Well another World Cup has been and
gone. Sadly (for me) much of it had to be watched on the TV but it was
great to be able to follow at least some of the games.
I have watched four World
Cup Finals now - three at the ground and this latest one on the TV.
Against all statistical odds Australia has featured in only one of
those in 2005, and I have some controversial thoughts about that final
to this day.
This World Cup has
certainly provided some excitement. Having predicted it could be the
most open competition ever, I began to wonder when, apart from
England's loss to India, most matches were following the form-book.
Those thoughts rather did an injustice to India who proceeded to beat
those above them in the pecking order and came close, so close, to
taking the final from England. Apart from one inspired spell by Anya Shrubsole the Cup was, from England's point of view, gone.
Anya Shrubsole in
Characteristic Pose during the Semi-Final Match against South Africa.
However the later stages were to
prove the best yet - at least during the time I have been following
this sport. South Africe came so close to denying England a spot in
the final and India in the form of Harmanpreet Kaur, showed Australia
the door. Her knock of 171* off 115 balls must rate as one of the
top white ball innings - maybe the best - that I have witnessed. I
would love to have been there.
There are some remarkable stats relating
to this knock. Kaur brought up her 100 in 90 balls. More than a
run-a-ball century so nothing to complain of there in terms of the
scoring rate. I would guess that most ODI hundreds don't achieve a 100
Strike Rate. However, this almost pales into insignificance when you
look at the number with regard to the 71 further runs. They were made
in 25 balls at a rate in other words of 2.84 per ball or a Strike Rate
of 284! If you weren't lucky enough to watch this innings then I can
also tell you she was struggling with an injury during this later
period. Her overall Strike Rate for the innings was 149. Having seen
her bat in the innings against Australia in 2011 at which the
following picture was taken, I always suspected something special was
on the cards one day and she perhaps chose the right day to play the
knock of her career.
Harmanpreet kaur Takes a
Liking to the Australian Bowling on a Previous Occasion in 2011
After what must surely be the best World Cup ever, it
is sad to see some very unsavoury happenings in Pakistan. Now we all
know they lost all their seven matches in this tournament but what is
so surprising about that? The ICC rankings alone should have told
anyone with an ounce of... well you know what... that either Sri Lanka
or Pakistan might finish up with this unfortunate state of affairs.
True it wasn't written in the stars but there was always a chance one
team would suffer this fate. But who's to blame? The captain? The
coach? Both? Neither? Is anyone?
However it would seem one of those individuals is
anxious to blame someone else.
An Open Letter from Sana Mir
[As a response to this Report]
So let me have my two-penny-worth. Firstly Pakistan lost their number one
batsman - no, not an opener - the player who is undoubtedly their best
batsman, Bismah Maroof. She departed back home with a major hand injury. It
was a big loss to Pakistan.
Next, as mentioned, you are very much the under-dogs before a ball is
bowled. However you do have an experienced captain who has led Pakistan for
some years and, unlike the coach, kept her nerve in 'big' games before. In
the first couple of games one player remained seated in a bib beyond the
boundary. The minute she was introduce, apparently at the captain's behest,
Diana Baig made an impression, not least in the field where her abilities
looked, in general anyway, a cut above. Taking Sane Mir's words at face
value, and I see no reason not to, she had wanted Baig in the line-up from
the off but the coach felt otherwise. It's not difficult to see who made the
correct decision there. Poor captaincy? I don't think so.
It's also impossible to blame Mir for her own personal performance.
153 runs at an average of 30.60, and took 6 wickets.
Reading the newspaper accounts and San Mir's Open Letter I don't think any
regular follower of the sport will know which side of the argument they
should come down on.
If there is blame to apportion for Pakistan's performance then it lies at
the feet of the members of the PCB. Poor support for the team, in particular
the lack of a good domestic structure is the reason the Pakistan girls had
little chance against sides like England, Australia, South Africa etc, where
the Boards take their responsibilities to the women's game at least a little
On a more uplifting note, the ICC released a "Team of the Tournament"
Tamsin Beaumont (England) – 410 runs
Laura Wolvaardt (South Africa) – 324 runs
Mithali Raj (captain) (India) – 409 runs
Ellyse Perry (Australia) – 404 runs and 9
Sarah Taylor (wicketkeeper) (England) – 396 runs, 4
catches and 2 stumpings
Harmanpreet Kaur (India) – 359 runs and 5
Deepti Sharma (India) – 216 runs and 12 wickets
Marizanne Kapp (South Africa) – 13 wickets
Dane van Niekerk (South Africa) – 99 runs and 15 wickets
Anya Shrubsole (England) – 12 wickets
Alex Hartley (England) – 10 wickets
Natalie Sciver (12th) (England) – 369 runs and 7
Additionally Tamsin Beaumont was named
"Player of the Tournament"
I wonder how many of us, if asked to choose this team prior to the
event, would have included only one Australian but no less than three
South Africans. England are honoured with four
inclusions plus the 12th. All these choices are, of course, arbitrary,
but there will be quite a few names here I am sure would have been on
Coming Up Shortly: The Kia Super League 2017