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04 April 2022

England ‘didn’t find answer’ to Alyssa Healy and Australia, admits Heather Knight

04 April 2022

England captain Heather Knight admitted Australia had been too strong on the day after defeat in the Women’s World Cup final in Christchurch.

Alyssa Healy struck a brilliant 170 as Australia regained the crown with a 71-run victory over the 2017 winners in Christchurch.

Nat Sciver did hit a fine unbeaten 148 in England’s reply but Australia’s formidable 356 for five, after being put in to bat, proved beyond them.

Healy’s innings put the game beyond England (PA) (PA Wire)

Knight said on Sky Sports: “It was probably a 50-50 decision at the toss, whether to bat or bowl first, but credit to Australia, to bring that sort of performance in a World Cup final was outstanding.

“Alyssa’s innings was remarkable – not a pleasure to watch but one of the best innings I’ve seen live.

“I guess we didn’t quite find an answer. It was an amazing wicket, really hard to defend.

“If we’d kept them just above 300 – which was about par – we’d have had a good chance of chasing it down.”

Knight was nevertheless proud of her team’s performance in reaching the final after losing their first three matches of the tournament.

She said: “I am super-proud of the group, how we manged to turn things around – the fact we’ve shown that resilience and character to turn things around and be in with a shot of winning of the World Cup. Unfortunately one (more) win was too many for us.”

Knight also paid tribute to Sciver for her effort in a losing cause.

She said: “It was remarkable, unbelievable from Nat. The skill against spin and seam, scoring all round the ground – it was unfortunate we couldn’t have someone stay with her.

England fell short despite Sciver’s century (PA) (PA Wire)

“The runs on the board meant we had to take a few more risks and unfortunately we couldn’t have that big partnership, which is something Australia do outstandingly and something we can learn from.

“When they are in there they are ruthless and really take a game away from the opposition.”

Healy was named both player of the match and the tournament.

Her 170, which came from 138 balls and included 26 fours, was a record for a World Cup final – women’s or men’s.

I never in my wildest dreams thought I'd do anything like that.

Healy said: “Our team sets out to win events like this and you want to contribute to that. Everyone is keen to get out there and do just that, so I’m grateful for the opportunity.

“You probably couldn’t ask for anything more, to get sent in to bat and put a huge total on the board. I’m really proud of our batting unit and to be able to do it once more on the biggest stage was pretty impressive.

“I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d do anything like that, so it was pretty cool.”

Australia captain Lanning felt her side’s success was well deserved.

Lanning said: “We have been extremely consistent over a long period of time. It’s been a massive build-up to this tournament, it’s been a long time coming, and to come out and perform so well, throughout the whole tournament, is pretty amazing. I think we deserved the victory today.”

On Healy’s performance she said: “It was incredible. Some of those shots were ridiculous.

“Just to put the bowlers under pressure was important and she set the base really nicely for us to explode at the back end.”

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