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Women’s T20 World Cup : England cannot afford another slow start : Heather Knight

Paarl (South Africa) : Ahead of their Womens T20 World Cup 2023 campaign opener against West Indies, England captain Heather Knight on Friday said that her side cannot afford another slow start in the prestigious ICC tournament and want to hit the ground running from their first match and go over the top.

The 2009 champions England lost the opening match of the previous edition of this tournament in 2020 before recovering to reach the semi-finals. They also suffered three defeats at the start of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 before bouncing back to reach the final.

“With T20 World Cups, we have learned previously, you don’t have enough time to make any slip-ups. And obviously, we didn’t start particularly fast in that last World Cup in Australia, so it’s been a key focus for us all the time any series that we start,” said Knight, who will be leading her side for a third time in T20 World Cups.

“We want to really start fast, hit the ground running and almost go over the top in how we want to do things. We’ve talked about having a clear plan about how we want to do things, and being really brave with it,” she added.

England previously faced the West Indies in a five-match series last December, with Knight’s side strolling to a clean sweep. However, the Windies will be able to call on more of their experienced players and Knight knows they will be a force to be reckoned with.

“It’s really important that we don’t think too much about that five-match series, I think this is quite a tough game for us. We’ve had a lot of success against them recently so we have to see it as a completely fresh game,” the England skipper said.

“The main thing that we’re going to do is do things how we want to do them. We’ll obviously have slightly different plans for different players, but I think our mentality wants to be about doing what we do best and then shifting slightly if we need to,” she added.

The West Indies will be led by Hayley Matthews, the hero of the 2016 final when the Maroon Warriors won their only title. Matthews took over from long-serving skipper Stafanie Taylor last year and has looked to bring the team forward in her own way.

“I think over the last couple of months it has been quite challenging, but with those challenges, I was able to learn a lot myself. I think with any team, we’ve tried to help shift the culture a little bit, to really try to take on a bit more professionalism about our game,” the all-rounder said.

Taylor is facing a race against time to be fit, but Matthews is able to call on experienced players like Chinelle Henry and Britney Cooper. “It’s going to be really good for us that we can get out there and have a strong group of players to pick from.

The prospect of Staf, hopefully, coming back in that first game tomorrow is going to be something really good to see,” Matthews said. “We’ve had a couple of injuries over the last couple of weeks, but we know that we can go there, hopefully with a much stronger side and put on a good performance,” she added.



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