After a shock omission from England’s T20I squad for the Commonwealth Games, which will also contest the final three-match leg of the multi-format series with South Africa starting on Thursday, Beaumont’s 119 off 107 balls as England won the third and final ODI in Leicester by 109 runs sent a clear message that she’s still at the top of her game.
“I was obviously pretty gutted about a week ago when I when I found out but it was just a case of trying to find a way to get myself in the best headspace to play the last couple of games,” Beaumont said. “I guess it is what it is. I hope that in the future I’ll get another go in T20 cricket.
“I hope I’ve got a lot more to give for all formats for England but massively wish the girls the best of luck. I think it’s a really exciting team to go in and maybe bring that gold home but yeah, gutted that I won’t be there.”
She revealed her philosophy on form during a hot run of it, helping England to victory over India in Bristol last June with a run-a-ball 87 that marked her fourth consecutive fifty in ODIs.
This year in T20Is, however, Beaumont has made just 36 runs in two games, albeit amid limited opportunities, given that they are the only two matches England have played in the format with all attention on their World Cup defence, and that one of those two Ashes games was rained off. Having scored a 65-ball 97 against New Zealand in a home T20I series last September, Beaumont played out-of-position in the middle order at the T20 World Cup in 2020 and has a career strike rate of 108.37 in the format.
Now that England’s focus is about to swing back to T20 for a home Commonwealth Games, however, Beaumont’s only opportunity to work on her short game will be the Hundred – another format again – as England prepare to experiment without her in Birmingham.
That experiment could involve Danni Wyatt, who opened after replacing Lauren Winfield-Hill mid-World Cup, at the top with Bryony Smith, who played the last of her four games for England in an ODI against West Indies two years ago. Lamb, the fifth-highest run-scorer in this year’s Charlotte Edwards Cup, also missed on on T20 selection, despite amassing 234 runs at 78.00 in the series with South Africa, at a strike rate of 102.63.
Monday’s knock from Beaumont was brilliantly crafted on an excellent batting track in searing heat. She found the boundary regularly, pulling Shabnim Ismail to the rope in front of square off just the fifth ball of the match and cracking Marizanne Kapp through cover in the next over.
She advanced to Nonkululeko Mlaba for a stunning drive through extra cover and again to lamp Chloe Tryon over the sightscreen for the only six of her innings. Three more fours in one Ismail over preceded back-to-back sweeps off Mlaba on her way to 19 fours in all.
Beaumont brought up her century moments later, pressing a single off Mlaba wide of mid-off, then punching the air and acknowledging the changing room with arms spread wide in triumph and a broad smile on her face before embracing Dunkley. Her ninth century moved her equal third with Charlotte Edwards on the women’s ODI list.
She eventually fell skipping down to Mlaba again but failing to connect and spinning round to see Trisha Chetty whipping off the bails. Later, in the field, she thrilled spectators cheering her from beyond deep square leg with a flourish and a bow and she said had banished all thoughts of her Commonwealth Games omission during her innings.
“I think it was probably right at the very back of my mind,” Beaumont said. “You don’t score runs thinking about things other than the ball, and one ball at a time. As one of my trusted friends told me a couple of days ago, you’ve got to go one ball at a time if you’re going to get anywhere so no, it wasn’t really front and centre.”
Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo