Heather Knight, England skipper, hopes women’s cricket can cash in on the success of the recently concluded ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 in Australia. A record 86,174 people attended the final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground quashing any doubts of the growing popularity and marketability of the sport.
England, who were scheduled to face India in the first semi-final of the tournament, were denied a chance to take the field and thereby cruelly knocked out out of the tournament due to incessant rain in Sydney. By virtue of topping Group A, India progressed through to the final where they ended up facing Australia in the title clash on March 8.
Knight, who stayed back for and watched the final despite the disappointment of the semi-final, said the significance of the big game was not lost on her. She was amazed by the atmosphere created by the incredible crowd and also the performance of pop sensation Katy Perry.
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“I knew it was going to be an amazing day and it was,” she told the Sky Sports Cricket Podcast. “It was tough watching but what a day! As soon as Katy Perry came out with those pink glittery bats you thought, ‘wow, this is pretty unique for women’s cricket.’
“There were 86,000 people and hopefully it’s not just for one day and is something that can continue for the future of the game.”
Heather Knight also added that there was a high standard of cricket in T20 World Cup, and even teams like Bangladesh and Pakistan – previously considered pushovers – showed a lot of fight and character. She also enjoyed watching Thailand, their attacking style of play against Pakistan particularly catching her eye.
“I think the standard has really improved over the last few years. The best standard probably wasn’t shown early in that World Cup – it felt like there were a lot of nerves, a lot of tentative cricket with it being such a big tournament and there were some upsets.”
“I loved Thailand’s 150 against Pakistan, some of the shots on the highlights reel were outstanding, some of the best you will see.”
“That’s a positive from the tournament. Teams like Sri Lanka were pushing New Zealand and Australia really close, Bangladesh played really well against New Zealand.”
“A criticism of the women’s game has been that the top three or four teams have pulled ahead so that balance in a world event was really nice,” she concluded.