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Danni Wyatt lights up Headingley to complete series clean sweep for England
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Danni Wyatt lights up Headingley to complete series clean sweep for England

A month after Yorkshire lost out to Durham in their bid to host a Tier One professional women’s team, 7,500 spectators defied the England and Wales Cricket Board’s verdict by filing into Headingley to watch England defeat Pakistan by 34 runs in the third and final Women’s Twenty20.

England rarely play in this part of the world – the most recent women’s international here took place in 2018 – but they served up a treat for the locals. A Danni Wyatt special – 87 runs hammered from 48 balls, 54 of them in boundaries – and the chance to see Pakistan make a semi-decent fist of the run-chase for the first time in the series.

“I love playing at Headingley, I hope we can play more games here,” Wyatt said. “It’s so nice to play all over the country. It gives a chance to people up here to see us play, which is what it’s all about.”

Earlier, Yorkshire had hosted their first Women and Girls’ Cricket Conference, celebrating the record numbers playing cricket across the country: the amount of women’s clubs has trebled here over the past three years. The ECB’s recent “no” verdict was carefully not mentioned – this was a day of celebration, after all – but with the Yorkshire Post reporting last week that the county are seeking to self-fund a professional Yorkshire women’s team, and ­pushing the ECB to let them play as the ninth Tier One side from the 2025 season, this is a saga which looks likely to run and run.

As did Pakistan’s innings, which actually lasted the full 20 overs for the first time this series. With ­Lauren Bell rested, England used four ­bowlers in the powerplay – the spin trio of Charlie Dean, Sarah Glenn and Sophie Ecclestone, plus a couple of overs from Lauren Filer for good measure – but Pakistan’s openers Sidra Ameen and Gull Feroza saw them all off without drama, ­adding 45 runs into the bargain.

After both ­openers fell , Nida Dar and Aliya Riza put together a 69-run partnership from 51 balls for the fifth wicket, exposing England’s surprising inability to take wickets at the death.

Earlier, England reached 176 – their highest score of the series – but they relied too heavily on another handy contribution from Amy Jones, the player of the series, who seems to have unlocked a newfound confidence, as well as the tempestuous Wyatt, who was dropped three times – including by a diving wicketkeeper when she was just 12 runs into her onslaught – before ­Pakistan finally clung on to the fourth.

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A series whitewash secured, then, but with just five months until the T20 Women’s World Cup in Bangladesh sterner tests await.

Source: theguardian.com