Nat Sciver stars again as England clean sweep West Indies in ODI series

England’s women have wrapped up a 3-0 sweep of their ODI series with West Indies in Antigua. Nat Sciver, the player of the match and the series, starred by notching a second half-century in three games since her return from a three-month mental health break.

The Tokyo-born Sciver’s 85 off 69 balls rescued England from 84 for 4 and follows her match-winning 96-ball 90 in the opening match of this series. It won England the match and the series and took Sciver to 833 ODI runs for 2022, past Claire Taylor’s 2005 mark of 807 to set a new record for an Englishwoman.

The 30-year-old achieved the feat despite missing the three matches against India in September. That month, Sciver was named as England’s captain for their home WT20I series against India in the absence of Heather Knight but she withdrew two days later to focus on her “mental health and well being”

That break has clearly recharged her. Sciver didn’t only blaze with the bat she also chipped in with the ball, taking two important wickets in an excellent bowling performance by England. The effort was spearheaded by Sophie Ecclestone whose three-wicket haul saw West Indies collapse to 105 in pursuit of England’s 257.

For the second match running, West Indies bowled England out inside their 50-over allocation but failed to make it count. Captain Hayley Matthews was the destroyer, claiming the wickets of Sciver, Danni Wyatt and Charlie Dean as England were bowled out in 43.3 overs.

Captain Matthews launched the counter-attack with a series of exquisite extra-cover drives off Freya Davies which saw her surge to 28 from 39 balls. But with the total on 40 in the 11th over, Matthews fell to a brilliant one-handed catch by Ecclestone, who flew spectacularly to her right at slip off the bowling of Kate Cross.

West Indies’ run rate nosedived Matthews’ dismissal. Sciver had Kycia Knight caught by Tammy Beaumont and pinned Rashada Williams, who had scored an unbeaten half-century in the second match, lbw either side of Dean’s removal of Aaliyah Alleyne, stumped for 8 as West Indies lost three wickets for 0 in a 10 ball flurry.

Things went from bad to worse for the West Indies, with no other batter passing 13. It’s a worrying trend. This side has now gone 11 ODI innings without reaching 200.

Jon Lewis, England’s new head coach, now has three wins from as many games and his more aggressive approach since taking over from Lisa Keightley late last month is paying dividends.

“We’re committing to a style of play and we’re fully backed,” Amy Jones told BT Sport. “Whilst it’s not going to come off every time, we’ve made three pretty decent scores in this series anyway, so it’s definitely a good thing for us going forward. It’s something we’re going to commit to for sure.”

Sciver said her match-winning form after a spell came from a fresh mindset personally and the new team direction: “I’m feeling really good about being back and really positive about being back with this team and with a new coach who’s really helped us to see a different way of playing.”

For the woebegone West Indies, Matthews mourned her side’s batting continuing to let them down,. Her team posted only 165 and 118 in the first two matches, both of which England won by 142 runs.

“Any time you come into an ODI series and the top score is 160 you’re probably missing out a bit with the bat,” Matthews told reporters. “It’s definitely an area that we need to pay more attention to, find a way to score more runs on the whole, hopefully we can do that in the T20 series coming up.”

The two sides will next play the first of five T20Is on Sunday in Antigua before moving on to Barbados for the remaining four.

Leave a Comment