A Ramble on Women's Cricket
I have just heard of an article in ProSport Magazine attempting to rank the most marketable sportsmen in the world. Of interest to us may be the person ranked 36 in this list. If I say she plays both cricket and soccer for Australia you won't need telling who it is, but perhaps more surprisingly no man or woman from Australia from any sport whatsoever features in the top 50.
It would seem it's not only this writer who considers her a remarkable young lady! However this level of exposure to the press can have its downside.
Sometimes (if rarely) players just come out and say exactly what I've always felt myself both as a player of yester-year and watcher. I think this comment sums it up nicely.
"I love that it is both a team sport and yet so individual at the same time". Holly Ferling
There are few sports where that is quite as true as cricket.
Well, you can't say this WT20 isn't proving interesting. One way or another there have been no shortage of surprises. Firstly we had the kiwis collapsing out of site in a warm-up game, presumably following the dictum that you may as well get your shocker out of the way in the warm-ups, and now we have Sri Lanka, thanks to what surely would have been a most graceful innings from Chamari Atapattu, conquering their larger northern neighbour.
In the England/New Zealand warm-up Anya Shrubsole (below) proved once again what a destroyer she can be on her day.
Taking 4 wkts for just 10 runs in her 4 overs knocked the stuffing out of New Zealand's batting and it was encouraging to see the newcomer Rebecca Grundy (below) in the wickets.
Then the matches that really count were underway. New Zealand held their nerve to beat their Tasman rivals in a tight game where most players on both sides chipped in. Alyssa Healy found her form with the bat, something that eluded her in England although she had a splendid knock against the England Academy.
Then South Africa met Pakistan. I would have found this game difficult to call and yet South Africa waltzed by the sub-continent team by posting a 160+ score without losing a wicket! Only Nida Dar put up realistic resistance at the required pace and the final margin for South Africa was a cool 44 runs.
England opened their account against the most unpredictable side in the tournament. On their day the West Indies can sparkle better than any side in the world but they can appear lack lustre on others. As it turned out, the world's most dangerous batsman proved she was more than adequate ball in hand. I have to add she is also one of the finest cover fielders I have seen, not something her build would immediately suggest. In essence she has it all!
Her figures of 4-1-12-4 justifiably earned her the Player of the Match Award. The West Indies openers played well. Nat Sciver's 3-18 only found support from the reliable Anya Shrubsole but when England batted the skipper provided almost the sole resistance with a better than a run a ball 44. England's middle order will need to step up if England expect to make the semis.
And then an upset from a team on the rise. Sri Lanka taking a relatively comfortable victory against India with none of the Indian batting line-up able to get going. I would have loved to watch the stylish Atapattu innings and hopefully she'll grace these shores before too long. I can imagine the celebrations were more than a little exuberant as one thing you can't deny about the Sri Lankan players is that they enjoy their cricket.
Tomorrow sees the antipodean sides take on allegedly weaker opponents. With how matches have gone so far you would need to be brave though, in this format of the game, placing any large bets.