Friday 13 March 2009 

Caroline Atkins Diary - We've A Massive Game Ahead


England Women begin the 2009 World Cup Super Sixes with a massive match against New Zealand, and Caroline Atkins' latest diary entry tells us in more detail about the superb batting form she's been in and England's unbeaten start to the competition.

Caroline Atkins

March 13th, 2009

We’re staying at a big hotel in Sydney within walking distance of the opera house. I think most of the other hotel guests were surprised to see six women’s cricket squads in their hotel. We’re not hard to miss as we have huge kit bags, we hang out in big groups and generally wear the same kit.

It’s usually in hotel lifts that conversations get started and often it starts with a guess as to what sport we play, but this time around there’s so much promotion about the tournament that most people already know why we’re here. This is great for the sport, but I do miss the wrong guesses for entertainment purposes. Instead, I’ve just been trying to explain cricket to Americans between the ground floor and level eleven and while I love promoting the game, I was happy to hit the road for Canberra and sneak in to this tournament on the blind side.

Aside from not having a CD player on the coach and my iPod having broken, I quite enjoyed going to Canberra for our first match. I like being able to say that I have been to Canberra, but actually there are a lot of places I can honestly say that I have been to, but really all I have seen is a hotel, a cricket ground and a few streets in between so I’m not sure it counts anymore than when you stop at an international airport but never step out of the terminal. Anyhow, the main thing was heading back to Sydney with two points and we did after setting Sri Lanka 277 to win and getting them all out for 177. It was a performance we wanted to improve upon, not least facing less dot balls, something I was guilty of having scored 50 off 85 balls.

  

Caroline Atkins sweeps during her innings against India

  Caroline sweeps against India
  © Christopher Lee

The next challenge was India. This was always going to be the biggest test of the group stage, but as it turned out our bowlers didn’t seem too troubled in dismissing India for 169. In the main our fielding backed up a solid bowling performance apart from the moment when I put down a chance at gulley. In the past I would have looked for the closest hole in the ground to bury myself in, but this time I didn’t want to miss out on anything else. It’s World Cup time so we can’t afford for anyone to go missing on the pitch.

To earn two points we just had to bat sensibly. It was a good track with a fairly quick outfield so the bowlers had taken the pressure off us with their performance. We won in 40 overs with nine wickets in hand. Tails (Claire Taylor) and I both finished on 69 not out, only my contribution took a lot longer and somehow got me the player of the match award. At the end of the day, I was delighted that we got the job done comfortably but know that I am still building up to a more fluent innings.

Our final group match was against Pakistan on Thursday. They won the toss and chose to bat. Their innings started very well; however, it was our spin attack that was their main undoing. Boggy (Laura Marsh) and Holly (Colvin) bowled brilliantly in partnership and Pakistan were all out for 78. Ebony (Rainford-Brent) and Squirt (Sarah Taylor) opened our reply before lunch as we bowled them out ahead of schedule. I wondered whether Squirt would retire hungry (as she has done in the past!), but a brilliant catch before lunch saw her lose her wicket. We had time for lunch in the end before watching Lottie (Charlotte Edwards) hit the winning runs and secure our last two points from the group stage. Boggy won player of the match for her five for 15 and we all were treated to early ice baths!

The Super Sixes start tomorrow. We play New Zealand who are the only other team in the competition that are also unbeaten so far and so it’s a massive game for both sides.

Caroline Atkins

England Women keep their eyes on the ball
The squad keeps an eye on the ball in Australia

Caroline made her England debut in the Ashes series in June 2001 and has to date played in seven Tests,  39 One Day Internationals and seven Twenty20 Internationals. Her ODI top score of 145 came when she shared a record opening stand of 268 with Sarah Taylor at Lord's.

© Cricket World 2009