What England’s Women can learn from the Men’s 2019 ODI World Cup heroics
England play their first World Cup match against Australia on Saturday 5 March 2022
and live on Freeview channel 276
I think many may look at this headline and safely say there is not a lot the England Women’s Cricket team should take from their male counterparts at the moment.
England Men have experienced what could kindly be described as a rut in 2021 with little silverware, grace or hope coming their way.
However 2019 was a different story. England were about to host their own ICC ODI World Cup and were coming off the back of some incredible successes within the ODI field. England had beaten the West Indies and Pakistan in ODI series and excitement was buzzing that England might ‘bring it home’ - albeit if in the wrong sport…
Despite losses to Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia, England had won enough, and many exceptionally convincingly, to make it through to the semi final.
Having lost to Australia twice in the space of a month, fans may not have had the highest hopes for what Eoin Morgan’s men could do.
However, out they came and proved just why they should never be doubted. A strong eight wicket win sent them down the road to Lord’s where they were to face New Zealand.
For the first time since 1992, England were in a World Cup final and produced one of the most exciting and tense matches to have taken place.
New Zealand struggled to 241 and England thought they would breeze their way through but when Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow fell early, cracks began to show and hope began to waver.
Out came the 2019 saviour, Ben Stokes, and his hard fought 84 created the most dramatic ending, culminating in a Super Over and a win by ‘the barest of margins’.
Now English cricket fans will look to another direction as England Women embark on their own World Cup adventure.
Currently ranked third in the world, behind Australia and South Africa, Heather Knight believes that her team has a strong chance of making it to the final stage.
So despite recent disappointing results, is there anything that she and her squad can take from Morgan and his squad’s 2019 heroics?
What made the 2019 World Cup squad so successful was the strength in the opening partnership. The batting abilities of the England Men is not something I tend to write about with much positivity.
The usual blurb of poor opening partnerships, middle-order collapses and over reliance on one player are topics much more familiar to me but England’s ODI squad were different.
Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow were almost infallible together and saw off the powerful opening bowlers in the majority of their matches, paving the way for the likes of Joe Root, Morgan, Stokes and Jos Buttler to utilise their middle-order position.
With the World’s best T20 batter in the team, on the surface England women should not feel worried about their opening partnerships, but Tammy Beaumont did little of note during the recent Ashes multi-format series to fill her squad with much confidence.
If Beaumont can once again find her magic and combine it with the skill of Danni Wyatt or Lauren Winfield-Hill, England stand a strong chance of seeing off the opposition’s strongest bowlers.
England Men could arguably not have won the World Cup back in 2019 without even the smallest amount of luck.
As an England fan myself, I would love to suggest that the 2019 final was won out of pure skill, but I don’t think anyone could have predicted that Ben Stokes would be running back to save himself and accidentally hit the ball sending on for another four.
Whether this luck came from hosting the tournament, or whether divine intervention thought it was about time England won a World Cup for the first time, I don’t think we will ever know but given England Women’s recent misfortunes, we may well hope again that divine intervention steps in once more to help them on their way.
One big difference between England’s 2019 World Cup team and the England Women’s ODI team is that in 2019, England could bat far down the order. If you had Chris Woakes has your number eight, there was little need to panic until he went.
However, England Women do not have the same depth in their squad. With the option of lower order batting, the pressure is taken off those one or two higher order players on whom the whole team relies.
England did not win in 2019 because of just one or two players. Ben Stokes certainly was the reason England won the final, but he was not the reason we made it there to begin with.
The cohesion and understanding within the whole team provided security, trust and reliance, and if it weren’t for the involvement of each player, England may not have made it to Lord’s on that beautiful July day.
England Women will have to quickly regroup following their disastrous Ashes story and learn from their failings in Australia in order to remember the importance of the team as a whole.
If Heather Knight can put the recent catastrophe behind her rather than dwelling on it, England stand a strong chance of making an impact in New Zealand this March.
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