The Ashes are gone and the first thing to say is that the Beth Mooney's innings deserved to be a game winner and, perhaps, an Ashes winner too. She batted like a woman possessed, striking the ball very cleanly. I have to admit I have always been a fan, having seen her play for Yorkshire in county cricket here in England back in 2015. Her timing and her ability to play in the V were a joy to watch. I only say "perhaps" as I'm not sure of the true merit of T20 cricket as a deciding format for an Ashes Series, or indeed any other multi-format series. T20 cricket is just too hit and miss. But it satisfies the needs of those that seem to need instant gratification and it keeps the television producers and the cricket boards happy, so it ain't gunna change any time soon.
England have really not had the rub of the green with some of the umpiring decisions in this series. Heather Knight's dismissal tonight was the third time she has been on the wrong end of a poor decision. This time by the third umpire! Wicketkeeper Healy's gloves were fractionally in front of the stumps before Knight hit the ball, and therefore the correct call was a no ball. Instead she was given out. England were further hampered in setting any sort of decent total when Sarah Taylor was given out lbw after the ball had struck her thigh pad. It was clearly too high, but there was no review.
The fact that England then made it to 132/9, having been 16/4 in the fifth over, will have pleased coach Mark Robinson. Danni Wyatt's first ever 50 in her 124th game for England, shows a degree of belief in her abilities, which is perhaps hard to fathom. Perhaps finally Robinson is the man to get the best out of her?Personally I'd like to see her open in the next two T20s, rather than Heather Knight, who looks far more comfortable down the order. Wyatt could be England's Alyssa Healy. What have England got to lose? At the moment they do not have the right combination at the top of the order. I know Wyatt has had her chances to open before and blown those chances, but she deserves another go, perhaps with a bit more guidance and support from the sidelines.
As for Katherine Brunt she is not a first ten overs bat. Her technique and temperament does not merit her being that high. It seems the more that is expected of her as a bat, the less she is able to perform. Free her from expectation and she does not try so hard, and then she succeeds. I think she should bat at 7, and be elevated only if quick runs are needed late in the innings. As for her bowling she has taken just four wickets in three ODIs, a Test and now one T20. England will have to decide if she is still the force that she once was, and the opening bowler they need for the WWT20 in the Windies in just 12 months time.
Somehow England also need to find a space for Elwiss in the next two T20s too, and realistically that has to be at the expense of Jenny Gunn. Again looking forward England need to decide if Gunn is part of the squad for that WWT20 next year. It is a moot point.
England will be disappointed, but it was in the 50 over format where they should have racked up some points. They are better than the Aussies in this format. Despite no real warm-up games due to the weather, they should have won the first ODI, and taken a 4-2 lead into the Test, and then a 6-4 lead into the three T20s. It was not to be, but it should not take the gloss off what has been a very rewarding 2017 for England.
The challenge now is to have an equally rewarding 2018!!