Danni Wyatt proves her point as England make light work of India to win three-match T20 series
Danni Wyatt, who had much to prove and not much more time to do it, stole the plaudits in her 56-ball unbeaten 89 on Wednesday evening, guiding England easily past India’s 153. It might have been India’s highest total on English soil but times have changed and England’s mindset too. Put the second T20 down to a blip, because this was an impressive return as England won the multi-format series in measured fashion.
Natalie Sciver, recently crowned the top ranked all-rounder in the shortest format, proved her worth in each of the three disciplines. One wicket, no boundaries conceded, two diving catches and an innings of 42 runs off 36 balls meant that Sciver ticked off just about everything going on the report card. Scrap leading all-rounder, Sciver is fast becoming the foremost leading cricketer in the world. On Wednesday, though, it was her crunching drives and cool temperament which prevailed on a warm summer evening as she and Wyatt powered their way past India’s total with eight balls still remaining.
On a pitch less conducive to spin than the previous two matches, India were always going to be at a disadvantage with an attack loaded with the art. When opening seamer Arundhati Reddy departed the field injured just a few overs into England’s innings, the uphill task became that little bit steeper. And England have learned, quickly. Bogged down by the discipline in the last game, Sciver and Wyatt clocked early on that they were going to have to generate their own pace off the ball against India’s spin attack.
Big strides, quick feet and some inventive scoops behind square and they’d found their method. It was an accomplished, assured chase, as well as a welcome return to form for Wyatt. Left out of the ODI squad despite good domestic returns, Wyatt has been trying to prove her point since but never quite managed it. Thirty-one, then three, but on Wednesday an assured half century and the statement was made.
Pursed lips and a pointed stare accompanied her raised bat as she reached 50 because for Wyatt, it wasn’t just a flashy half century on offer, but a chance to demonstrate a responsibility at the top of the order. Guiding her team home, undefeated and bat carried, did exactly that. Whether it’s enough to wrestle her way back into the one-day side we’ll soon see, but for the summer ahead and The Hundred in sight, here’s a marquee player back in form. Enjoy it.
For India, glimpses again but never quite the full package. Feast or famine as far as India’s teenage sensation, Shafali Verma, is concerned. Two ducks now sandwich a match-winning 48 in the second T20I, as Katherine Brunt, just as she did in the first T20I, bowled her second ball. Harmanpreet Kaur, India’s T20 captain, once more offered us much with her 26-ball 36 but failed to push on. Her 68-run partnership with Smriti Mandhana appeared to set the tone early on; Kaur dashed around first, some elegant strokes and a crashing six over long on to get things started. Almost as if she was determined to prove that if Kaur could do it, she could too, the left-handed Mandhana followed suit the following over, elegantly stroking one over the long-off boundary.
While Mandhana’s team-mates might play in binary, all-or-nothing fashion, Mandhana offers it all – the boundaries, the darts but the temperament too. A shame for her that it wasn’t in a winning cause. Meanwhile, England’s Sophie Ecclestone continues to quietly pick up impressive figures in regular fashion, the left-arm spinner’s three-wicket haul just another one of what is now expected of this England side. New Zealand next, and this England will be in confident mood.