Pakistan (ten wickets) and New Zealand (a mere eight wickets, but more time in hand than Pakistan had had). It is possibly also significant that their most commanding batting performance saw skipper Kohli, one the 21st century’s greatest batters, not bat at all. Kohli’s last international century in any format was scored almost exactly two years, and it maybe that an outstanding career is approaching its close.
THOMAS’S TOURNAMENT XI
Before giving more details, my team in batting order:
There were three players contending for two opening slots, and I would not argue with those who went for the proven combination of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, but on any honest reckoning Buttler has been the best opener on show in this tournament, scoring both heavily and very fast.
My choice for number three has really announced himself during this tournament, showing serious talent (anyone who can whip an Anrich Nortje delivery over midwicket for six as he did against SA is a heck of a player).
Aiden Markram has had a superb tournament, and like the rest of his team is entitled to consider himself unlucky to not be still involved. As well as his batting he has been useful with the ball for SA.
Asif Ali is there just in case the team finds itself in a tight finish, in which situation he is a virtual cheat code.
Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva has been one of the stars of the tournament, batting well in the middle order and being devastating with his leg spin.
Chris Woakes has been very important to England’s success in this tournament to date, and it is noteworthy that England’s sole loss saw him have a poor game.
Mark Watt has been for me the Associate Nations Player of the Tournament, taking wickets in every match to date, and generally being very economical. He has also played one crucial innings, when he helped to rescue his side from 56-6 against Bangladesh.
Anrich Nortje has been consistently excellent with the ball, testing all his opponents to the fullest.
Shaheen Shah Afridi has been outstanding with his left arm pace. This place was a toss up between him and Trent Boult, who plays the same role for NZ (Mitchell Starc of Australia has not had his finest tournament) but I have gone for Afridi for his extra pace.
Tabraiz Shamsi is the best bowler of his type in the world, and has managed to enhance an already considerable reputation in the course of this tournament.
Liam Livingstone gets the 12th man slot because he covers lots of bases – he can spin the ball either way and is a ferocious batter.
This team has a stellar top four, a cheat code finisher, two magnificent all rounders of very different types and four wonderfully contrasting specialist bowlers. There are runs aplenty in this line up, and a mouthwatering array of bowling options. I regret not being able to find a place for any of the Aussies, but none has been definitively the best in the tournament in their role.
A look at the T20 World Cup, in which there have been some interesting developments, a gesture of solidarity to the folk of Wisbech, a massive open letter and photographs.
The T20 World Cup in the UAE is developing very interestingly, and this post looks at some of the developments.
ENGLAND DOMINATING THEIR GROUP
England have won all three games they have had so far, and have a huge positive net run rate (+3.694, the biggest in either group). They are in action today against Sri Lanka, and are batting first, which is tricky in the UAE, but as Afghanistan have shown twice this tournament it can be done that way. On Saturday they inflicted a body blow on Australia, winning by eight wickets with exactly 50 balls to spare. South Africa almost came unstuck against Sri Lanka but David Miller rescued them when they needed 15 off the last over to win, and they are well placed to take second spot behind England and with it a semi-final berth.
A 2+ WAY SCRAP FOR SECOND PLACE IN THE OTHER GROUP
Pakistan, with three wins from three, are almost sure to top this group, and they have been mightily impressive. They nearly came unstuck against Afghanistan, but with 24 needed off two overs Asif Ali struck four sixes in the penultimate over, bowled by Karim Janat, to take Pakistan over the line.
Second place in the group just about has three contenders, but the third of them are hanging on by a thread. New Zealand beat India by eight wickets yesterday, with a lot of time to spare, which leaves India winless from two games (they went down by ten wickets against Pakistan in their first game), but with their three theoretically easiest opponents to come. Their net run rate is a disastrous -1.609. NZ have won one game out of two, and the big hurdle for them will be Afghanistan – if they win their remaining games they qualify for sure, but defeat against Afghanistan probably finishes them, since while their net RR is respectable at +0.752, Afghanistan’s is a whopping +3.097, due to the fact that beat Scotland by 130 runs and Namibia by 62 runs. Afghanistan almost certainly qualify if they beat either India or NZ, and even two defeats won’t definitely doom them because if NZ or India come unstuck against one of the minor nations that net RR will come to their rescue. My reading of this group is that NZ are the most likely second place team, Afghanistan second most likely, and India while not out of it are in the last chance saloon with last orders having been called.
BOWLERS MAKING THEIR PRESENCE FELT
There is a good contest brewing between Anrich Nortje (SA) and Haris Rauf (Pakistan) for who can bowl the quickest ball of the tournament – both have been significantly above 150KPH. At the moment Nortje just leads the way on 153.5 KPH (95.5MPH). The next most notable performer among the pacers has been Pakistan left armer Shaheen Shah Afridi who has caused everyone problems.
Afghanistan have two top quality spinners, Rashid Khan (leg spin) and Mujeeb Ur Rahman (off spin), and they left Qais Ahmed behind. South Africa have Tabraiz Shamsi (left arm wrist spin), Sri Lanka have leg spinning all rounder Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva who has done the hat trick during this tournament and the young off spinner Maheesh Theekshana. New Zealand have Ish Sodhi (leg spin) and Mitchell Santner (left arm orthodox) who were each allowed to go at less than five an over by India yesterday.
A T20XI FROM BEFORE THE T20 ERA
I am allowing myself one “given man” – a single player in the XI who has actually played T20. I have allowed myself four overseas players, treating this as a franchise type selection. Following these rules this is what I came up with:
G St A Sobers – left handed batter, left arm bowler of every type known to cricket.
Gilbert Jessop – right handed batter, right arm fast bowler.
Frank Woolley – left handed batter, left arm orthodox spinner.
+Les Ames – right handed batter, wicket keeper.
Clem Hill – left handed batter.
*Tony Greig – right handed batter, right arm medium fast bowler, off spinner.
Alan Davidson – left arm fast medium bowler, left handed batter.
Rashid Khan – leg spinner, right handed batter.
Joel Garner – right arm fast bowler, right handed lower order batter.
Derek Underwood – left arm slow medium bowler, right handed lower order batter.
Alfred Shaw – right arm slow medium bowler, right handed lower order batter.
This XI features a strong batting line up with a good mix of left and right handers (the top seven, who are expected to almost all the scoring feature four left handers – Sobers, Woolley, Hill and Davidson; and three right handers – Jessop (the quickest scorer in the game’s history), Ames (winner of the Lawrence trophy for fastest FC hundred of the season twice in its first three years, sandwiching his Kent team mate Woolley) and Greig. Ames as keeper is top bracket – the “keepers double” of 1,000 FC runs and 100FC dismissals for the season was achieved four times, once by JT Murray of Middlesex and three times by Ames. The bowling has an awesome range of options, with only Ames and Hill not able to contribute in this department.
LINKS AND PHOTOGRAPHS
A few years back we in King’s Lynn fought off plans to plant an incinerator on us. Now, with COP26 just getting under way, another fenland town, Wisbech, is facing the threat of an incinerator. More about this is available here.
Also COP related, there is a massive open letter to presented to the folk at COP26, which you can read and sign here.
A look at the opening exchanges in the England v India test series which got under way at 11:00 today.
The five match test series between England and India is under way, the first match at Trent Bridge having started at 11:00AM. This post looks at early developments.
England’s plans were thrown into confusion when Ben Stokes announced that he would be taking a break from cricket for mental health related reasons. I do not know when or even whether Stokes will return to competitive action – he should take as much time as he needs. However, neither that nor an injury to Ollie Pope excuse England’s actual selection. They have gone hypernegative, selecting only four front line bowlers none of whom is a spinner and none of whom is an out and out speedster. The team they have chosen is Burns, Sibley, Crawley, *Root, Bairstow, Lawrence, +Buttler, S Curran, Robinson, Broad, Anderson. I would have selected Hameed in place of Crawley, with him and Sibley then being in a bat off for who keeps their place in the side when Tom Abell, the man best equipped to bat three for England in this format, is fit again. I would not have selected Bairstow at all, going with Buttler at six and five genuine bowling options. My preferred line up from those available would have been Burns, Sibley, Hameed, *Root, Lawrence, +Buttler, S Curran, Robinson, Wood, Leach, Anderson. I regard the non-selection of Leach as criminal. In 16 test matches he has taken 62 wickets at 29.98 – that is his bowling average is the right side of 30 (only just admittedly) and he takes 3.875 wickets per match, which is around the par mark – most sides have five serious bowling options and to win you need to take 20 wickets, and 20/5 = 4. When then add in leaving out the only genuine speedster available, Wood, you have an attack that has no depth (only four front line options), and very little variety (three right arm fast mediums, all over six feet in height, with the only serious variation Curran’s left arm fast medium – no variation in pace whatsoever).
The side England have named has “picked to avoid defeat” rather than “picked to win” written all over it in bold capitals.
Far fewer problems for the visitors although they somewhat surprisingly left out Ashwin, probably the best finger spinner in the world at the moment. They decided, again on ground of batting strength to rely on Jadeja as their sole spin option, with Thakur at eight and the three specialist quicks, Siraj, Bumrah and Shami at 9, 10 and 11. The alternative once they had decided on four seamers would have been take a chance an Ashwin at seven. While debatable this selection is not definitively wrong as some of England’s are.
THE PLAY SO FAR
England won the toss and chose to bat, the right thing to do on a sunny morning with clouds forecast for later in the match. They were off to a dreadful start when Burns fell in the first over. Sibley and Crawley held out for a while before Crawley was removed for 27. That brought Root to the crease and he and Sibley saw things through to lunch at 61-2. Sibley’s typically patient innings ended just after lunch, for 18,making the score 66-3. Root and Bairstow are still together at 73-3. Root is on 18, while Bairstow has reached two and has survived 15 balls which is quite impressive by his recent test standards. Bairstow has just scored a four off Bumrah to make it 77-3. Bumrah, Shami and Siraj have a wicket a piece.
My usual sign off – the butterflies are out in force at the moment…