Knight, spinners help England outclass Pakistan

England skipper Heather Knight in action. © ICC

Heather Knight hit a brilliant 62 combined with a magical bowling display by Sarah Glenn, Anya Shrubsole and Sophie Ecclestone as allround England beat Pakistan by 42 runs in their T20 World Cup Group B encounter at the Manuka Oval in Canberra on Friday (February 28). Earlier in the day, South Africa had beaten Thailand by 113 runs.
Chasing 159, Pakistan were in all sorts trouble losing half a dozen of their batters with just 62 on board, thanks to Glenn and Ecclestone’s magic with the ball. Openers Muneeba Ali and Javeria Khan, and skipper Bismah Maroof, who starred with the bat in their opening win against West Indies all faltered as Pakistan lost five wickets for just 29 runs to go down the barrel.
Anya Shrubsole gave England the first breakthrough ripping through the gate of Muneeba (10) before Katherine Brunt accounted for Maroof (four). Glenn then had Khan (16), Iram Javed (four) and Omaima Sohail (seven) to make it tough for the Asian nation. Glenn’s figures of three wickets for 15 runs were also her best in T20Is. Aliya Riaz tried her best towards the end with a 33-ball 41 but it was too late by then. Shrubsole then dismissed Riaz and Diana Baig to complete her 100 wickets in T20Is. Pakistan finally finished at 116 in 19.4 overs.
Earlier, Heather Knight looked to be in form of her life as she recorded another half-century at the Manuka Oval to take her tally to four at the venue – she scored a ton against Thailand at the same ground on February 26.
England once again lost both their openers inside the power play with Amy Jones first to go for just two in the first over itself, thanks to a Diana Baig outswinger. Danielle Wyatt looked sublime with a 13-ball 16 studded with three boundaries but couldn’t capitalize on the start before the right-hander was brilliantly plucked out of the ground by young Ali of the bowling off Aiman Anwer.
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The Natalie Sciver-Knight combo was once again back in the middle and played cautiously taking ones and twos besides occasional boundaries. At one point in time, it looked that the pair would do a similar sort of a thing (169-run stand) like they did against Thailand but Sidra Nawaz came to Pakistan’s rescue in the 12th over.
Aliya Riaz bowled a wide down the leg side with Sciver trying to work it out to mid-wicket. The Englishwoman missed it, and the Pakistani wicket-keeper whipped off the bails in flash to give Women in Green a huge breakthrough. Meanwhile, Knight continued like the way she has been throughout the month – first in T20 Tri-series and now T20 World Cup – to bring her fifty in 39 balls.
The score could have been bigger had England not lost four quick wickets for just 25 runs in their final three overs to end at 158 for the loss of seven wickets. For Pakistan, Anwer was the pick of the bowlers scalping three wickets for 30 runs. Nida Dar proved costly leaking 43 runs in her four overs besides the two wickets she got in the final two balls of her spell. The fielding too was sloppy by the Bismah Maroof-led side as they dropped as many as four catches.
Brief scores: England 158/7 in 20 overs (Heather Knight 62, Natalie Sciver 35; Aimen Anwar 3/30) beat Pakistan 116 all out in 19.4 overs (Aliya Riaz 41; Sarah Glenn 3/15, Anya Shrubsole 3/25) by 42 runs. PoTM: Heather Knight

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