Last week signified England’s first ever Women’s Cricket Week. It was a partnership between the ECB and Sky Sports to help develop and promote Women’s Cricket by dedicating a week of airtime and exposure to the women’s game. The week ran in conjunction with the England v. Pakistan Women’s bilateral series which consisted of three ODIs and three T20s. It was a week for the England Ladies to capitalise on the publicity and show their worth, and they did not squander the opportunity.
The series was coming at a critical time for the England Ladies, their veteran captain of 10 years along with two other senior players were gone from the team and with the spotlight on them for the week, there was nowhere for the newer and younger players to hide. The new team lead by Heather Knight started their campaign off superbly with a seven wicket win against the visitors. Captain Knight led from the front with a 5-for and a solid 50. The Pakistan ladies were bowled out for 165. Pakistani opener Sidra Ameen scored a stabilising 52 but there was no one else to back her up as only one other scored above 20. England’s opener Tammy Beaumont responded with a solid 70 off 75 balls and along with Heather Knight they sealed the first game of the series.
The ladies went on to win the next two ODIs very convincingly with each margin bigger than the previous. A 235 run partnership between openers Lauren Winfield and Tammy Beaumont and a quickfire 80 from Natalie Sciver saw the ladies reach an impressive 378 runs. Pakistan seemed to crumble under the mountainous score and only Bismah Maroof appeared to believe they could chase down the score. The visitors were once again bowled out for 166 – one run more than their previous innings. The third and final ODI saw Beaumont achieve back to back centuries with a match winning 168. An innings that alone beat the entire Pakistani team’s score of 164. The England ladies were off to a fantastic start with a 3-0 ODI series win heading into the T20s.
The Pakistani men are known for their impromptu t20 ‘turn-ups’ so this was no time for the England ladies to take their foot off the pedal. Once again the openers Winfield and Beaumont set up the innings with 74 and 82 respectively leading the hosts to 187, their highest ever total in T20 format. Pakistan were unable to respond and the second two T20s following suit. England continued to play as if the series was in the balance even through the final T20. England once again white-washed the visitors and showed the world they didn’t need anyone to hide behind. All the players stepped up their game and set the bar very high for the men’s series.