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Match Analysis

Amy Jones rides the emotions to deliver dream 100th match

Keeper overhauls Sarah Taylor's dismissals record after rescuing England with bat

Valkerie Baynes
Valkerie Baynes
11-May-2024
Amy Jones takes the catch to dismiss Muneeba Ali, England vs Pakistan, 1st women's T20I, Birmingham, May 11, 2024

Amy Jones takes the catch to dismiss Muneeba Ali  •  ECB/Getty Images

For a long while, Amy Jones had to content with the notion that she'd been born in the "wrong generation", as perennial understudy to Sarah Taylor, regarded as one of the world's greatest wicketkeepers.
And while it has been Jones's time since Taylor's retirement in 2019, she crossed a significant milestone on Saturday during a Player-of-the-Match performance in England's 53-run win over Pakistan at Edgbaston in the first of three T20Is.
It was a dream 100th international in the format for Jones at her home ground, her 37 runs helping rescue the hosts from a dire 11 for 4 after 17 balls of the match and her four catches taking her to 75 dismissals for England Women, past Taylor's record of 74.
"Sarah is a brilliant wicketkeeper and someone I looked up to massively and I think someone who's inspired a lot of the keepers in England, so that's a cool stat," Jones said after the match.
"I wondered if I was ever going to get the gloves. I think there was a long period there where, yeah, 'wrong generation' was thrown around a lot and it didn't quite click with just the batting on its own."
Jones's batting certainly clicked during England's recent tour of New Zealand with scores of 92 not out, 48 and 50 in the three ODIs following a lean run in the five-match T20I series. That turnaround, she said, had been the result of a fresh mental approach and she has managed to maintain her form, despite considerable hype around this match, in front of a crowd of more than 12,000.
With her side reeling in the face of some impressive bowling from seamer Waheeda Akhtar and left-arm spinner Saida Iqbal, Jones's 27-ball knock proved crucial in a 67-run stand with captain Heather Knight, who fell one run short of a half-century. Both could only watch as Dani Gibson struck an unbeaten 41, her international career-best, while sharing an unbroken stand worth 44 with Sophie Ecclestone to see England to a respectable total of 163 for 6.
Jones had played a similar role in a losing cause during the Ashes last year at the same ground, her 21-ball 40 not out giving England something to defend after another shaky start, while her unbeaten 36 helped seal victory against South Africa here during the Commonwealth Games in 2022.
Leg-spinner Sarah Glenn took her best international figures of 4 for 12 to ensure Pakistan were bowled out for 110, giving England victory even if the margin flattered them somewhat after such a poor start with the bat and the ball. Pakistan began their run-chase brightly via Sadaf Shamas in particular, before losing their last eight wickets for 44 runs.
Jones admitted to feeling "under a bit of pressure" as she walked out to bat at No. 6 before settling into the rebuilding task with Knight. And those initial nerves weren't helped by the attention surrounding her milestone match.
"I don't know if the first game of the summer gets me a bit as well, to be honest, every year," she said. "I was a bit nervous this morning around the hotel and then once you get going it sort of fizzles out. But I've had a lot of attention, which is not my favourite, but I've appreciated the love. So yeah, a little bit of extra nerves I'd say.
"We won comfortably in the end but we were challenged at different moments and quite a lot of the start, so lots of learnings and it's good, not a straightforward win, so lots to take from it."
The series continues with T20s in Northampton on Friday and Leeds on Sunday before a three-match ODI series.

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor, women's cricket, at ESPNcricinfo