With a win under their belts and a brace of centuries, England will go into their third group game against Sri Lanka with a much improved mood. What will be on their minds as they approach their third match?
Return Of Winfield
After missing the first two games through a wrist injury, opener Lauren Winfield is back into contention for Sunday’s fixture. Her opening partnership with Tammy Beaumont has flourished over the last 12 months so she’ll most likely slot back into the top two, meaning coach Mark Robinson has a decision to make. Who will make way for the returning Winfield? It may well depend on the pitch that greets both teams tomorrow morning.
Taunton was nicknamed Ciderabad last season after Somerset’s spinners – Jack Leach, in particular – made best use of a dry and turning wicket. While this season hasn’t seen quite the same amount of turn England will be playing on a used track that was first prepared for the England Men’s IT20 against South Africa last week. A dry and dusty wicket may well take more turn, which could influence both team’s thinking.
Sri Lanka’s Lefties
A very large percentage of Sri Lanka’s batting line-up are left-handers which, allied with a potentially spinning wicket, could lead England to consider including more spinners in their side. Off-spinner Laura Marsh, who missed out against India and Pakistan, might well feature in Robinson’s plans with her ability to take the ball away from the left-hander. Seamer Anya Shrubsole picked up a knock in training and will be assessed before the match, which could also see another bowler get an opportunity.
With 69.26% of her team’s runs against Australia, Chamari Athapaththu can happily claim that only Viv Richards has ever scored a higher percentage of one team’s runs in a completed ODI innings. Not bad company. Athapaththu – who likened her own innings to one played by Kumar Sangakkara – should be the basis for many comparisons herself such was the majesty and style of her unbeaten 178. She’ll be full of confidence, and England will need to counter that.
A Pair Of Tons
England will also not be short of confidence. Both Heather Knight and Nat Sciver will still be riding high after their maiden ODI hundreds, and off the back of a team effort that ranked as their second-highest ODI total ever. With Fran Wilson having impressed again India, the form of the batting line-up seems to be falling in place. How the hosts would love another individual score of note in the Taunton sun tomorrow.
Three’s A Magic Number
It’s a big day in the ICC Women’s World Cup on Sunday with all eight countries playing. That will mean that after tomorrow’s fixtures all eight teams will have played three fixtures, leaving us just shy of the half-way point of the group stage. Two wins and a defeat is markedly different from one victory and two losses, so England will want to get over the line. Defeat for Sri Lanka on the other hand would all but signal the end of their challenge. There’ll be a number of interested glances at the table after tomorrow’s matches, especially with India (two from two) taking on rivals Pakistan, and Australia coming up against trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand.