Friday, 5 February 2016

England must win South Africa series 3-0

Australia have kicked off the 2016 installment of ICC Women's Championship ODIs (the last year of this World Cup qualifying tournament) with their current series against India. As you will see from the WCB ODI team Rankings Table below they are head and shoulders above any other side in the world having won 25 of their last 31 ODIs (81%) at the start of the series.

After game one of the India series that became 26/32 with a very comfortable 101 run victory after a rather lacklustre run chase by India in pursuit of Australia's 275/6. And after game two it was 27/33 as the Aussies cruised to another comfortable win, chasing down 252 with six wickets in hand.

Current ICCWC Table (05/02/16)
It leaves India in a huge ODI hole with just 5 points from their 11 ICCWC games. They appear to be heading for the qualifying tournament, although they still have series against Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the West Indies to come.

Australia play their last game of the India series on Sunday, which is when England kick off their series against South Africa with their first ODI (this is the last series in Round 4 of the tournament). Nothing less than a 3-0 series win will do for England. The six points will take them to 15 in total and a more comfortable third place in the table, with series against Pakistan, Sri Lanka and West Indies to come.

England have had two pretty meaningless warm-up games against South Africa Emerging players. If they are the best they have behind the main squad then South Africa have some worries. The South Africa squad has some familiar names in it - Mignon du Preez, Dane van Niekerk, Marizanne Kapp (all have just returned from the WBBL), plus the exciting pace of Shabnim Ismail, who spent just one weekend with the Melbourne Renegades and picked up 3/10 against the Stars (including England's Nat Sciver). Chloe Tryon, Trisha Chetty, Lizelle Lee and Sune Luus make up the bulk of a decent side, which, on paper, looks somewhat short on batting in the ODI format and short on power in the T20 format.

England have a new Head Coach in Mark Robinson, but the team that takes the park on Sunday is likely to have a very familiar look to it for all England fans. Seven of the 15 man squad have spent the past couple of months in the WBBL in Australia - Brunt, Cross, Edwards, Knight, Taylor, Winfield, Wyatt. The other eight are Beaumont, Elwiss, Greenway, Grundy, Gunn, Hazell, Jones, and Shrubsole (Sciver was originally selected but remains in England due to an ankle injury).

The starting 11 may well look like this - Edwards, Winfield, Taylor, Knight, Greenway, Jones, Wyatt, Brunt, Gunn, Grundy, and Shrubsole.

England should be too strong for South Africa in the longer format of the game, but things might be tighter in the T20 format, when you would hope that England will be looking to find the right combinations for the T20 World Cup in India, which starts in March.



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  2. I am not suggesting England are not in bother in fifth place. It is Robbo's first series and he should be allowed a bit of slack. England will win three nil as they are so much better than the Proteas. Martin you are right about the starting line up but England can only beat what is put in front of them.
    Allowing Tammy and Danni to bat means we should thank the SABC.

  3. To me all signs are indicating that this SA vs. Eng series will be a low-scoring one. Both sides have dangerous bowlers (Brunt, Shrubsole for example for England and Kapp and Ismail for example for SA). Both sides tend to get what success they do from skittling out the opposition rather than hitting lots of runs themselves. As opposed to Australia for instance, who seem to be better at setting and chasing down bigger totals.

    The batting form of both sides seems to be a bit suspect. Having said all that I wonder if they'll prove me wrong with 250+ efforts? Less hope so in at least 1 of the matches...The brand of cricket played would probably be best served by SA groundsmen preparing good batting wickets. But, seeing as SA probably have a better chance by skittling England out quickly, I wonder if they won't try and leave plenty in the track for the bowlers.

    In terms of the overall ICCWC, I'm not completely sure I agree that England need to win 3-0. A 2-1 series win would seem good enough to me to get at least fourth. We should be guaranteed at least 12 points total from the SL, Pakistan and WI series, which would then leave us with 25 points, and I'm not sure both NZ and SA will be able to reach that. Those two sides still need to play each other.

    Finally, let's hope the warm-up games haven't lulled us into a false sense of security...

  4. If this was a normal winter I'd be worried about off season blues (such as last winter's dire start in NZ). Despite fodder warm ups I'd suggest we'll have the WNCL and WBBL to thank for a much stronger start in this series. England should win this ODI series 3-0. Hopefully we'll be able to rely on the WNCL and WBBL in future winters for giving our stars real competitive cricket in Nov/Dec/Jan.
    Interesting suggested starting line-up. It looks like your logic is : Grundy beating Hazell to the out-and-out spinner slot (Knight and Wyatt in reserve) and Gunn beating Cross and Elwiss to the 3rd seamer slot. Bit tough on Elwiss and Cross. Beaumont is omitted because there are too many batsmen ahead of her in the pecking order. Overall, its not an XI I'd grumble about.

    1. They went with it. Interesting move to open with Jones. Hope it works.

    2. I remarked when he was appointed that this tour should not be used to judge Robinson because he’ll have had little time to craft the team into the shape he is looking for. Notwithstanding this I think it is promising that he has taken a positive attitude with the ODI batting. He clearly sees the importance of using the power-play as a power-play and has pin-pointed this as a problem that needed addressing; hence change of openers. England have played over 300 ODIs and guess how often an England opener has scored 30+ runs at a rate of greater than 125 ? The answer is a staggering merely twice – both by Edwards (137 off 88 against New Zealand in 2012 and 72 off 55 against Denmark (!!) in 1997). So Amy Jones become only the 2nd England player to achieve this (her 34 off 27 being a scoring rate of 125.92).
      Whether the Winfield and Jones (which happens to be a Hair and Beauty salon in Leicester) combination works remains to be seen but at least its not ‘same old’ and Robinson is putting his slant on things already.

  5. Am I the only one who find the use of 'Robbo' over familiar bearing in mind the early stages of this new coach and player relationship?