"Australia had been unbeaten and now England has gone from fifth to top with one huge win and it’s crazy how congested the top of the table is," says Charlotte Edwards
Charlotte Edwards is a former England’s women’s captain who played 23 Tests, 191 ODIs and 95 T20Is between 1996 and 2015. She led England to victories in the ICC Women’s World Cup 2009 as well as the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 2009. In 2008, she won the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year award.
What a game England vs Australia was! I suggested in my previous column that there was more to come from this World Cup. That match was billed as the biggest game of the group phase and it delivered in every single way on Sunday.
The crowd was unbelievable, the match ebbed and flowed like a classic cricket match should and then we saw plenty of drama towards the end, especially when Nat Sciver knocked the penultimate delivery over for four to leave Australia requiring six from the last ball. It had everything and was a proper contest, which we’ve not really seen up until now. It was the closest match we’ve of the competition and a fitting game for an England- Australia World Cup encounter.
It was the first time since 1993 that England had beaten Australia in a World Cup game and what an important game to do it in! Going into the match knowing that a defeat would put England under real pressure to qualify for the semi-finals meant it had a lot to play for. Australia will be disappointed with the way it went about its chase. England’s 259 was just under par, but Australia made it hard work for itself. England bowled the best it has in the tournament and it needed to. It was just a great game of cricket.
The experience of Katherine Brunt and Jenny Gunn shone through and I’m not even sure Jenny would have played had Fran Wilson not been injured. But I like the balance England has with Brunt at number seven and Gunn at number eight and that’s how I think England is going to win this World Cup. It gives it more bowling options when you go with six batters plus the all-rounders. Jenny provides options with her slower ball and yorkers and showed how key she can be with her bowling at the death. England was forced to make a change and it was the right change in my opinion.
Australia had been unbeaten and now England has gone from fifth to top with one huge win and it’s crazy how congested the top of the table is. The win did England huge favours in its quest to secure a semi-final spot, but it’s still all to play for and it certainly can’t rest on its laurels.
With one point separating the top five there are no dead games to come over the next week. New Zealand has to beat one of England or India to ensure its progression and India has the hardest run-in playing Australia and New Zealand. India is in danger of going from top of the table for most of the tournament to potentially not qualifying having lost to South Africa. We’ve always known that South Africa has an unbelievable amount of talent, it has performed really well and if it can beat Sri Lanka, you wouldn't put it past it causing an upset against the Aussies. South Africa would seem to have momentum on its side.
It leaves me fearing that India might be the side from the top five that misses out on the semi-finals because it has such a tough end to the group. It’s not how you start a tournament it’s how you finish it that counts and teams like New Zealand and South Africa have confidence now, whereas India had its good start and now needs a huge finish to survive. It plays a wounded Australia who will be determined to bounce back and India’s last game with New Zealand could easily become a quarter-final where the loser goes home.
If England does what it should do over the next couple of games, it could top the group and after that match against the Aussies the public is getting really excited about this World Cup campaign. If people didn’t know about the World Cup prior to Sunday they know about it now and that’s brilliant to see.
We have a really good opportunity over the next couple of weeks to sell the women’s game even further and promote this World Cup. With England doing so well it makes such a big difference and with every game being broadcast it is brilliant for the women’s game in this country and around the world. We should see a real uptake in interest again as we get to the business-end of this tournament.
It’s good for me to say that England beat Australia without being in top gear. It didn't bat as well as it had in the previous game but still got itself up to a challenging total. It was brilliant with the ball and it will take huge confidence from both of those aspects.
For the West Indies, Pakistan and Sri Lanka this tournament is not over. They are playing for a huge amount of pride.
West Indies has been disappointing and it’ll admit that. It will want to end this tournament on a high and has the potential of winning the next two games so as to leave with three wins from the tournament. The West Indies side played nowhere near its best but is still the team you’d fear playing the most out of the bottom three sides.
Stafanie Taylor will be telling her team it can still make an impact, take a big scalp and show what the West Indies side is about. The West Indies is not the ICC World Twenty20 champion for nothing and if it can end well, show it is a good side and go home with some more wins under its belt.
I watched the Pakistan team and although it was getting well beaten by New Zealand, its spirits were really high and for Pakistan and Sri Lanka there are still positives they can take from every game as they build for the future. They’ve got to keep going to the end and they can still influence the top end of the table with a great performance or two.
We’ve got some massive games to look forward to over the next couple of weeks and I really don’t want this World Cup to end.