'Sometimes going to come off, sometimes I won't' – Alice Capsey on series-winning 46

Alice Capsey had scored just 17 runs across her five previous T20Is for England, but she chose the most opportune time to things around – before a record crowd at Lord’s in a must-win Ashes contest. But quite apart from arresting a run of single-figure scores, her 46 off 23 balls pushed the hosts to a landmark victory and kept them afloat in the multi-format series against Australia.

“The series is still alive, which is amazing,” Capsey told Sky Sports after England’s five-wicket victory with four balls to spare in a rain-hit third match of their T20I series, which England won 2-1 on Saturday night. “T20 cricket, especially the way I play, sometimes I’m going to come off and sometimes I won’t. It’s just about getting better and trying to become more consistent at it. I’ve been working hard in the nets, and have been given a lot of backing by the coaching staff.”

Capsey fell four shy of what would have been her third half-century in T20Is, after hitting 50 in England’s victory over South Africa in the group stages of the Commonwealth Games nearly a year ago, and 51 off just 22 balls against Ireland at the T20 World Cup in February. And against Australia at Lord’s, she demonstrated perfectly how she plays, which saw her make her international debut last summer – still only aged 17 – and which has now handed England two precious points while consigning Australia to their first series defeat since the 2017-18 Ashes, when they had also lost the T20Is 2-1.

Capsey came in with England 39 for 2 after Danni Wyatt’s assertive 26 from 15 had set their run chase off to a strong start. A big six over deep midwicket off Jess Jonassen was followed by an even bigger one off Megan Schutt, which landed in the stands beyond the same area. In between, there were four fours to all four corners of the ground.

And, as she spoke of having the coaching staff’s backing, this England side are backing themselves to upset Australia, who had scraped to a four-wicket win in the first T20I before losing by three runs in the second. Saturday’s match, in which England chased down a revised target of 119 from 14 overs after Ellyse Perry had rescued Australia from 66 for 3 to post 155 for 7 in their allotted 20 overs, was played before a crowd of 21,610, a record for a women’s bilateral fixture in England, with three sold-out ODIs to come.

England must prevail in all three of the remaining fixtures – in Bristol, Southampton and Taunton – if they are to win the Ashes for the first time since 2013-14, and they are full of self belief, according to Lauren Bell, the seamer who took the important wicket of Perry in the third T20I.

“She was outstanding tonight,” Bell said of Capsey. “She definitely got us got us over the line. I think that’s why she was so gutted because she wanted to be there at the end. She had an outstanding performance. She very much contributed to the win.”

“It’s definitely boosted our confidence,” Bell said of the win. “After the first two games, we felt like we could win and we just needed to do a few things better. Getting a series win against Australia is special, and now we can push on to the ODIs. We’ve got a lot of confidence in the group now.”

Each ODI is worth two points, with Australia still leading the series 6-4. Alyssa Healy, the Australia captain, told broadcasters that England had “out-braved” her team ahead of the one-day series, a format in which her side is on a 15-game winning streak.
Shelley Nitschke, their head coach, had echoed Healy’s appraisal after losing the second T20I at The Oval that the Australians were yet to produce their best cricket.

“We’ve probably been off again a little bit for the three T20s to be fair,” Nitschke said after the defeat at Lord’s. “Even the first game that we managed to win at Edgbaston, I still felt like we still haven’t played our best cricket. I’s a tight turnaround now to the ODIs, but we’re still staying alive in the Ashes series, which is what we’ve come here to win.

“We’ve just got to have a look at our game and make sure when we start the ODI series that we’re correcting some of those errors that we’re making and that we’re really sharp. They’re playing good cricket, so we certainly know that we have to play really good cricket as well. We certainly know that that it’s not going to be an easy task for us.”

Both teams are yet to name their 50-over squads ahead of the first match scheduled in Bristol on Wednesday.

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