England let opportunity slip through their fingers in sluggish start at Cricket World Cup

The reigning champions England are now languishing in the standings for the round robin stage, from which the top four teams will progress to the semi-finals

Milly McEvoy
Wednesday 09 March 2022 09:01 GMT
England’s Anya Shrubsole drops a catch against West Indies
England’s Anya Shrubsole drops a catch against West Indies (AFP via Getty Images)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


Catches win matches – a staple for commentators, a curse for fielders, and a recurring feature of England’s seven-run loss to the West Indies in Dunedin.

Five chances were put down as the West Indies made 225 for six before the Windies got in on the act with three drops of their own.

Those fielders’ blushes were overshadowed somewhat when Deandra Dottin once again put herself front and centre of the highlight reel with a one-handed grab at backward point an early contender for catch of the tournament.

England’s woes in the field were apparent from the very first ball, Lauren Winfield-Hill dropping Dottin off Katherine Brunt – a chance that she really should have taken and a mistake that set the tone.

Tammy Beaumont, usually a safe pair of hands, then put down the dangerous Hayley Matthews on just eight and Matthews compounded England’s error by smacking Brunt for two fours in the next over.

With 10 overs gone, Matthews and Dottin had put on 58 and the latter would get more runs, but not before another catch was shelled.

Kate Cross could only smile ruefully to herself after seeing a caught and bowled chance slip through her fingers with Matthews now on 33.

But that smile was wiped off her face when Matthews slammed her for six two balls later with England failing to heed the warning that the West Indian batter would continue to punish them if she was given more lives.

Matthews was finally dismissed for 45 from 58, after smashing four fours and two sixes, with Sophie Ecclestone making the breakthrough with the first ball of her third over.

Shrubsole took the catch to dismiss Matthews, sparking a mini collapse as a direct hit by Danni Wyatt sent Dottin back to the dugout for 31.

Captain Stafanie Taylor did not trouble the scorers, going for a golden duck as Ecclestone’s over saw three wickets fall for no runs, reducing the West Indies to 81 for three.

After Kycia Knight went for six, the West Indies rallied through Shemaine Campbelle and Chedean Nation.

Shrubsole became the latest England player to suffer under the high ball as she was slow to react at third and another chance went begging with Nation on 24.

Two balls later, a run-out chance was missed when Wyatt hurled one into Amy Jones behind the stumps and although she whipped off the bails, the ball had slipped away just as England’s chances would do.

West Indies players celebrate the dismissal of Englnd's Amy Jones
West Indies players celebrate the dismissal of Englnd's Amy Jones (AFP via Getty Images)

Shrubsole was then the culprit again, this time dropping Campbelle on 53 before Nat Sciver eventually ended what was a crucial 123-run partnership five balls later.

Defending 225, the West Indies were not immune from dropped catches although their first came almost five overs in.

Shamilia Connell missed out on an early wicket as Beaumont was spilled at slip by Anisa Mohammed after mistiming a shot.

Connell was the unlucky bowler again with Dottin testing her patience after palming the ball out of her own reach when Winfield-Hill was on 11.

However, Winfield-Hill fell two overs later when Dottin more than made up for her earlier mistake, and in some style too.

Adopting full superwoman pose, Dottin stuck out a left hand and as if by magic or magnetic pull the ball stuck in her palm.

It was a catch worthy of winning the tournament, but Dottin will likely settle for defining the match.

Aaliyah Alleyne put down a tough chance which would have dismissed a struggling Jones, whose one off 15 was a study in hesitancy but the West Indies then tightened up their fielding, tying knots in an increasingly frustrated England.

Almost fittingly on a day where not much went right for Heather Knight’s side, Mohammed deflected her attempt at a difficult caught and bowled chance from Ecclestone’s powerful drive onto the stumps at the non-striker’s end, running out a stranded Cross in the most unfortunate fashion.

That moment turned the game once again as the ninth-wicket pair’s stand of 61 looked to be snatching victory from the jaws of defeat with just nine runs from 18 balls needed before disaster struck.

England could not atone for their failures in the field but should have been chasing far less and will rue a sloppy display that saw them concede 23 runs in wides alone.

The defending champions now face an uphill task to secure a semi-final spot after opening their campaign with back-to-back defeats and must bounce back against South Africa on Monday.

© ICC Business Corporation FZ LLC 2022

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