England start the World Cup defense against Australia on Saturday – live on Sky Sports from 12.30am; Heather Knight’s side beaten 12-4 by Australia at Ashes after squandering their chances of victory; skipper says England will go ‘a bit under the radar’ at this year’s World Cup in New Zealand
Last update: 03/03/22 2:50 p.m.
England captain Heather Knight says her side are fully focused on defending their World Cup title in New Zealand.
England captain Heather Knight said sky sports she is looking for her side to show a ruthless streak and “killer instinct” that was missing in their loss to the Ashes as they aim to win 50 successive World Cups.
England lost 12-4 to Australia in The Ashes earlier this year after failing to win any of the five completed games in the multi-format series – but had their chances.
Knight’s side were on course for victory in the stand-alone Test – requiring 45 more runs from 10 overs with seven wickets in hand – before collapsing and having to hang on for a thrilling draw.
Then, in the first one-day international, England held Australia to 205-9 from their 50 overs, only to fade to 178 as the Southern Stars held on to the Ashes.
Knight says his team was mentally drained after failing to win the Ashes Test match against Australia.
England were then well beaten in the last two ODIs, knocked out for 129 and 163, but have an immediate chance for revenge when they face tournament favorites Meg Lanning in the World Cup opener in Hamilton on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Cricket World Cup from 12.30am.
knight says Sky Sports’ Nasser Hussain: “I don’t think we had that killer instinct to cross the line.
“We played Australia at times and looking back I think the test match took a lot more from the team, mentally more than physically, than we thought at the time.
“It was quite difficult to come back from that and I don’t think the last two ODIs were a reflection of us as a team and how we wanted to approach our cricket. We wanted to go to Australia and be aggressive, but then we went away from that a bit.
“We’ve had some really good discussions about the intent and how we’re going to score at the World Cup. It’s going to be a full batting unit effort.
Knight relishing Australia’s challenge
“I don’t think playing Australia first is a bad thing,” added Knight, ahead of a clash with an Australian side who have won 31 of their last 33 one-day internationals.
“It gives us a chance to try and show what we didn’t quite show in The Ashes and have that killer instinct. I sincerely believe we have the skills to beat them in this game.
“Australia have earned the title of favourites. They have been the outstanding team for the last five years. We will certainly go under the radar a bit, but we are confident that we can pull it off.
“Success and winning World Cups is one of the best times of your life, but we just have to focus on that first game and play game by game, which we did well in 2017.
“We took care of each other and didn’t worry too much about other teams. That’s the advice I’ll give everyone ahead of this tournament.
“In a World Cup you prepare for a different team every time and sometimes that takes the pressure off a bit because you don’t have the option to think too much or think that an opposing player has one on you. You have a chance for a fresh head.”
England are four-time world champions, having triumphed at home in 1973, 1993 and 2017, as well as in Australia in 2009.
Nasser Hussain and Mel Jones discuss England’s chances of defending their Women’s Cricket World Cup title in New Zealand.
Victory five years ago at a sold-out Lord’s came after a dramatic turnaround, with first-time runners-up India 191-3 in 43rd of 229, only to lose seven wickets for 28 runs – Anya Shrubsole with five of them plus a run out – as England took a nine point hit.
Knight: We’re more established now.
Knight added: “The first time I watched it properly was during lockdown at home. I had the watch with Sky and I felt the emotions again, the ups and downs, and it was really nice to think about.
“But I’m definitely someone who asks, ‘What’s next? What’s the next tour? How can we improve as a team and keep moving forward?’
“We were a very young and fresh team in 2017. We didn’t have that experience. We hadn’t faced some of the best teams in the world. We didn’t really know how we were going to do it.
Former England player Lydia Greenway says England need to make sure they have the right stick if they are to have any chance of retaining the World Cup title at 50.
“Now we are quite established as players and have also added a bit of youth, which is good. There will be some nerves, maybe more from experienced players, because you have expectations and know how to what it is.
“For young players, I think it’s about encouraging them to do what they’ve done so well, encouraging them to embrace their first World Cups. I think it’s important not to change things just because it’s a huge tournament.
“Covid has taught us a lot about sometimes having to smile in situations, accepting that it’s not going to be the ideal scenario every time you go somewhere. Hopefully we can use that to our advantage.”
Watch every Women’s Cricket World Cup match live on Sky Sports. Coverage of the tournament opener – which hosts New Zealand against the West Indies in Tauranga – begins at 12.30pm on Friday on Sky Sports Cricket World Cup. England vs Australia, in Hamilton, is live from 12:30 a.m. Saturday on the same channel