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Tougher tasks ahead for England

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Alison Mitchell Alison Mitchell | 12:40 UK time, Thursday, 12 March 2009

After five days of action we're now getting towards the business end of the Women's World Cup. England are through to the Super Sixes, which is the first job they came here to do, and they've done it as group winners.

England and New Zealand are the only unbeaten sides in the tournament so far - in fact, England are unbeaten in their last 17 games now - and the two sides will meet in Bankstown, Sydney, on Saturday, which should be a class encounter. Other teams through are defending champions Australia, West Indies, India and Pakistan.

In case you were wondering, the Super Sixes sees each team plays three more games against the countries who qualified from the other group. There are two points for a win and one for a tie or no result and the top two will go through to compete in the final on 22 March, with the others taking part in play-offs for third, fourth etc.

England opener Sarah TaylorAfter an unconvincing start against Sri Lanka, the 100-run victory disguised what captain Charlotte Edwards called a disappointing all round display) England moved through the gears to beat India by nine wickets in a game which was expected to be a hard fought encounter between the two best sides in Group B.

Pakistan were weak opposition in their final game, with England winning by eight wickets, so Edwards's side has yet to be genuinely tested in this tournament

England's last two games have been played at the North Sydney Oval, which is a picturesque ground with palm trees peeking out from behind green tin roofed stands, one of which - the Bob Stand - used to be at the SCG.

It's a small ground, but it has an historic feel. With it's picket fence and grassy hill, it's the sort of place you wish you could watch cricket all the time. It must also be one of very few grounds in the world with a stand named after a female player.

The Molly Dive stand honours the former Australia women's captain who played seven Tests between 1948 and 1951. One of the ends, meanwhile, is named after the giant fig tree, whose thick, gnarled branches lean over the outfield like a kindly grandfather.

During England's game against India the crowd swelled as the day went on. There wasn't the 1,300-odd who watched Australia lose to New Zealand two days earlier, but a band of England supporters started up some good humoured Barmy Army chants and a number of India fans beat a catchy rhythm on the Dohl drums, creating an atmospheric buzz which the players seemed to enjoy.

Many commentators who have not watched top level women's cricket for some time have been impressed by the standard on display here, not least Pakistan great Wasim Akram, who admits to being genuinely surprised by the top teams.

For me, seamers are bowling faster and with better direction than four years ago, the fielding is faster and sharper - fewer relay throws are being employed - and the quality of some of the timing and stroke play of some of the batters is a joy to watch.

England's Claire Taylor is something of a run machine and I'm looking forward to watching Australia's Karen Rolton from close quarters. Then there's Rolton's 18-year-old team mate Ellyse Perry who grabbed headlines by hitting a straight six into the stands at the MCG during a Twenty20 game against England last year.

No arguments about small boundaries there.



  • Comment number 1.

    Hi Alison,
    Just a quick question - who has the TV rights to this year's tournament and can we see it on any UK channels?

  • Comment number 2.

    My daughter has followed in her father's footsteps and taken to cricket. Her team is Hayes Hurricanes so we're cheering for the team and L. Greenway.

    Disappointing as coverage is late night on Sky (we don't have) and no day time highlights. So we rely on BBC & Sky sports news for updates.

    C'mon England

  • Comment number 3.

    8for32 - it's after 1.00am in Sydney now, so I'll answer for Alison. Some of England's games are being shown live on Sky and you can find details here:,19528,12943,00.html.

  • Comment number 4.

    I think this is fantastic. Women are so much more interesting to watch than men, and have a sportmenship (sportswomenship?) towards each other that the primping men lack. More of the same please.

  • Comment number 5.

    I had a day off work yesterday and had planned a round of golf but two of my mates cancelled so we canned the day. Had nothing else to do so turned on Fox Sports and watched the England v Pakistan game for a while and was pleasantly surprised that the techniques of many with bat and ball were good on both sides. Here in oz they are covering every single match live which can only be good for the game.
    Come on girls, make us proud to be English and achieve something the men have never been able to do.
    All the best.

  • Comment number 6.

    It's all on skysports

  • Comment number 7.

    I saw highlights of England v Pakistan yesterday, and despite starting off quite sceptical, have to admit to being very impressed with the batting and fielding, especially.

    Good foot movement, lovely straight bat and full follow through, with the elbow high. Plus a stunning England catch at short leg that Ian Bell would have been proud of !

    Also a valiant attempt running back in the deep towards the boundary that had it stuck, would have been a contender for 'catch of the season' ! More of the same please girls, in the 'super sixes'. Good luck.

  • Comment number 8.

    Thanks for all the answers regarding the TV coverage - it's such a shame that highlights from this tournament isn't being covered by one of the UK terrestrial channels!

  • Comment number 9.

    I find it disappointing (to say the least) that the games are not getting the same amount of attention on the BBC website as men's cricket. Where is the live commentary? It seems to me that women's sport in general gets a very rough deal, even when we have one of the best sides in the world, certainly one that can consider competing for the title, which is more than can be said for the men's team currently.

  • Comment number 10.

    Having expressed concern about England's lower order batting (see my post on Al's previous blog) it has taken precisely one game for the girls to prove me wrong. Nice to be proved wrong in this case and well done Eng on a fantastic win against NZ.

    Also apologies to India (see my post on Al's previous blog). Thought they were totally shot but what a victory against Oz.

    Unless my combatorial maths has gone AWOL (if Tails gets to read this I'm sure she can advise), a win against the West Indies on Tuesday puts us in the final (logic: NZ/India have to play each other so one of them must end up on at least 2 losses like Oz, Pak, Windies so Eng beating the West Indies means England end up with a maximum of 1 loss). Fantastic.

  • Comment number 11.

    will the final be live on BBC radio


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