Tuesday, 9 October 2018

WWT20 favourites Australia name their squad

Three times WWT20 winners Australia have added two players to the squad that demolished the Kiwis 3-0 in their recent T20 series to make up their WWT20 squad. Joining the 13 players (only 11 of whom actually played in the series) are spinner Jess Jonassen, assuming she is fit after having minor knee surgery in September, and left-handed opener Nicole Bolton.

The full squad for the WWT20 is :-
Meg Lanning, Nicole Bolton, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Warehem.

There is no place for Aussie contracted leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington, whose role has been taken by Georgia Wareham, and previously tried seamers Lauren Cheatle, Tahlia McGrath and Belinda Vakarewa are all overlooked in favour of the untested, and largely unproven, 19 year old quick Tayla Vlaeminck.

The Aussie starting XI looks pretty clear with the fire power of Healy, Mooney, Gardner and Villani up front, followed by the tactical nous of Lanning, Haynes and Perry for those tricky situations, and Kimmince and Molineux no mugs with the bat at 8 & 9. 10 and jack, Schutt and Wareham, will be hoping they never even need to get their pads out of their kit bags. If Jonassen is fit then she may step in for Molineux, although 20 year old Molineux may already have taken the left-arm spinner's mantle from her 25 year old compatriot, whose numbers in India in March were not that great. Bolton looks like cover for the currently out of sorts Mooney, who has struggled slightly with the bat of late, after her scintillating ton against England in the Ashes at the back end of 2017. I think Mooney will get the nod to start in the first group games against Pakistan and Ireland, with the Aussies hoping she can rack up some runs and get her mojo back before they take on New Zealand and India, in what should be tougher games.

With the top two in Group B going through to the semi-finals it is difficult to see the Aussies not waltzing into the play-off stages of the competition, which will be held in the Sir Vivian Richards' Stadium in Antigua. Conditions there may be very different to the Province Stadium in Guyana, where all the Group B games are being played. Four warm-up games at the Sir Vivian Richards' Stadium on 3rd and 4th November, including England v Australia, and five at the Province Stadium between 4th and 7th November will be good indicators of the type of pitches the girls can expect to face.

Whoever Australia meet in the semi-finals, which is likely to be one of England, West Indies or South Africa, they will back themselves to power on to the final two days later and then bring home the trophy for the fourth time in the six times it has been held. Only England and the West Indies (the current holders) have managed to prevent the Aussies from winning it more times. They will have their work cut out to try and do it again.

MD
09/X/18

Thursday, 4 October 2018

England spring surprises in their WWT20 Squad

England have named three uncapped players in their 15 player squad for the Women's World T20 Trophy which starts on 8th November in the West Indies. Loughborough Lightning duo Linsey Smith, 23, and former Scotland player Kirstie Gordon, 20, are joined in the squad by Surrey Stars player 20 year old Sophia Dunkley.

Left-arm spinner Gordon finished top wicket-taker with 17 wickets in this year's extended KSL, and former left-arm seamer, turned spinner, Smith, picked up 11 wickets, as the Lightning finished top of the table only to be beaten by Surrey Stars in the final. Despite both being left-arm spinners they have a very different style, with Gordon giving the ball plenty of air compared with Smith, who tends to fire the ball in at leg stump. As a result Smith quite frequently bowled in the powerplay for Lightning, whilst Gordon bowled only one of her 35 overs in the first six.

Dunkley made an enterprising 92 in a T20 warm-up game against the New Zealand tourists in back in June, but was not selected for the full England T20 squad that played both the Kiwis and South Africa later that month. She subsequently had a quiet KSL scoring just 98 runs in 10 innings, which included 66 in the Stars' opening match of their campaign against the Vipers, but had obviously shown enough to England Head Coach Mark Robinson to get the nod.

The full squad is :-
Heather Knight, Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Tash Farrant, Kirstie Gordon, Jenny Gunn, Danni Hazell, Amy Jones, Nat Sciver, Linsey Smith, Anya Shrubsole, Lauren Winfield and Dani Wyatt

Smith and Gordon will be competing for a place in the starting XI with another left-arm spinner in Sophie Ecclestone, whilst the right-arm off-spin variation comes through Danni Hazell.

Dunkley will be competing with Lauren Winfield for a place in England's middle order, but may be called into action if any of the top order batsmen should be injured or lose their form during the competition.

Missing out on the trip to the West Indies are six fully contracted players in Kate Cross, Georgia Elwiss, Alex Hartley, Beth Langston, Laura Marsh and Fran Wilson, plus Sarah Taylor who was declared unfit for the tournament a week ago. Also missing out are rookies Alice Davidson-Richards, Freya Davies and Katie George.

England are in Group A in St Lucia where they will play Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa and West Indies. The top two teams from that group will make it through to the semi-finals in Antigua on 22nd November. The final is at the same ground two days later.

Martin Davies
04/X/18