The resumption of women’s cricket produced a cracker of a series between hosts England and the Windies, with Heather Knight’s unit making light work of a side that hasn’t really come to terms with absorbing the huge English challenge of late.
Not that what followed over the course of 5 keenly-watched T20Is brought the Windies Women any respite, England completing another whitewash over the visitors, having done the same over a year ago, albeit in ODIs, in January 2019.
Prior to setting foot in England, the Windies women last played the mighty English ladies in the T20 World Cup held earlier this year in Australia. But even then the outcome of that contest went in England’s favor, Stafanie’s girls falling short of England’s 147 by 46 runs in a group encounter at Sydney.
Only goes to show why knocking off England or at least, finding a way at making the series competitive would’ve been the Windies Women’s highest priority. But in front of a cracking bowling attack featuring some of the finest medium pacers, and as seen in the just-concluded T20s, there was no way that England were going to come any easy for a largely clueless West Indies.
Yet, what moments stood apart and formed the key turning points of a series that yet again asserted England’s might in the T20 format?
Collecting no fewer than 7 wickets from the series, the most by any spinner from either side, Sarah Glenn, who prior to this series, had played only 10 T20Is truly came into her own.
Leaving no room for expression for the batters, the 21-year-old wily leg-spinner tightened the noose around the West Indians, as a result, England enjoyed the upper-hand throughout the series.
Where Sarah Glenn was concerned, the Windies women had no easy day in the field with the bat, the leg-break bowler expertly weaving a web of trouble in which even the best Windies batters fell helplessly.
Taking wickets in every single game she was a part of, barring the final truncated T20 where she didn’t get to bowl, dot balls and more dot balls became the norm whenever Glenn was spotted with the white ball.
Thanks to an exhibition of brilliant consistency with the ball this series, the up and coming English youngster also achieved her career-best T20I rankings, jumping onto the ninth position on the table, thus breaking into the top ten for the first time in her growing career.
What can England unfurl next on any challenger? Another full-blown bowling attack, with the trio of Ecclestone, Villiers, and Glenn spinning it with full might? One reckons, there’s nothing else than the English fan would want, right?
Weak Windies batting
On their part, the Windies women would have certainly liked to bat a lot better than they did with the top order and middle orders failing to put runs on the board regularly.
Moreover, regardless of the format, the role of a strong opening pair is vital to take a side to a flyer, something that becomes an even more important requirement in the sport’s shortest format.
Just the kind of weakness West Indies showed with the usually flowing Hayley Matthews registering a painfully poor series with the bat, wherein the Bajan was only able to record the highest score of 21, that too, when she wasn’t sent to open, her usual spot.
Moreover, with the likes of Shemaine Campbell and Lee Ann Kirby failing to come to terms with England’s all-round attack further dented West Indies’ game with the bat in particular.
Can it ever be a pleasing sight for any batter on an international side to register single-digit scores in all contests of a series at the highest level? One wonders, what would a Lee-Ann Kirby, with a strike-rate of 78 in T20 cricket have to say about her performance with the bat, with scores like 4, 3, 1, and 7?
The usually watchful Shemaine Campbell, who’s known to hang around and help build stands even in the shorter forms of the game failed to contribute in a series that largely, at the expanse of Windies batters’ shortcomings, became a one-sided affair.
England pulling all the right punches with bat and ball
A team that didn’t long to make its intentions clear with the bat, England who registered 150+ totals in all T20Is but the rain-affected final contest, set the perfect tone to the series by putting together 163 in the first game at Derby.
Boosted by strong top and middle order performances by its batters, Beaumont’s 62 in the opening contest followed by knocks like Sciver’s 82 in the 3rd T20I asserted the power of the English willow against an attack that never really looked that threatening.
On their part, the Windies bowling came good only in patches and failed to take shape, with Shamilia Connell’s 3 for 14 in the final game emerging as the only key takeaway for an attack that perhaps missed the services of an Anisa Mohammed.
While someone like Haley Matthews picked wickets regularly in the series, even if at not at the most economical rates, the bowlers, on a whole, failed to deliver as a unit, lacking the consistency of rhythm, just the kind of advantage England reaped great benefits with perhaps also because of the familiarity of home conditions.
Even the slimmest team total posted by England, at 151, with the possible exception of the final rain-affected contest, exposed the vulnerabilities of a Windies bowling attack that lacked the x-factor if you like.
With great power comes great responsibility, it is asserted. But in the recent series, Deandra Dottin showed the way to combine batting responsibly whilst not compromising on great power, the famous sight associated with the Barbadian’s batting.
The only West Indian woman to register two T20I centuries, the biggest positive for the losing side, apart from their captain notching up 3,000 T20 international runs, was the form of experienced figurehead: Deandra Dottin.
Truthfully speaking, all thanks to faulty batting that lacked application and also the grit to challenge sides like England, it did seem for the better part of the series, that England were up against Deandra Dottin and not West Indies on the whole.
Striking to fierce half-centuries, Dottin thudded memorable knocks like her 63 and 69, emerging the valiant batter for a team that just didn’t find a way to support its big hitmaker.
Taking both spinners and medium pacers with rich aplomb, Dottin collected 185 runs in the 5-match series, the most by any West Indian.
Only captain Stafanie Taylor was able to muster up a resistance, if only to an extent against an aggressive English attack. Knowing her zest for consistency, she’d be disappointed having only collected 78 from five opportunities. But that she notched up 3000 T20I runs in the process of tackling England bowlers, which is a huge landmark should offer some respite against a largely painful backdrop of having been defeated 5-nil.