Nat Sciver

It would seem awfully poetic to draw a parallel between human eyes (and their significance) and cricketing pictures. But the way they say that eyes are the window to our soul, certain cricketing images are key to unlocking an era, or at least, making a sense of a massive event.

Just the way you cannot understand the true significance of pop culture’s influence on our lives without thinking of an image of Michael Jackson doing the moonwalk, you cannot understand the true significance of Women’s cricket without gazing at a portrait of Rachel-Heyhoe Flint.

Much like real life, whether in atrocity or triumph, cricketing images have left and will continue to leave, lasting impact on our collective conscience.

To understand the true horrors of war, you’ve got to visit any gruesome image of the Nazi atrocities during the Second World War. Likewise, to understand the true depth of cricketing genius at the Test level, watching the image of Brian Lara kissing the Antiguan turf in 2004 after notching up his 400th run would be priceless.

But there could not be a better image that can tellingly serve a reminder about how deeply moving-and heartbreaking- can Cricket actually be than the shot where Katherine Brunt is embracing Nat Sciver in the aftermath of England’s loss to Australia in the ‘22 ODI World final.

In Cricketing parlance, it’s the modern equivalent to Michelangelo’s Pieta, a sobering and acute account of Mother Mary embracing Lord Jesus on her lap.

The almighty had been fallen by trickery and monstrosity only to be comforted by a grieving mother, a significant other.

In some ways, years down the line, when anyone would like to recall the sheer significance of the 2022 Women’s World Cup and just what it meant to England, perhaps Nat Sciver being consoled by teammate and partner, Katherine Brunt would be a befitting image to visit.

It will tell the story of a valiant figure in English cricket that allowed her team to dream long after any practical purpose of doing so had dissipated in thin air.

It will point to an effort of bravery and sheer spirit in the light of daunting challenges that will likely define the true meaning of Women’s cricket.

To most of us, the Women’s World Cup of 2022 will likely be about Australia proving their invincibility, the Proteas eclipsing fears and challenges to make it to the Semis, about Bismah’s notable comeback or about Dottin’s diving catch, Matthews’s brisk hundred, or India’s heartbreak.

But to those who’ll be keen to understand England’s role in the mega campaign, it’ll be about Nat Sciver and her supreme contributions.

Long before April 3’s unforgettable World Cup final, Nat Sciver was up against the same opponent, her team’s tormentor, one she nearly succeeded in drubbing single-handedly. Well, almost.

A question was asked on March 6 to the lanky English all-rounder about what she felt about her own contribution to her team’s cause, to which Sciver bemoaned, “Well, I’m frustrated and not happy at all!”

That’s when staying unbeaten until the end on a 109, Nat Sciver very nearly helped England overcome a difficult 311 set by Australia.

Four weeks down the line, staring at an early collapse with her team needing 357 to defend the crown, Nat Sciver not only upped the ante of effort but increased the statistical output.

For someone who could so easily have been nerved seeing Wyatt and Beaumont depart much too early, the score reading 38 for 2, Nat Sciver held onto an end, repaired an apparent batting collapse and managed to find a way to score a hundred when it likely seemed that England would be bundled out without much fight.

In so doing, the brave right hander stayed put for 37 straight overs, having arrived at the thirty-ninth delivery of England’s inning.

From an England perspective, the end result yielded a 71-run heartbreaking loss, but where Nat Sciver was concerned nothing much changed from the time her team opened its World Cup campaign, to be honest.

Back then she’d scored a defiant hundred. This time too, she scored a hundred that threatened to derail the same opponent she’d initially challenged: the almighty Australia.

Back then, she was losing partners earlier than she’d have liked. This time again, Nat Sciver was done in by what could ideally be described as poor shot selection by her teammates.

In a game defined by glorious uncertainties, England were able to hang on to dear life because they were provided for by a giver of certainty; someone who offered hope when it seemed all was lost.

What they’ll celebrate as they must will be the great Alyssa Healy century, the rock solid opening stand and the final flourish provided by Beth Mooney.

But what you ought to remember and spare a thought for is Nat Sciver, who cracked two centuries, right at par with the player-of-the-tournament Healy, her first coming in England’s moment of crisis and her second, during a moment when the team was amid despair.

From her context, you’d also think of the “what might.”

For instance, why did Sophia Dunkley attempt the sweep off Alana King on the final delivery of the 28th over, when the duo were all set for a big stand?

Why did, for instance, Charlie Dean attempt that slog sweep when 79 were needed off 46, a time where it did seem as though England had an outside chance largely thanks to Nat Sciver?

But the greats glitter in gloom, don’t they? You won’t likely celebrate the significance of the Lotus if you didn’t know it blossomed amid contaminated water?

You won’t really appreciate England’s great fightback if it didn’t see Nat Sciver persisting despite the odds, with her team in decay.

Similarly, you won’t ever seize the significance of the Women’s World Cup without understanding the power of Brunt consoling the uncelebrated hero of the day, the one Meg Lanning was already wary of, the one who gave millions of English fans a reason to not switch off even when little was going their way.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here