Shrubsole excels on comeback
Fit-again Anya Shrubsole announced herself back on the international scene with an impressive bowling display as England women eased to a seven-wicket triumph over Pakistan in their opening Twenty20 at Loughborough.
The Somerset seamer, who missed the series victories against India through injury, showed no signs of rustiness in returning impressive figures of 4-12 off four overs to restrict the tourists to 87 for seven in 20 overs.
Despite Qanita Jalil removing England’s openers early on, Sarah Taylor and Arran Brindle each contributed 31, the latter’s unbeaten, to lead their side to a comfortable triumph inside 16 overs - leaving them unbeaten in 16 T20s.
Pakistan elected to make first use of the pitch, but soon found themselves in trouble as Shrubsole had openers Nida Dar and Jalil caught as well as bowling skipper Sana Mir.
Spinners Holly Colvin and Danni Wyatt then hampered Pakistan even further as they slipped to 38 for five, with Jenny Gunn and Katherine Brunt taking the catches to end Bismah Maroof's and Javeria Khan’s innings.
Brindle ran out top-scorer Nain Abidi, who compiled 21 off 31 balls, before Asmavia Iqbal became Shrubsole’s fourth victim, leaving Marina Iqbal to lift Pakistan with a trio of fours in an unbeaten 19 off just 12 deliveries.
In reply, England were in trouble as early as the fifth over when Laura Marsh and Charlotte Edward departed cheaply.
However, Taylor took the game by the scruff of the neck with a quartet of fours in a 25-ball knock, sharing a 60-run stand with Brindle to leave England 14 short of victory when she departed to Sadia Yousuf.
Brindle found the boundary twice in 42 deliveries and was unbeaten alongside Wyatt, who was nine not out, to give England a 1-0 lead ahead of tomorrow’s second match at the same venue.
Player of the match Shrubsole said: “It was a solid start from the team today for what is a really important period for us.
"It was a good performance and we’ll be looking to build on that tomorrow, sharpen up a little in the field and look for the one and two percenters that we can improve.
“I was really happy with how I performed today, having missed the series against India it was good to get back out there and put in a good performance.”