After the defending champions England lost to Australia in the finals of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup on April 3 at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch, Phoebe Graham, who plays as a right-arm seamer in England’s domestic cricket, expressed her views about the World Cup, Australia’s performance, England’s journey and more.
Graham stated that this Australian team that won the World Cup is the best women’s side in history. Throughout the tournament, Australia continued to stamp their undisputed dominance. The team is miles away from the rest of the countries, including England, which has a long way to go if they want to challenge their Ashes rival in 2025. The World Cup began on March 4 this year in New Zealand, but for Australia, the journey to the marquee event began after the unexpected loss to India in the 2017 World Cup in England.
Riding on the strongest domestic structure Australia boasts of a powerhouse of talent. They not only have an excellent core group of players but also tried and tested bench strength. Graham feels that England needs to learn fast if they have to catch up with Australia.
The right-arm speedster looks back at the final and feels that perhaps England captain Heather Knight made the wrong decision of putting Australia in to bat first. Runs on board in the finals create additional pressure. Australia made the most of the batting-friendly conditions in Christchurch as they pelted 5-356 in 50 overs, which is the second-highest total in women’s ODIs. Alyssa Healy plundered a blistering 170 off 138 balls. Graham reckons that Healy is one of the best in the business. She maneuvered the field well and played her shots all around the ground. She was also lucky, unlike Natalie Sciver, to have partners at the other end.
England could have had the better of the Australian openers in Alyssa Healy and Rachael Haynes, as they were dropped in the 21st over of the match that was bowled by Kate Cross. While Haynes was dropped by Wyatt, Healy was given another life by Sciver. According to Graham, not winning the big moments was a consistent theme throughout England’s campaign.
For England, in the finals, with the bat, Sciver was the only silver lining in the dark cloud as the vice-captain pummeled an unbeaten 148. She kept losing partners at regular intervals. Despite that, she continued to fight and give hope to her team that they could defend their title.
Before the tournament, England was expected to be in the top four but after their horrendous start, when they lost their first three matches, the chances were bleak. Graham highlighted that the way England bounced back showed the team’s resilience and strength of mind. Apart from Sciver’s 148 not out, Sophie Ecclestone’s 6-36 and Danielle Wyatt’s 129 in the semifinal against South Africa will be some of the takeaways for the team.
Graham added that England were able to control the middle overs’ phase well, thanks to Charlotte Dean, Ecclestone, and Cross. However, their batting to some extent let them down. In a tournament like the World Cup, England had to change their opening pair from Tammy Beaumont and Lauren Winfield-Hill to Beaumont and Wyatt.
Looking back at the World Cup, there is a lot to learn for England and other teams from Australia. Identifying and nurturing new talent, investing in the game, and having a solid domestic structure can come to their aid. Australia has been professional for eight years compared to England’s two.
The 30-year-old also mentioned that Australia’s domestic teams are fully professional whereas in England there are only six players out of the squad of 15, who are professional. She felt that England have a lot of work to do before the next World Cup. It will not be easy. The game is growing by leaps and bounds. The league stage of the tournament was a testament to that.
This article is the summary of the original article published on Sky Sports
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