The ICC Women’s Global Development Squad’s (WGDS) tour of England, that consisted of a total of six games came to an end with the team winning just two T20s in the series. They had faced England Academy Women and Women’s Cricket Super League (WCSL) sides Surrey Stars and Southern Vipers for two games apiece. The matches were played in Cranleigh, Aldershot and London.
An overall look at the series says that the WGDS’s batting was a huge let-down. In the first T20 against England Academy, WGDS’s bowling shone to restrict them to 66 for 9. Papua New Guinea’s seamer Ravina Ora picked up three wickets while Scotland leg-spinner Abtaha Maqsood returned with two. WGDS chased the target down to come up trumps by seven wickets.
In the next outing against the same opposition, it was a role reversal of sorts. WGDS were restricted to 82 for 8 in their 20 overs with skipper Javeria Khan of Pakistan top-scoring with 34 off 39 balls. England Academy chased the target down without much ado to register another seven-wicket victory.
Next up was the game against WCSL side Southern Vipers captained by New Zealand’s Suzie Bates. They scored 145 for 7 with a half-century to Bates’ name. Ora once again was economical for WGDS while picking up two wickets. In reply, WGDS could muster just 64 for 9 in their 20 overs – the difference between the sides clearly evident. Only two batters – Germany’s Christina Gough and Netherlands’ Denise Hannema – entered double figures
It was then time for them to take on Surrey Stars, the reigning WCSL champions, twice in a row. In the first outing – the fourth T20 of the series for WGDS – the Stars could post only 123 for 9. In riposte, WGDS couldn’t score more than 105 for 9 – losing five wickets for 21 runs in the last five overs, when they needed 41 off 30 balls with six wickets in hand. Khan was the highest scorer of the innings with a 40 but didn’t receive any support from the others, with Jahanara Alam being the only other batter to score more than nine runs.
In the next match against the Stars though, WGDS emerged victorious – not wasting their bowlers’ efforts this time round. Surrey scored 118 for 9 with captain Grace Gibbs scoring a 51-ball 52. Scotland’s Hannah Rainey and Ora picked up five wickets between them. WGDS chased the modest total down with captain Khan leading from the front with an undefeated 64 that took 59 balls.
In the final T20 against the Vipers, both the aspects of WGDS came a cropper as the WCSL side was allowed to put 192 runs on the board with only two batters getting dismissed. Bates and Maia Bouchier of England, both scored 69 runs apiece. Ora yet again was the economical bowler for the tourists and she had a wicket to show as well.
WGDS could muster only 87 for 6 in their stipulated overs, yet again highlighting their batting failings in the series. It was a huge 105 run loss to round off the tour, that saw them win just two games.
However, the experience that the players would have gained would stand them in good stead, as Khan had said when the team was selected in the last week of July: “It has always been my desire to experience such opportunities and I am sure this new and exciting opportunity will pave the way for a lot of learning which will help me further improve my game.”