Women’s Cricket World Cup: England ‘well-prepared’ for Pakistan | ‘Honest conversations’ aid fielding improvements | Cricket News
England saw off India and then won a tight match against New Zealand to keep themselves in contention for a World Cup semi-final place; watch the match against Pakistan live on Sky Sports from 1am on Thursday
Last Updated: 23/03/22 11:19am
Sophia Dunkley believes England’s two previous must-win group matches have ensured they are well prepared for Thursday’s Women’s World Cup clash with Pakistan.
The reigning champions edged past hosts New Zealand with a one-wicket victory in Auckland on Sunday to boost their hopes of reaching the last four, having endured a tough start to the tournament.
As a result, middle-order batter Dunkley is in no doubt the nail-biting finish to that encounter and the crucial win over India last week mean England stand in good stead ahead of the Pakistan encounter.
England vs Pakistan
March 24, 2022, 12:30am
“I think it felt like the last two games were almost semi-finals in themselves for us because, had we lost, it puts us in a terrible position, so I think having those experiences and those feelings will be great,” Dunkley said.
“Hopefully we can get a couple more wins that aren’t as nerve-wracking and aren’t as close, but good to have that experience for sure.”
England have struggled to close games out in the tournament, losing tight matches to West Indies and South Africa early on in the pool stage.
Heather Knight’s side only just got over the line against hosts New Zealand too, having looked comfortable at 176-4 in pursuit of 204, and Dunkley accepts that is something the players must address.
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“I think for me it would be finishing games off and getting that clinically done,” Dunkley said on where England need to improve most.
“I think the other day we obviously lost a few wickets late on in the game and it put us under a bit of pressure.
“So, I think having that set batter there at the end would definitely do us the world of good, so definitely looking to finish a few more games off going forward.”
Pakistan head into the game buoyed by victory over West Indies on Monday, but Dunkley and England are relishing the challenge in Christchurch.
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“I think we’re always under pressure a little bit throughout the World Cup because it is such a tight tournament,” Dunkley said.
“But I think, coming off two wins, we’re feeling pretty confident in the group and we’re in a quite a good place, so looking forward to the challenge. It’s quite an exciting opportunity.”
Wyatt: England showing what they’re about in the field
Danni Wyatt has revealed how some honest conversations have led to England upping their fielding standards to help turn around a tough start to the tournament.
Dropped catches played a part in England suffering defeats in each of their first three matches, but Wyatt believes the team have returned to the levels expected of themselves in the wins over India and New Zealand.
England all-rounder Danni Wyatt says ‘honest conversations’ over their poor fielding have shown in their last two games and discusses her move to the top of the batting order
“I’m not sure what was going on in those first three games, but we’ve had honest conversations about what we were doing wrong and what needs to be put right,” Wyatt told Sky Sports.
“In the last couple of games, it’s really shown what we’re about in the field and everyone is standing up now and enjoying being out there in the field. I really pride myself on my fielding and try to do what I can there.”
Wyatt has been promoted to open the batting alongside Tammy Beaumont in this tournament, mirroring the role she has for the team in T20 matches.
The 30-year-old has nearly 2,000 runs to her name with a strike rate of 124.19 in the shortest format and she got off to a flying start against New Zealand, hitting three boundaries before falling for 12.
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Wyatt admits she is still searching for the best approach to opening the batting in 50-over-a-side cricket, but is benefiting from the advice of batting coach Jon Lewis.
“I was really happy with the way I started in the last game,” Wyatt said. “That’s how I bat, and I think I’m better when I’m going at the bowlers.
“When I’ve been batting at my best, I’ve been running well between the wickets, showing that intent, and I back myself to clear the outfield if it’s there. It’s my job to get us off to a good start and try to go big, and that’s what ODI cricket is all about.
“Obviously, Tammy has smashed the spot at the top of the order, and it’s just about being out there, having a clear plan of what bowlers I’m going to take down and trying to build an innings, really. I’m just going out there with a clear head, which is the way forward for me.”