There were three games in the Women’s World Cup today, and a whole lot of runs were scored.
In Derby India took on Sri Lanka. They won the toss, batted, and set a reasonable total of 232. Deepti Sharma (78) and Mithali Raj (53) were the top scorers. Sri Lanka made a brave attempt at chasing the total, but ultimately fell just 16 runs short. Dilani Manodara (61) was the pick of the batters, while Poonam Yadav with 2/23 off her 10 overs was the best of the bowling.
In Leicester Australia were without their captain, Meg Lanning, who has a shoulder injury. Resting her against Pakistan was probably a good call, but it looked like they might come unstuck when they found themselves 7/2 early on. Fortunately for the Aussies, Ellyse Perry (66) once again took control. She was ably assisted by Elyse Villani (59), making up for her golden duck in Bristol on Sunday, and by Alyssa Healy (63*). Eventually Australia posted an impressive 290. Pakistan never got close, with only Sana Mir (45) putting up any serious resistance on their way to 131 all out.
And so to Bristol, where England took on a highly fancied South Africa. Heather Knight won the toss and opted to bat, taking on the fearsome bowling attack that just a few days ago had dismissed West Indies for 48. Of course conditions in Leicester on Sunday suited fast bowling, whereas the Bristol pitch was baking under a hot sun right from the start. Lauren Winfield went early for 24, but then Tammy Beaumont and Sarah Taylor dug in and batted, and batted, and batted.
275 runs later they had set the highest partnership ever in the Women’s World Cup. Taylor was out for 147 having looked absolutely majestic. At one point she hit Shabnim Ismael, probably the fastest bowler in the tournament, for five successive fours. She was playing reverse ramps and scoops with impunity. At the other end Beaumont was less flashy, but timed the ball beautifully and reached 148 without seeming to try hard. With both of them gone, England still had overs left, and threw the bat at everything, finally ending on 373.
The quality of the wicket was shown when SA batted. They had 128 on the board before England took their first wicket, though a few hard chances had gone down on the way there. The key to the match, however, was Katherine Brunt’s bowling. With a miserly 16 off 8 overs she kept the run rate well below what was required. Soon SA were in an impossible position and wickets started to tumble as they took risks. A powerful and breezy 54 off just 24 balls by Chloe Tyron gave a glimpse of what was required, but they needed everyone to score like that for the last 10 overs. It wasn’t going to happen, and they ended up 68 runs short.
Tomorrow New Zealand take on West Indies in Taunton. Here’s hoping that the weather is more typical of the Caribbean and of Wellington.