ICC U-19 Women's T20 World Cup | England’s tournament so far
Written By: Rosa Simkin
Picture Courtesy: ICC/Getty
The aspirations of this England side have remained clear throughout this tournament, to bring it home and to do it their way. The moves of their opponents have made little difference to the tactics England continues to bring to the table and if it was a game of chess, it’s safe to say it’s well and truly checkmate.
Coming into this tournament, England had an advantage and that was very clear. With a number of professionally contracted players within their setup and many members holding valuable Hundred experience, the contrast to the likes of Indonesia who had never played on grass wickets before this World Cup really does speak volumes. However, despite that advantage, nobody could have predicted how England would approach their games and after 984 runs scored and 43 wickets taken over five games, you may be wondering what has led to this success?
The answer? Simpler than you may think, behind a strong philosophy of success and the adorable team mascot is a well-rounded and well-thought-out England squad, led by a strong head coach, Chris Guest. From the calmness of skipper Grace Scrivens to the safe hands of Maddie Ward, it’s safe to say it has been quite the journey so far.
The Initial Journey (Group Stage)
It all started on Sunday the 15th of January in Potchefstroom as England took on Zimbabwe. It would be the first look at an England U-19 Women’s side in an ICC run tournament and they certainly did not disappoint. England came in with a bang, scoring 199 from their 20 overs, all their batters with a strike rate of 100 or above. The standouts being skipper Grace Scrivens with 45 from 32 balls, Niamh Holland with 59 from 37 balls (also taking the prize of England’s first half-century of the tournament), and Worcestershire’s Charis Pavely scoring 45 from 26 in her quick but exciting cameo. The mountain quickly became too steep for Zimbabwe to climb, being bowled out for a mere 23 runs including four ducks. Was this in the game plan? You may ask. According to captain Grace Scrivens in an interview on No Balls the cricket podcast feat. Kate Cross and Alex Hartley (BBC Sounds) as ridiculous as it may sound, it was indeed. The wickets came from Scrivens herself who took 4, Ellie Anderson, Sophia Smale, and Josie Groves who also shared the spoils.
Heading into their next group-stage game a few days later the question was clear, could England keep up their form against a much more established opposition? Tuesday the 17th of January saw England face Pakistan, yet again in Potchefstroom at the JB Marks Oval. After a good start, England lost the wickets of their openers Liberty Heap and Grace Scrivens in quick succession and the exit of Niamh Holland an over later saw England in a suddenly shaky state. Not if the middle order had anything to say about it! Successful cameos from Thunder’s Seren Smale and Ryana MacDonald-Gay saw England reach 156/7 from their 20 overs and although a seemingly chasable total, a successful bowling performance was all that stood in the way of a second victory and they cinched it! Reducing Pakistan to 103 from 20 and taking 5 wickets. Sophia Smale was again a key face for the young Lionesses taking 2 for 10 from 3 overs.
With the Super Six qualification confirmed from their previous two victories, England had one goal for their final game of the group stage, finishing at the top of the table, and that they did. Similar to their first performance against Zimbabwe, England scored a whopping 183 runs from their 20 overs. Grace Scrivens picked up her first half-century of the tournament to kickstart things for England and a Liberty Heap half-century added to England’s fortunes. Short cameos from Davina Perrin, Seren Smale, and Josie Groves helped England build a firm platform heading into the second innings. What followed for Rwanda was highly unfortunate being bowled out for only 45 runs. England highlighted yet again what a dangerous side they are to face. Davina Perrin was in the wickets this game, taking 2 for 5 from two overs, and her Central Sparks' teammates Hannah Baker and Ellie Anderson joined her. Baker took two and Anderson took one.
Such an impactful end to an already successful campaign just makes you wonder… what can they do as we dive further into the tournament, more specifically the Super Sixes round.
The Super Six
Their victory in Group B saw England placed into Group 2 for The Super Six, along with Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Rwanda, and the West Indies. This round would see them play two games against Ireland and The West Indies, the top two from the group qualifying for the semi-finals on Friday the 27th.
Game one of England’s Super Six campaign saw them take on Ireland in Potchefstroom, a ground England remained to be familiar with. Ireland finished their group stage campaign 3rd in Group C with one win from three against Indonesia. England batted first and the story followed suit of previous games scoring a huge 207 runs from their 20 overs, losing only two wickets. Grace Scrivens led from the front, coming so near to a century scoring 93 from 56 balls. Liberty Heap's strong-minded batting approach saw her reach an impressive forty-two runs before getting bowled and 34 from Holland as well as 30 from Seren Smale boosted England’s already impressive total. Needing 208 runs to win from their 20 overs, Ireland came out to bat and poor running between the wickets was the downfall for their openers Gough and Loughran. A theme of single figures saw England bowl Ireland out for 86 runs, starting their Super Six campaign in style. 3 each from Sophia Smale and Hannah Baker showed spin to be a powerful weapon in this game as well as the high-quality fielding displayed by all involved.
The West Indies became England’s last opponents and with a place already secured in the semi-final, pride was the main prize available for both sides. Despite the West Indies' best efforts, the tale remained the same with England scoring another huge total of 179 runs. Grace Scrivens continued her fine form at the top of the order, scoring 56 runs from 43 balls and a highly explosive cameo from Charis Pavely saw her score 29 from 16, including five 4s. The second innings was well and truly The Anderson Tales as the pace bowler took 5 wickets from 4 overs with an economy of three. Wickets from Alexa Stonehouse and Sophia Smale also helped to slow the West Indies and eventually reduced them to 84 runs from their twenty.
Will the trophy be heading to England?
Heading into their semi-final game against Australia, England really does look unbeatable. Their well-rounded bowling attack can work around all conditions and their short tail gives them huge benefits when it comes to the batting side of things. Having already proven their worth in the group stages, the pressure remains minimal. If this side continues to play the game they have demonstrated throughout this tournament, I truly believe they will be bringing the trophy back home to England!