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England women vs Pakistan women 2024

Spinners galore, seam spots open: Five things to watch out for in England vs Pakistan

Amy Jones, Maia Bouchier and Lauren Filer
by Toby Reynolds 3 minute read

With the T20 World Cup taking place in October, many questions loom over England before the tournament kicks off.

The spin-friendly conditions in Bangladesh mean the balance of England’s XI will be crucial and the upcoming series against Pakistan will help firm up their selections for the tournament.

Bouchier backed after stellar New Zealand series

Only two months ago, Maia Bouchier seemed an unlikely starter for the World Cup. Both Tammy Beaumont and Sophia Dunkley were preferred at the top of the order at first against New Zealand in March, but some majestic striking at number three, timed with Beaumont and Dunkley’s slumps in forms, opened the door for her to partner Danni Wyatt at the top.

With a run-a-ball 43 and an imposing 71 off 47, she was promoted to the top of the order as more senior players returned from the WPL. She took her chance, blasting 91 from 56 balls in the 4th T20I in Wellington and is now in prime position to open in Bangladesh.

She has started the season well at the Southern Vipers, making 33, 26 and 34. However, she must make runs against Pakistan to alleviate any doubt that she should partner Wyatt.

Second seamer spot up for grabs

As England prepare for Bangladesh, they will use this series to help determine their seam attack. Assuming England play three spinners and Lauren Bell, an almost certainty to take the new ball, one spot remains for a quick, as well as Nat Sciver-Brunt.

Dani Gibson was the ever-present in England’s most recent tour of New Zealand. With combined figures of 4-126 across the series and an economy of just seven, Gibson impressed throughout with the ball. England used her particularly effectively at the death, and she has played the majority of England’s T20Is since her debut last summer. However, Lauren Filer offers a point of difference with her height and speed, even if she would contribute less with the bat than Gibson. It’s likely she would also be used in a different role, after she found more success in an enforcer role in the middle over in the final New Zealand T20I.

With Mahika Gaur unavailable because of her A-Levels and Freya Kemp, an exciting young left-armer, unable to bowl due to injury, England could play both Gibson and Filer throughout the home series.

The use of Kemp will be interesting. She is an adept batter, often finding herself in the top four for the Southern Vipers. With the countless all-rounders in the squad, she may be a specialist finisher and her destructive abilities would certainly suit this.

Heath becoming ever-present as Jones’ understudy

Amy Jones has passed 25 just once in T20Is since September 2022 but scores of 92, 50 and 48 in the ODI series against New Zealand have helped her case to take the gloves this series. However, her competition is 22-year-old Bess Heath. The keeper-batter recently made 63 off 62 in the Northern Diamond’s victory over the South East Stars. She has played five times for England but is yet to make her mark as an aggressive lower-order bat.

While it’s a forgone conclusion Jones will take the gloves over Heath, if Jones’ place becomes untenable, Heath is waiting in the wings.

Could England field four spinners?

Sophie Ecclestone is currently the number one ranked bowler in both T20I and ODI cricket. She is also undoubtedly England’s superstar with the ball. However, England have a myriad of spinners to partner her.

Charlie Dean and Sarah Glenn have been selected for both squads, while Linsey Smith just appears in the T20Is. Despite being just 23, Dean has 52 ODI wickets already and 28 in T20Is. Her metronomic off-spin is a perfect counterbalance to Ecclestone. Glenn, who missed matches in New Zealand after getting concussed, adds yet another variation to England’s arsenal with her leg spinners.

Having not been selected for England since 2019, Smith appeared twice in New Zealand for England, as Ecclestone returned late from the WPL. With both bowling left-arm orthodox, it is unlikely they will be selected together, but, as England’s gear up for the spinning conditions in Bangladesh, there’s opportunity for experimentation in their lineup.

Dunkley dropped to find form

The biggest miss from the squads is Sophia Dunkley. Having been an England stalwart since 2021, she has been left out to rediscover some form in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy. She currently sits top of the run charts in the competition but finding form in the Charlotte Edwards Cup will be crucial to her hopes of going to Bangladesh.

Tammy Beaumont misses out on T20I selection but retains her place in the ODI squad. She made 81 in New Zealand and has been steady and a consistent run scorer at the top of the order.

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