Women’s Cricket World Cup: Heather Knight says England must improve after collapse in win over New Zealand

“One of us has to go on and finish the job and we have to be better at soaking up pressure”; England captain Heather Knight insists her side must improve after a narrow one-wicket World Cup win over New Zealand; Kate Cross cautions against negativity but says England must be more clinical

Last Updated: 20/03/22 10:09am

Heather Knight wants to see more from England after they nearly threw away a winning position against New Zealand

England captain Heather Knight says her side “need to be better” after scraping home by one wicket in their must-win clash with New Zealand at the Women’s Cricket World Cup.

A late collapse of 5-20 almost saw England come up short as they chased down the White Ferns’ below-par total of 203 at Eden Park, but Anya Shrubsole kept her cool to hit the winning runs in the 48th over.

The victory keeps the defending champions in with a chance of making knockout stages and wins over the group’s two bottom sides Bangladesh and Pakistan should be enough to see them through, although it is likely to come down to net run-rate.

“Credit to the Kiwis, they fought so hard and made it interesting in the end,” Knight said at the post-match presentation.

England survived a late collapse to beat New Zealand by one wicket and keep their World Cup hopes alive

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England survived a late collapse to beat New Zealand by one wicket and keep their World Cup hopes alive

England survived a late collapse to beat New Zealand by one wicket and keep their World Cup hopes alive

“Just relieved to get over the line. It shouldn’t have been that close; we need to be better than that but today was all about getting the win and luckily, we did that.

“We’ve got to be better, the top-order, myself included, one of us has to go on and finish the job and we have to be better at soaking up pressure.

“There is a bit of relief there and we’ll take being on the right side of this win and reflect on what we could have done better and how we should have made it easier.”

While England are yet to show their best form in the tournament, Knight believes they are improving as they move towards the business end of the competition.

West Indies vs Pakistan

March 21, 2022, 12:30am

Live on

“I think we’re building nicely; we’ve got players performing well,” she added. “Kate Cross was outstanding again, Nat Sciver with ball and the two spinners, in particular, were grand.

“It still hasn’t clicked for us yet; we’ve still haven’t quite put in our best cricket so hopefully that is to come. We’ve obviously got two massive must-win games to give us a chance of making the semis.”

Cross: We’re not being clinical enough

Kate Cross was one of England’s standout performers with the ball, taking 3-35, and while she admitted the team were frustrated to have allowed the game to get so close, it was important not to be too downbeat after such a crucial win.

“We’re not being clinical enough, I guess,” the seamer told reporters. “If we look at that performance, I thought we did the first half very well to restrict New Zealand to just over 200 after the start they got. It was a great effort in the field and with the ball.

“Today was the performance I was looking for with the ball. I’ve not felt like I’ve contributed as much as I would’ve liked in the first few games so feeling good”

England seamer Kate Cross

“But we talk so much about partnerships, and we couldn’t quite extend a batting partnership today. Nat [Sciver] and Heather batted well but you just needed someone to stay out there and try and see us home.

“If we’re being honest, the weather changed the pitch a little bit, it started skidding on and we didn’t adjust to that as well as we should have done as a batting unit.

“It feels like we’ve lost – there is a lot of negative chat around it – which is obviously not the case, we’ve just won a must-win game of cricket against New Zealand on their home soil at Eden Park in front of a big crowd.

England vs Pakistan

March 24, 2022, 12:30am

Live on

“To come away with two points is massive and we shouldn’t be too disheartened either. We did half of that game very, very well and tournament cricket is all about peaking at the right times so as long as we can keep going and keep making improvements, which I feel like we have since the first couple of games, then hopefully we can get ourselves into that knockout stage.”

Watch West Indies Women against Pakistan Women from 12.30am, Monday before England Women take on Pakistan Women in another must-win World Cup clash from 12.30am on Thursday. Both games are live on Sky Sports World Cup.

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