Women’s Sport: England fail to qualify for Tri-Nations final after defeat to Australia

CRICKET-AUS-ENG

England succumbed to a 16 run-defeat against hosts Australia today, in their final group game of the T20 Tri-Nations series.

The defeat has eliminated England from the competition on net-run rate, despite winning the same number of matches as Australia and India and beating both sides once. 

Just two days after defeating India, and less than a week since they beat the Aussies in their own backyard, England fell short in all-too-familiar circumstances, squandering the initiative and ruing reckless shot choices.

The tourists won the toss and put Australia into bat. For the most part, they restricted Australia’s most devastating hitters, Perry, Lanning and Healy all dismissed cheaply by Ecclestone, Glenn and Brunt respectively. In total, Australia posted just 132/7 from their 20 overs, with only Heather Knight and the uncharacteristically expensive Anya Shrubsole finishing above six an over.

In response, the job seemed fairly routine. Try and win of course, but just make sure you reach the 125 needed to surpass the Indians on net run-rate. The batting line-up on paper was a good one for England. Lauren Winfield was deployed as a specialist batsman at eight, yet despite her late hitting alongside Katherine Brunt, England never really looked like getting going.

Both openers fell cheaply to Tayla Vlaeminck who finished with 2-18 and only Sciver and Brunt scored at more than a run a ball. England actually succeeded in keeping the world’s best player Ellyse Perry quiet but was left to regret some unnecessary shot choices in the circumstances, finishing on 116/8 some eight runs shy of the total needed to secure qualification.

These batting frailties have plagued England for some time and it is these consistent collapses that appear to be a common theme amongst English cricket, both men and women. During last year’s Ashes, only one English player- Nat Sciver managed above 200 runs in the series. Australia in comparison had five.

Lisa Keightley has been commended for the most part, since she took over as England coach, helping the likes of Danni Wyatt regain form and giving the youth of Sarah Glenn and Sophie Ecclestone consistent runs in the side. Yet, today proved that perhaps Keightley’s tactics are not as indisputable as some have been saying. 

Australia v England - Women's T20 Tri-Series Game 6

What needs to change for England then? For a start, Keightley must consider her batting order. Tammy Beaumont has been deployed at six throughout this series, yet Beaumont- despite her lacklustre run of form in recent times, has found the majority of her success at the top of the order. Two years ago she scored hundreds for fun, now she barely has the overs to make 50.

Yes there may be other problems other than the order and yes England, in theory, have not been outclassed in this series by any means, but England cannot afford to sweep these losses under the carpet.

With less than two weeks until the World Cup, England’s next warm-up game is not till the 16th against New Zealand in Adelaide. Which England will turn up on that day though, still remains to be seen...

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