Dean Dominates, Deepti Disappoints: 4 Talking Points from England v India
Jay takes a close look at the four biggest stories from England's four-wicket win over India
I hate to sound like a broken record but in this World Cup, momentum has proven to be a myth!
England had lost all three games of their campaign heading into today’s tussle against India. India, on the other hand, was riding the highs of their second-highest ODI total just two days ago against the West Indies.
From Charlie Dean’s player-of-the-match performance to India’s below-par batting returns, let’s look at the biggest stories from England’s four-wicket victory over India.
Charlie Dean: From afterthought to match-winner
Throughout the Ashes and in England’s previous fixture against South Africa, it seemed as if Heather Knight either turned to Charlie Dean as an afterthought or when the result of the game was a foregone conclusion. It made little sense to draft her in against South Africa to replace Lauren Winfield-Hill if she wasn’t going to be trusted with the ball by skipper Heather Knight.
However, all that changed today. Knight brought Dean on in the 17th over ahead of trusted middle overs operator Kate Cross.
Dean responded in her very first over. To kick off a match-winning spell of 4-23, she dismissed both Harmanpreet Kaur and Sneh Rana caught behind. While Kaur was dismissed playing inside the line of an off-spinner that didn’t turn, Sneh Rana was lured into an expansive drive by a flighted arm ball, nicking through to Amy Jones.
As Nasser Hussain pointed out in the innings break, what makes Dean’s arm ball threatening is the drift she is able to get by using her strong index finger to shoot the ball out of her hand. The movement she gets away from right-handers is further exaggerated by the seam pointing slightly in the direction of first slip, which makes her arm balls behave more like a medium pacer’s outswinger.
In her brief ODI career thus far, Dean has taken 15 wickets. Eight of those 15 dismissals have been bowled or LBW. She’s had two batters stumped — including Sune Luus in her previous game — and Kaur and Rana caught behind today. She’s also averaged an impressive 11.72 bowling to right-handers.
At this stage, the sample size is too small to predict big things for Charlie Dean, but it’s clear that she is capable of troubling both the outside and the inside edges of right-handers. It’s also clear that Knight should continue to back her in the middle overs.
India’s poor shot selection
Sneh Rana was promoted to number six ahead of the aggressive Richa Ghosh in an effort to stabilize the innings. An expansive drive off her second delivery, which she nicked through to Amy Jones, was hardly the way to achieve that.
Pooja Vastrakar survived an LBW review after trying to sweep a Charlie Dean delivery that was entirely too full for the shot. It beggars belief that she would attempt the shot again two deliveries later to get trapped in front.
However, the biggest concern for India is the manner in which Mithali Raj has been getting out. She has been caught by infielders in three of her four innings thus far where she’s either taken the aerial route or failed in her attempts to keep the ball along the carpet. Against New Zealand, she laboured to 31 off 56 balls before charging at Melie Kerr, playing a confused hoik-sweep hybrid shot and getting stumped.
Raj’s struggles throughout the tournament, including today, typify the mindset of India’s batters, who are torn between their newfound aggression and their traditional build-an-innings approach. In their remaining fixtures, India’s batting line-up would benefit greatly from Raj leading by example.
Deepti Sharma’s long rope
Sneh Rana made quite an impression on her return to the Indian set up on last year’s tour to England. She kicked things off by helping India save a game on her test debut and followed that up by two clutch cameos in last-over thrillers against England and Australia, respectively.
Last week’s record-breaking partnership with Pooja Vastrakar in the come-from-behind win against Pakistan was the latest of many feathers in her cap.
On the bowling front, she’s taken five wickets in four games during this World Cup and conceded just 3.77 runs an over. She was critical to India tying the West Indies down after they raced to 100 in the first 12 overs of their chase.
Since the start of the England tour, she’s averaged 19.25 with the bat in ODI cricket at a strike rate of 88.5. She’s also taken 11 wickets at 35.81 a piece, conceding 4.71 runs an over.
Her success makes you question how Deepti Sharma keeps making it onto India’s team sheet. Her recent numbers don’t compare too favourably to Rana’s. Since Rana’s comeback, Deepti has averaged 21.83 with the bat, striking at 71.78. Her 16 wickets in that period have come at an average of 37 and an eye-watering economy rate of 5.71.
She’s only taken 2 wickets in the 24 overs she has bowled in the current World Cup campaign, conceding 5 runs an over — the worst economy rate of any Indian bowler.
With the bat, she’s averaged 15 in four innings and struck at less than 60. At this stage, it is hard to see how Deepti Sharma can justify her place in the side either as a batter or as a bowler.
If Harmanpreet Kaur — a more than capable off-spinner — is fit to play in India’s next game against Australia on Saturday, there is no reason for India to persist with Deepti. They could move Kaur up from number five to number four in the batting order. They could also play an extra batter in Shafali Verma, who may enjoy Eden Park’s smaller dimensions, or opt for leg spinner Poonam Yadav as bowling cover.
One thing is for sure: Deepti has received a longer rope than many players who had good reason to feel aggrieved at missing out on India’s World Cup squad.
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The search for Beaumont’s opening partner
0, 12, 3, and 1 — These are the scores for Tammy Beaumont’s opening partners in England’s first four games. Danni Wyatt began the World Cup batting down the order before being pushed up to open when Charlie Dean was brought in for the misfiring Lauren Winfield-Hill.
You can see why Winfield-Hill was axed. She hasn’t registered a half-century in her last 31 ODI innings — a spell that stretches back more than five years, during which she has averaged just 20.72.
Danni Wyatt, however, has even grimmer numbers when opening the batting. Across her career as an opener, she has averaged just 14.19 at a strike rate of 69.3 in 21 innings against India, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand. She’s never scored a half-century against any of the aforementioned teams, and her top score in that time is a mere 47.
It’s hard to fathom why England continues to persist with two openers whose struggles in the format predate the last World Cup, especially when someone as promising as Emma Lamb is in the squad. In the lead-up to the World Cup, instead of giving Wyatt and Winfield-Hill an unjustifiably long rope, England should have been blooding in youngsters like Lamb and Maia Bouchier or even seasoned left-hander Eve Jones. They had an entire World Cup cycle to find a suitable opening partner for Tammy Beaumont.
Instead, the faith they showed in two misfiring batters has cost them the opportunity to properly integrate newer players into the England setup.
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