England will stand by new approach despite semi-final loss – Heather Knight
Heather Knight insisted England’s new aggressive batting approach under Jon Lewis is not defined by their narrow six-run Women’s World Cup semi-final defeat to South Africa in Cape Town.
South Africa made history of their own by becoming the first Proteas side, men’s or women’s, to reach a World Cup final as England’s late collapse left them short of their required target of 165.
England were left to rue missed opportunities having started their chase in dominant fashion, losing a late flurry of wickets including three in the crucial 18th over.
Throughout the tournament England’s batting has been aggressive from the outset and they have looked to attack and find boundaries at any opportunity, but they lost key wickets at crucial times and missed out on a final against Australia on Sunday.
Knight said: “I think the experience of playing under an awesome crowd was great, and I think the younger players in particular will learn a lot from that.
“A lot of them are (used to) playing in front of big crowds but when there’s so much on it and when it’s a World Cup semi-final, that does add to it.
“I think (we need to be) remembering as a side this match doesn’t define us.
“I think the way we’ve made a mentality shift and changed the way we want to play a bit and really tried to take the game forward – it’s something we should be really proud of.
“I think it’s something we’ll keep faith in, but in T20 cricket sometimes you’re going to lose games unfortunately and today wasn’t our day.”
England had dominated throughout the tournament, including becoming the first ever women’s team to score more than 200 in a T20 World Cup innings during their final group match against Pakistan, but were not as cohesive in the semi-final.
Had England managed to secure victory it would have been the joint-highest successful chase in Women’s T20 World Cup history, matching England’s feat against Australia at the Oval in 2009.
Knight praised her side’s mentality, despite their semi-final shortcomings.
“I think we got pretty close to chasing the world record score,” she said.
“So I think that proves that it’s a pretty good strategy. But they were able to obviously pile runs on at the back end as we weren’t able to take the wickets.
“But I think the mentality has been outstanding, particularly in the batting group. We’ve really looked to adopt something a little bit different, it’s something we’ve laid the foundations for before Jon came in but I think we’ve noticed a real shift.
“I think it’s proving it’s entertaining. It’s not purely about risk-taking as a batter, it’s about weighing up your risks to reward, but in T20 cricket you don’t have too much time to not take risks in my opinion.”
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