Tammy Beaumont paved the way for England Women’s winning return to international action with a sparkling half-century against the West Indies, but the opener was more than happy to share the plaudits with her “Yorkshire Terrier” team-mate Katherine Brunt.
Beaumont earned player-of-the-match honours as the hosts rounded out a comprehensive 47-run win in the series opener at Derby’s Incora County Ground, hitting 62 in 49 balls in the first elite women’s action since the T20 World Cup in March.
Without her efforts England might have been defending a much skinnier total than 163 for eight but they went about that task with dogged determination in the field. Brunt led the attack superbly, bowling the first and last overs of the innings as the Windies fell well short at 116 for six, and conceding a miserly eight runs off her full allocation with 17 dot balls.
Beaumont, fresh from going head to head with the 35-year-old during England’s internal training matches, was happy to see someone else on the receiving end of her latest hostile spell.
“Having been on the opposite team to Katherine in all the team intra-squad games, I was in no doubt she is bowling very well this year. It’s been great for her to terrorise the opposition instead,” she said.
“She’s going to hate me for saying this but I think it’s great that at her age she is still leading the attack absolutely brilliantly, continuing to want to get better. She’s an absolute Yorkshire Terrier in everything she does and I’ve hated playing against her.”
Beaumont offered one chance on nine before imposing herself on the situation, smashing nine fours and a wonderful straight six off Aaliyah Alleyne, for her seventh fifty in T20Is.
It was not the work of a player who has not played at this level for 204 days, but she admits there have been some rough moments along the way.
“I can tell you that innings felt a long way away four months ago when I got back to cricket (after lockdown) and got bowled by an under-arm in my first session,” she said with a smile.
“A couple of weeks ago I was a little bit stressed, thinking I wasn’t hitting them that well and I could end up out of the team here because we’ve just got such a talented batting line-up at the moment and everyone wants a go at the top or in the top five.
“It’s not unthinkable that I’d have been left out, but I think having three months off from cricket reminded me of the reason I started playing and the little girl who was just desperate to get out in the garden and play.
“It’s amazing to be back out there and to kick things off at the top of the order. Hopefully that’s a good innings to carry on from for the rest of the series.”