|ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020
|Venues: Sydney, Perth, Canberra, Melbourne Dates: 21 February – 8 March
|Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on all games on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Sport website and app; in-play highlights (UK only) and live text commentary on BBC Sport website and app – fixtures & results and latest tables
“I’ll be on Nat’s back for the next few days – she’s often the one outscoring me!”
When Heather Knight and Natalie Sciver came together at Manuka Oval on Wednesday, England were 7-2 and potentially in a lot of trouble against Thailand.
After losing their T20 World Cup opener against South Africa, this match against Thailand, the surprise story of the tournament, was meant to be easy.
But Amy Jones fell to the second ball of the innings. And then Danni Wyatt hit a drive to cover point, and England were two down for not very many runs.
Knight and Sciver are two of England’s most important players – Knight the captain, Sciver the best batter, who is also developing as a four-over bowler in T20 cricket – and their unbroken partnership of 169 set the foundation for a thumping 98-run victory.
After an impressive performance in the Women’s Big Bash League in Australia, Knight has developed hugely as a batter.
Her power hitting, particularly over the top, has improved, and she notched 13 fours and four sixes in her unbeaten 108 from 66 balls.
“I’ve played that role at six or seven when you go in and have to hit the ball hard from ball one,” Knight said.
“Having the spell at that stage in the order has really helped with my power hitting and scoring quickly at the back end.”
Knight became the first England player, male or female, to score a century in all three international formats.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been anywhere near a hundred in T20 cricket,” Knight said.
“I’ve been out in the nineties a few times in domestic T20s, so it was nice to finally get through.”
Knight’s ton – the fourth by an Englishwoman in the shortest format, after Wyatt (twice) and Tammy Beaumont – is the first for England at a global T20 tournament.
England are among the favourites for the title, having won the 50-over World Cup in 2017, but they have not claimed the T20 crown since the inaugural event in 2009.
Their batting has been their weakest suit in recent matches – and they were in trouble again after Wyatt and Jones fell early.
“Me and Nat tried to stay really calm and get a partnership together and try to accelerate at the end,” Knight added.
“Nat was more worried about me getting to [the century] than I was.
“We probably tried to hit a few balls a bit too hard. We just tried to have a bit of fun.”
England’s third group game is against Pakistan on Friday in Canberra.
Article courtesy of BBC Sport