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A Ramble on Women's Cricket
Previous Page : T20 World Cup Matches 2 + 3
Firstly I must apologise for the almost total breakdown in service. Hopefully problems are behind me and so I was able to settle down to watch the rain fall at the Sydney Cricket Ground. It was rather surreal to think that the weather in Australia might settle this contest after what I hear has been some interesting cricket. I have managed to catch up on some of it and have recorded programmes still to watch, although I have discovered that some of them are not complete. Quite why not (I have discovered a recording of the end of a men's match when the schedules offered something else!) is a mystery.
Anyway the weather decided not to settle it - just to make the whole thing more unsatisfactory than I remember any encounter ending in a tournament recently (if we don't count the men's world cup). In one group the winners progress to the final as no semi was played but in the other the second place team make the final because there was a semi. Just a little crazy all round. If you are to allow India to go through then so, by any level of fairness, should South Africa.
Now if you're saying to me, as I suspect many of you are, 'them's the rules' then you'd be right, of course, but I'd ask you to justify a number of things... in the Spirit of Cricket, of course.
1) Why are the two groups treated differently? (You may say they are not looking at the rules but in practice that's what it amounts to).
2) Why is there no reserve day? (Yes, I know the men don't get one either but, as a great aunt of mine was fond of saying 'two wrongs don't make a right')
3) Why do you allow a match to go ahead when it's very problematic that the ground is in a suitable condition? (I know I wasn't there but...)
4) Why do you bother with semis at all if it becomes a lottery at that point? You may as well spin a coin, although I appreciate you wouldn't get as many spectators.
If you must have semis, and I can see the box office logic for having them, then make it fair to all four teams. Although on the box office point I did wonder whether any televised game at the SCG had ever had such a low turn out in the stadium. I have heard what I take to be hype about the number of tickets sold for Melbourne (all cricket Boards do it for reasons I've yet to fathom) but I do have to hope the public get more interested and we don't just get a Katy Perry fan club turn out. I suppose that alone would do the numbers no harm and the joke is around and about, wondering if that Perry (the singing one) has had such an odd second act in her event schedule. For me I'd rather watch Ellyse and that seems doubtful at the moment bearing in mind her hamstring worries..
I do not wish to end this on a 'down' note so I thought I'd list some of MY best moments/performances in this competition to date, and someone will have to go some on Sunday to make me change my mind. Bearing in mind my proviso above that I simply wasn't able (and won't be able) to watch every single ball, these are my thoughts on the best of the World T20 2020.
Best Bowling: Poonam Yadav in her first match of the competition (4-19) against Australia. I would give top seam slot to Shika Pandey with 7 wkts up to the semis.
Best Batting Overall : Nat Sciver with the highest run tally of the tournament.
Best Catch : Laura Wolvaardt diving full length to her right in the covers to take it one-handed.
Best Newcomer (new to me anyway): Shafali Verma a bit hitter and a youngster with a future if she can learn to play the standard cricket shots as well as using the long handle.
Best Keeper: A tricky one as the standard of keeping has been much higher than I anticipated. I have to go with a tie between Jones (England) and Bhatia (India) who have both looked competent throughout with moments of brilliance.
Best Shot: Laura Wolvaardt's drive through extra cover from Nic Carey in the semi-final. Laura moved outside leg stump, Carey tried to follow her, but Wolvaardt played the most glorious drive, straight from the coaching manual. That shot alone was worth the price of admission. When someone on Twitter asked if you could marry a cricket shot I was amused but not surprised. The well-timed hook is an exciting shot, but this drive was a thing of beauty.
Most Inspiring Team : This has to be Thailand. Knowing that you are almost certainly on to a hiding and keeping on smiling takes some doing, and these girls have my complete admiration. They performed well above my expectations (but maybe that's a reflection of my initial ignorance of their abilities).
Sad to Say "Goodbye": to all-rounder Shashikala Siriwardene (SL) who took 7 wkts in her farewell competition in international cricket. I have followed her whenever I've had a chance to watch Sri Lanka play and if anyone has earned the title 'stalwart' it's her. A phenomenal servant to cricket and to her country. I do hope she can find a job coaching or some other role where her practical experience counts!
It's been an interesting competition with the minnows in the tournament doing their reputation no harm and the 'big' sides playing some interesting matches. Who are the 'winners' then? I would say India, in spite of a really disappointing final. They have so many young players in their side, several still in their teens, who have time to grow and will have had invaluable experience. And many seem to forget that they have progressed further in the competition than previously. Who knows what position they'll be in at the end of the next WC. And those Minnows too. Their players have had a taste of the big stage which one hopes would give them a thirst for more. We still arrive back at the age old problem though in that those who have the cash take the prizes. I dread to think what Thailand's budget is for women's cricket back home, but based on their performance this time I also dread to think, as an England supporter, how they might play if their girls had the cash and other support that comes England's way! The results table from this world cup might look very different!
Australia showed what they can do in the final, even if they failed to do that in the round match against the same opponents. But it's who does it in the final that counts, of course. The irony is, of course, that if it had rained all day in the semis then Australia wouldn't even have been there and Katy Perry would have had a far smaller audience. Similarly, the rules might have said top of each group plays in the final - no semis included. I have to say I thought South Africa were robbed. If England were pushed out (and they shouldn't have been!) on a technicality then Australia should have been too. Something really has to be done about the rule books for these big tournaments after the farce we had with England 'winning' the men's world cup recently. I understand moves have already been made to make some changes before the men's T20 WC. Hmm!
One commentator also made the point I have hammered more than once on these pages - women don't need small boundaries. Perry (or was it Healy?) also mentioned on interview that consideration should be given to either doing that or reverting to the 5 fielders outside the ring in the closing stages. I do have to say though, that the 25 yard rather than 30 yard circle still is an appropriate distance.
I have to say I felt very sorry for Ellyse Perry. Her injury will, apparently, take her out of the game for around six months and, according to one source, require surgery to fix. Of all the matches to have to miss, this must be heartbreaking. How she managed to look so cheerful through Final's Day I'll never know. I have to hope also that Bhatia's concussion is short lived - a pretty unpleasant injury, although, once again, you have to say 'thank heaven' for helmets. I wish they'd been invented when I played.
And while I'm on a down note - please increase the distance from the boundary cushion to the advertising - yes - I know I've said it before but it's becoming that when a fielder dives towards the boundary in a valiant effort to stop the ball, I find it hard to watch, waiting for the serious injury that I suspect is not far away.
On the upbeat however, I thought the front foot no-ball seemed to work OK. Sure it puzzled the players once or twice but they'll soon get used to it. It should, theoretically improve the umpiring with one less thing for them to worry about. The standard was a little variable but reasonable overall.
I still do have the pleasure of watching a number of matches fate forced me to miss at the time. So while the competition is already becoming a memory for you, I have, at the time of typing, part of it still to enjoy. Even if I know the results it's still a pleasure to discover who did what and enjoy the Aussie sunshine while it rains outside my lounge...
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