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All-rounder's consistency leads England to runners-up

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England all-rounder Natalie Sciver ended the ICC World T20 campaign as her country’s player of the tournament with her consistent performances making her the PCA Most Valuable Player en-route to being runners up in the Caribbean.

Heather Knight’s England impressed throughout the tournament, blowing away South Africa in the group stage and then easing past India in the semi-final but fell to an eight-wicket defeat against Australia in the final.

Winning the toss and electing to bat first, England struggled to build partnerships with opener Danni Wyatt hitting 43 from just 37 balls while Knight did her best to hold the innings together with a careful 25 to help set a target of 106 in Antigua.

The 50-over world champions did their best with the ball but their efforts were in vain as the impressive Australia secured victory with 29 balls to spare. There was time for the 2018 NatWest Women’s of the Summer Sophie Ecclestone to take her 50th wicket for England across all formats, only the 27th female player to reach this feat.

However, the Lancastrian was largely outshone by fellow spinner Kirstie Gordon who made her debut in England’s opening win of the tournament and pushed Sciver close in the MVP Rankings, finishing just 2.69 points behind Sciver’s haul of 39.19.

The MVP formula is designed to identify the match-winners and key influencers of matches.

A more rigorous analysis of player performances than traditional batting and bowling averages, points are accrued for all runs scored and wickets taken, these are then adjusted within the context of the match.

Catches, run-outs and stumpings are also accounted for as well as bonus points for captains and players who are on the victorious side.

In the group stage, England’s campaign got off to a frustrating start with their opener against Sri Lanka washed out due to heavy rain, which also effected their preparation to the tournament in the Caribbean.

The weather was not the only concern with the vastly experienced Katherine Brunt having to withdraw from the squad on the verge of the tournament due to injury.

However, an inspired performance from Sciver opened England’s account against Bangladesh in a seven-wicket win. The all-rounder secured 12.66 MVP points thanks to conceding just seven runs from her three wickets while taking a wicket before hitting a quick-fire 23 with the bat.

Although Sciver secured the MVP title, debutant Gordon pushed her close by taking three wickets for just 16 runs in her full allocation of overs. Gordon was joined by Linsey Smith and Sophia Dunkley in being awarded their first England caps.

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Knight’s side then secured a place in the semi-finals with a dominant victory over South Africa with Anya Shrubsole ending their innings with a hat-trick to restrict their counterparts to 85 all out. Sciver again impressed and secured the MVP with an incredible performance opening the bowling by conceding just four runs from her four overs while taking three wickets, including the dangerous opener Lizelle Lee.

England knocked off the runs with 35 balls left to win by seven wickets and despite losing to West Indies with Shrubsole taking the MVP with 29 runs and three wickets in the final group match, they had already secured a semi-final berth against India.

Wicketkeeper Amy Jones was the difference in the semi-final by backing up a stumping, catch and assisting a run-out by hitting an unbeaten 53 on her way to 16.87 points and the MVP. An unbroken partnership of 92 with Sciver led England to the final with the ever-impressive Surrey Stars all-rounder also hitting a half-century.

Going into the final at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua, Sciver was leading the MVP Rankings as she had throughout the tournament and that’s how the table ended, narrowly ahead of Gordon who had an introduction to international cricket to remember in finishing as statistically the second Most Valuable Player in the ICC World T20 for England.

To view the Women’s MVP Rankings, click here.