England’s cricketers have the opportunity to write themselves into the history books when they take on India today at a packed Lord’s in the World Cup final. Opener Tammy Beaumont has been one of England’s leading lights in their success thus far. Here, in her third exclusive contribution for The Mixed Zone, she relays the mood from inside the England dressing room ahead of their red-letter day
It’s been a whirlwind last few days since we beat South Africa in that nail-biting semi-final. There was a lot of joy and pride in that performance, and no little relief. Now we’ve refocused and we’re really excited about playing in front of a sell-out crowd at Lord’s in the final. You start to imagine walking out to the middle of the most famous cricket ground in the world and wonder what it will feel like. I’m sure there will be a lot of nerves around in the morning, but once that first ball is bowled we’ll all settle down and get on with our jobs.
We’ve been working towards this moment for the last four years, since the last World Cup finished in fact. As a squad everything we’ve been doing since playing Pakistan last summer has been about singing our song at Lord’s. It’s been a long journey, but there’s still one large hurdle to step over before we clear our throats and sing our hearts out.
That semi-final, which we won by two wickets with two balls left, was a real rollercoaster. Sarah Taylor and I found it difficult because we had that helpless feeling of not being able to influence what was going out in there because we were already out. I kept seeing my face on the big screen and that was when I realised I needed to try and stay calm. I didn’t want the girls in the middle to see me looking so anxious!
Alex Hartley could hardly look – and she was the next batter in. Nobody would – or could – leave their seats, just in case they jinxed the whole thing. But we were all singing when Anya Shrubsole hit the winning runs.
I didn’t get many runs myself in the game, just 15, but that’s cricket. Some days it comes off and others it doesn’t. I’d quite like it to come off at Lord’s, though! I was delighted for Sarah, who won the player of the match award for her top score of 54. It’s great to have her back with us. She also kept beautifully, and her stumping of Trisha Cherry was a very, very sharp piece of work. But overall it was a real team effort. We’re finding ways to win games of cricket.
Because it was quite a short turnaround between semi-final and final, and recovery is key, we didn’t hit the bar to celebrate. Instead one or two of us treated ourselves by ordering desserts, courtesy of Deliveroo, our new favourite app! I spent some time with the South African girls afterwards, which was nice, and we reflected on what an amazing game of cricket it was.
We’re a real family in the England dressing room; we’re so tight. They’re like my second family because mine are in the States. I’m really proud of them and we’re all really excited about the final. We just want it to be here now.
I’ve taken a break from social media during the tournament to concentrate on the cricket. But I hope it’s kicked off! For the first time in our lives we’re inundated with requests for tickets, what with the final being a sell-out. We get a certain number per player, but we’re all hunting around for a few more here and there to keep everyone happy.
You may remember we started the tournament by losing our first match – against India! So we need to up our game to make amends for that. They’ve got a lot of depth in their team. They’ve shown that different players can stand up and perform at different times. They’ve got a strong top four, so we’ll want to take early wickets. They’ve also got a well-drilled bowling attack with two experienced seamers and a number of effective spinners who bowl throughout the middle overs. We’ll have to be at our best to beat them.
People are saying we’ll join the pantheon of British sporting legends if we win. We can’t think about that right now. It may be something that sinks in after the tournament has finished – and if we get the result we want. At the moment we’re living in our bubble and trying to get the job done. But I’m sure once it’s over, we’ll be able to reflect on it all.
It’s been amazing to see how the tournament has captured the public’s attention. Hopefully we can transfer that interest into more mainstream media – not just for cricket, but for women’s sport in general.
Read Tammy’s other blogs here.
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