It's the morning after the night before and that means just one thing - regrets!
The West Indies surprise win over Australia in their final Super Six match means that they will play the same opposition again on Sunday to see who will be crowned World Champions. My hope is that it is a good game and that Stafanie Taylor and Deandra Dottin can once again perform. My fear is that they will fail and so will West Indies in what is a very important game for women's cricket as a whole. Ironically it was England that showed how to beat the West Indies in their crushing victory in the group stage of the competition. Australia will have learnt their lessons from yesterday's defeat and will be ruthless in their pursuit of yet another world title. I fear for the West Indies.
Meanwhile defending champions England will soon be back on a plane home, having finished third or fourth in a competition they thought they could win. The simple fact is that they were not good enough. The format of this competition rewards consistency, and losing two games out of six shows that England were simply not consistent enough. They lost two games that they should have won. Despite leaving out three key members of the team in the opening game against Sri Lanka they still should have won that game. Poor bowling and poor fielding allowed Sri Lanka to steal it from under their noses. Sri Lanka needed 29 off 3 overs, that is a lot in women's cricket. It was time for England to execute, but they did not. Against Australia the batting line-up failed again not due to fantastic bowling, but poor shot selection. Again a failure to execute.
England will know all this and the majority of this squad will probably be given the summer to try and redeem themselves against Australia, who by then will probably be both T20 and ODI World Champions. England desperately need to find an opening partner for Charlotte Edwards. Coming in to this tournament it seemed that Tammy Beaumont had the role, but her duck in the first warm-up game against South Africa (the first ODI England had played since the July series against India in England) produced a sudden change of heart. In the next warm-up game against New Zealand Heather Knight was given the job, but failed to impress sufficiently to assume the role. And so to the first game of the tournament and Danni Wyatt suddenly found herself back in a role she had fulfilled in 2011, without too much success - her highest score being 37 against South Africa. It was an experiment that failed. I have to say that I liked the look of Amy Jones' batting in the game against Sri Lanka. She is a classical-looking player in the mould of Michael Vaughan and perhaps she deserves a go, if not at the top of the order, then in the middle order, this summer? England need to find some batsmen apart from Sarah Taylor and Edwards who can play big innings on a consistent basis.
England's three stand-out bowlers were Shrubsole, Brunt and Colvin. Laura Marsh looked strangely out of salts throughout the whole tournament, and Arran Brindle and Jenny Gunn bowled too many bad deliveries, which at their pace are punished. Danni Wyatt seemed to be underbowled and Danni Hazell did not get a game despite bowling well at the T20 World Cup and in the warm-up games. As the women's game has progressed batsmen are now much better at dispatching the bad ball (although ironically it was one of the failings of the English batsmen). Accuracy is a key skill which the girls will have to improve on if they are to challenge the world's best batsmen.
As for the tournament as a whole it has been a cracker and the televised games have been watched by millions around the world. They will have enjoyed the cricket, but the umpiring has been woeful. The ICC must insist that world tournaments have world-class umpires. The staging of the tournament has been poor in a country which really only tolerates women's cricket, rather than embraces it. The last-minute decision to move all the games out of the Wankhede Stadium was deplorable, and the necessity to play the Group B games in Cuttack because of threats to the Pakistan team was unfortunate to say the least. No attempt was made locally to get crowds to the games, with little or no publicity for the event. Matters were not helped by the fact that the hosts were knocked out at the group stage of the competition. The ICC are yet to announce where the next World Cup will be held, but one would hope that England might feature prominently on the ICC's shortlist.
The television and radio coverage has generally been good, although the local Star Cricket commentators and presenters seemed out of their depth and out of their comfort zone with the women's game, whereas the BBC's TMS team showed knowledge and genuine enthusiasm. I particularly enjoyed Mark Butcher's laconic style on both radio and tv.
Overall the tournament has been a massive success for the women's game, if not for England. I really do hope that I am wrong about the final, but the very fact that the West Indies are there and England are not is actually good for the game, if a little hard to swallow if you are English. England will be back. They need to get away from the indoor school and the classroom and just play some more cricket. If the weather is kind then it will be an interesting summer.