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England v West Indies 3rd T20 – Closer but colder

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The West Indies are getting closer – after going down by 47 runs twice, they failed by only 20 third time round. They deserve congratulation, because the weather demanded water-bottles and hand-warmers, reminding us of the snow storm that overtook the Scotland-England rugby match in Edinburgh last February.

England were indebted to Nat Sciver for her personal best of 82 that dragged their effort past 150. Shamilia Connell dismissed openers Tammy Beaumont and Danni Wyatt inside the first three overs in a demanding spell.

Heather Knight (29) righted the ship with Sciver in a stand of 59. Then Sciver really let loose, adding a further 63 with Fran Wilson (16). All the batters bar Beaumont scored at a run a ball or better, but the top order still isn’t firing consistently. Too often a premeditated shot proved unwise. But unlike the visitors, the lower order can all be relied on for useful runs.
The West Indians followed advice coming from all corners and adjusted their batting order, but once more it proved too fragile to withstand the home attack. Lee Ann Kirby, Shemaine Campbelle and Chedean Nation, all pushed up the order in front of Stephanie Taylor, mustered eleven runs between them. They had to rely on Deandra Dottin once more to provide the bulk of their runs (62). The captain and Chinelle Henry remained not out at the end, but too many dot balls had preceded them.

It was no sort of a day for bowlers, but Sarah Glenn – perhaps with the advantage of coming from Heanor, a mere eight miles away – again took the eye with her well controlled leggers.

A Coaching Mystery

Is Lisa Keightley really English?

For the third time running England paraded an unchanged side. So Plan A was presumably to ensure the safe capture of the series before any sort of enterprising risk was taken.

Thoroughly English, and quite unlike any recognisable Australian approach to team selection.
And the player with the least onfield experience, Mady Villiers, was granted a single over to accompany her highly promising 3-0-10-2 last time out. She suffered a dropped catch in that over.

So we can’t be absolutely sure that any of the non-combatants, Freya Davies, Kate Cross, Katie George, Lauren Winfield-Hill and Sophia Dunkley, will see a shot fired in anger. The answer will come on Monday, when the guests will surely hope for a rise in the temperature, as well as a boost to their batting power. A series of five T20 internationals spread over ten days is a tough call, and the visitors were locked in their Derby bubble a fortnight before battle commenced.

Scores:

England 154-6
West Indies 134-5
England won by 20 runs
They lead 3-0

Teams:

England:

Heather Knight (captain), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Sophie Ecclestone, Sarah Glenn, Amy Jones (wk), Nat Sciver, Anya Shrubsole, Mady Villiers, Fran Wilson and Danni Wyatt.

West Indies:

Stafanie Taylor (captain), Afy Fletcher, Hayley Matthews, Shemaine Campbelle, Chedean Nation, Shamilia Connell, Chinelle Henry, Deandra Dottin, Lee Ann Kirby, Shenate Grimmond and Shakera Selman.

Some Background

The BBC was allowed to broadcast live cricket for the first time since 1993. The current England team mentioned their excitement at knowing this third T20 match would be seen by a much wider audience.

I am one of very few people who believe the ECB and its forbears made a grave error in giving broadcasting rights to Sky. Their argument has been loud and clear: without Sky’s generosity the game would have died.

An alternative view would be: the game has nearly died anyway, so far as larger swathes of the world’s population are concerned. Certainly in the UK cricket has been forced into an increasingly invisible position in the nation’s heart. Would the Hundred be seen as cricket’s only saviour if the game had remained common currency via a Public Service Broadcaster (the BBC) over the past thirty years?

Why else does the ECB offer potted bios of leading England women’s players containing ‘her favourite football team is…’? Completely irrelevant to all who love the game of cricket.

Pay-TV means smaller audiences.

Exposure on a PSB means far more youngsters seeing the game in close-up and being intrigued by it. In its absence, you wonder how many English cricketers could be named or identified by the average child in the street. If they ran their eye down the team lists of current first-class counties, how many names would they recognise? The fingers of one hand might well suffice. The women’s game has needed such coverage even more. It is strange that it has taken the gravity of a pandemic for this change to take place.

I belong to a rare breed. The first time I saw a television set working was also the first time I watched a cricket match. It happened to be the fifth Ashes test at the Oval – of 1948. Ray Lindwall ran through the English batting line-up, leaving (Sir) Len Hutton as the last wicket to fall – pre-lunch on the first day – for 30. England made 52.

Test cricket remained with the BBC for over four decades till Lord’s came to a momentous decision. Since then the visibility of cricket has declined alarmingly.

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