Heather Knight hails England’s strength in depth following T20 series victory over New Zealand | Cricket News


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Knight inspired her side to a series victory in her 200th England appearance after marking her return from a hamstring injury with 42; watch the first one-day international on Thursday September 16, live from Bristol on Sky Sports Cricket

Last Updated: 10/09/21 7:38pm

Knight made a winning return to the fold on her 200th England appearance

Knight made a winning return to the fold on her 200th England appearance

Heather Knight hailed her side’s strength in depth after marking her 200th England appearance with a T20 series victory over New Zealand at Taunton.

After New Zealand posted 144-4 from their 20 overs, Knight led England to the cusp of victory on her return from a hamstring injury, making 42 from just 36 deliveries after the hosts were stuttering at 42-3 at one stage.

The England captain shared partnerships of 55 and 40 with Amy Jones (32 off 19) and Sophia Dunkley (22 no off 21) respectively, before Dunkley kept her composure to seal victory with a ball to spare.

“I’ve been sat on the sidelines in the last two games, so it was really nice to get back out there,” Knight told the ECB.

“I’m not a great watcher to be honest, so I really enjoyed getting back out there with the girls, and I thought it was a brilliant game of cricket.

“We always felt like it was in control; it probably got a bit tighter towards the end than we wanted it to, but it was great for Sophia Dunkley to deal with that pressure and see the side home.”

Dunkley has been in prolific form throughout the summer, having starred on both her Test and ODI debuts against India in June.

The best of the action from the third T20I between England and New Zealand Women.

The best of the action from the third T20I between England and New Zealand Women.

The best of the action from the third T20I between England and New Zealand Women.

The 23-year-old also finished third on the list of leading run-scorers in the Hundred, behind international stars Dane van Niekerk and Jemimah Rodrigues, and Knight was full of praise for her young team-mate.

“She has been so eager to learn and just improve, and work on her mentality as well as her cricket skills which are in a really good place at the moment. I’m really proud of her and now she feels a lot more calm, a lot more composed,” Knight added.

“It is something she worked really hard at and something that probably didn’t come naturally to her at the start of her career, but I think she has realised how much time she has.

“I am sure there will be some bumps along the way as you have with young players, but the way she has shown that maturity is really pleasing.”

Sophia Dunkley held her nerve in a dramatic run chase (PA Images)

Sophia Dunkley held her nerve in a dramatic run chase (PA Images)

England looked poised to restrict New Zealand to an under-par total after 15 overs, with Sarah Glenn (1-20 off 4) and Katherine Brunt (0-25) the most economical.

However, a late flurry from New Zealand saw them post a defendable total, but Knight, Jones, Dunkley and Danni Wyatt (35) all chipped in to cap off a solid team performance.

“It was probably not our perfect performance, but I thought there was some really good stuff. Sarah Glenn bowled really well, Katherine Brunt up top was brilliant, and to deal with the pressure of the chase was outstanding.

“Amy [Jones] and Danni [Wyatt} were great; taking the game to what was reasonably comfortable. I’m really pleased with the fact we’ve won a big game under pressure, it is really good signs for this side and it’s different people contributing as well.

Knight marked her milestone appearance in style (PA Images)

Knight marked her milestone appearance in style (PA Images)

“If someone has a bad day there’s lots of players that can step up and be match-winners in their own right. Credit to New Zealand for pushing us really hard and taking it to that last over, but I’m delighted with how the girls performed and happy we’ve got the series win.”

England enjoyed a perfect start to the series at Chelmsford, as Tammy Beaumont (97) produced an inspired innings en route to a comprehensive victory, but New Zealand punished a lacklustre display from the hosts at Hove to leave the series in the balance.

However, Knight praised the character shown by her side at Taunton, and admitted that selection has never been tougher after Emma Lamb and Maia Bouchier became the latest players to make their white-ball debuts during the series.

I think the depth that we’ve got in this country now is brilliant…Everyone feels like they’re fighting for their place which is a good place to be.”

Knight hails England’s strength in depth

“That first game was a real stellar performance from us, it was almost the perfect performance. The last two have tested us; we were off at Hove, not at the standard we want to be at as a side, but the way the girls turned it around was really pleasing.”

“Selection is getting harder all the time. I think the depth that we’ve got in this country now is brilliant and certainly in the discussions that we’ve had, we have been talking about a lot more players.

“Everyone feels like they’re fighting for their place which is a good place to be. There’s lots of players that we’ve been picking from, and hopefully we keep being successful and pushing each other forward.”

Watch the first one-day international between England and New Zealand live on Sky Sports Cricket from 12.30pm on Thursday, September 16.





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