From being bowled underarm in her first session after lockdown to a match-winning innings for England – it’s no wonder Tammy Beaumont enjoyed being back out in the middle.
The 29-year-old struck an eye-catching 62 from 49 balls at the top of the order to help England to a 47-run win over West Indies in their first T20 international since March.
And after a six-month hiatus from competitive action due to the coronavirus pandemic, Beaumont was delighted to be back doing what she does best in Derby.
“That felt a long way away about four months ago when I got back to cricket and got bowled by an underarm in my first session, but it’s amazing to be back out there,” she said.
“Getting a chance to kick us off at the top of the order felt really good and I felt good coming into it, I managed to score a few runs in our inter-team games.
“And for me it was all about how it went in transferring that across into the real deal and hopefully that is a good innings that I can carry on for the rest of the series.
“We’ve really been put through our paces in the last four months since coming back in June and I thought the fielding was exceptional – Michael Bates doesn’t go easy on us at all.
“It’s no surprise that’s the kind of standard we’re setting for ourselves and we’ve obviously had a little bit longer to get ready so I think that rust had worn off.
“Everyone’s ready and raring to go. Even the girls that didn’t get a game, they’re looking in great form, so it’s just great to be back out there.”
Beaumont’s innings proved even more crucial for the hosts after a late-innings collapse saw them lose six wickets for 50 runs, with Shakera Selman taking 3-26 with the ball.
The response from the West Indies rarely threatened England, however, with Deandra Dottin’s 69 the only score of note as they limped to 116-6 from their 20 overs.
And having feared being left out of the side in the build-up to the series after a poor T20 World Cup campaign, Beaumont relished the licence Lisa Keightley gave her at the top of the order.
“Lisa has asked us to go harder at the top of the order,” she said. “It’s something we haven’t really nailed in the last couple of years in terms of the runs we get off the powerplay.
“I’ve really had to take that on and think about how I can go harder at the top of the order and how we as a team can go harder at the top of the order.
“Obviously Danielle Wyatt has been brilliant there for a number of years but it’s a case of doing the right thing for the team and I was quite nervous going into the game.
“I did well in the last couple of inter-team games but it’s very different when it’s against real opposition in international cricket so a lot of nerves but once I was off the mark I was happy.”
England and West Indies players took a knee before the opening T20 of the five-game series in support of Black Lives Matter – a gesture Beaumont felt was important to be a part of.
“We really wanted to do something,” she added. “A lot has been done already within cricket at the beginning of the summer but this is our first game and we really wanted to make a stand.
“Particularly for Black Lives Matter and it was a really powerful moment, I think. It’s really important for anyone with any kind of platform to really stand up for what matters.”