The English Women’s Cricket Team Is Just One Game Shy from World Cup 2017

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The English women’s cricket team has finally clinched the fifth and final ODI in West Indies to clinch the series at 3-2. In the fifth one day, the tourists played some dominant cricket. Some of the English bowlers bowled amazingly. Alex Hartley’s 4-24 and Katherine Brunt’s 3-35 superb performance helped the English team to restrict the hosts to a meagre 155. West Indies skipper Stafanie Taylor’s gallant knock of 57 could not save her side.

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When the English team batted they initially looked tensed at 56 with two wickets down. However, Nat Sciver’s invaluable 58 (unbeaten) helped the visitors to reach their target with 67 balls to spare. After this fifth ODI victory, the English women’s cricket team is just one game shy from World Cup qualification. Experts feel that this qualification would be achieved when the English teams tour Sri Lanka in November. There they will play three matches in the ICC Women’s Championships.

This victory in the Caribbean happens to be the first victory for Heather Knight as a skipper in an overseas tour. Heather Knight after securing an ODI series win has also come to a step closer to securing a place in Women’s World Cup in 2017 which will be played on their home turf. This performance by the English team is even more creditable because the team had inflicted a series defeat on the current Twenty20 champions without its experienced wicketkeeper Sarah Taylor (who is out of the game to deal with an anxiety problem) and also pace bowler (Anya Shrubsole) who is down with an injury.

The English victory was commendable because they played their game without being troubled by the hot and humid conditions and also the spin-friendly surfaces in the West Indies. These conditions in the West Indies were extremely difficult for run making. Hence the toss became a crucial factor in the game. It’s interesting to note that all the earlier four ODIs were won by the side who had batted first.

In the fifth ODI, the tourists had to field first. The later sunshine in the afternoon made batting easier. The English bowlers had made sure that the run chase would be manageable. Soon after Brunt and Georgia Elwiss claimed the wickets of Shaquana Quintyne and Hayley Matthews respectively, spinners Hartley and Laura Marsh made short work of the middle order of the hosts. Hartley’s superb bowling forced the West Indians players Deandra Dottin, Merissa Aguilleira and Shemaine Campbelle to play poor shots. However, the West Indian captain did try to consolidate the innings with a half-century. This happens to be Taylor’s third half-century in the five-match ODI series. Taylor was not allowed to move further.  She was stumped when Hartley was bowling. This happens to be Hartley’s 13th wicket in the series which is also an English record for one-day internationals.

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