Knight wants batters to be smart and keep their calm in tense situations
After taking over as the Head Coach of England, on multiple occasions, Lisa Keightley was vocal about the need to come up trumps when push comes to shove as a side. Skipper Heather Knight talked about taking pride in closing out games and learning more from the close defeats after the narrow defeat in the third ODI against India. During the second T20I in Hove on Sunday (July 11), England were cruising in the chase of 149 runs with the score reading 106 for two in the 14th over when they suffered a collapse to lose six wickets for just 31 runs to finish eight runs short of India’s score.
“We were cruising when we were playing very simple cricket and then losing (from) 106 for two and to lose those wickets is very frustrating for us as a team. I think (we) were just not ruthless enough. We shouldn’t be losing a game from that position, unfortunately,” Knight said at the post-match media interaction.
“We were outstanding in the majority of the game; we came back with the ball in that first innings when put under real pressure and the way the guys responded was outstanding.”
Talking about the ruthlessness to close out games, Knight feels individually as batters, they need to work out the best strategy in game situations in the middle and keep their composure in pressure situations.
“[It’s] just about being a little bit smart,” Knight said. “We have got the talent and the composure in this group to be able to win games all that easily. We just have to have a little bit of a look at ourselves and individually work out what was going on in the middle.”
“Just a little bit more composure from that middle order. To be able to stay calm and be able to get over the line is what’s needed.”
India’s bowling efforts were headlined by their spinners and leg-spinner Poonam Yadav has been impressive in particular taking two wickets giving away just 18 runs from her four overs. Although England batters had success against her in the past – on the day in Hove – they struggled to come to terms with her pace.
“She (Yadav) is just a different challenge to anything else that you face, so you have to be really clear about how you are going to go about scoring runs,” Knight said.
“Sometimes you have to hide your ego a little bit, get the ball out there and take the singles. And then obviously, you need to find a way to get the boundaries. Tammy (Beaumont) played (her) pretty well today. I guess it’s up to us to find a way to counter that.”
India were off to a quick start scoring 47 runs from the first four overs and despite going for ten runs from her first three balls Sophie Ecclestone finished with a frugal economy rate of less than six giving away only 22 runs from her four overs. Knight played down the suggestion that the left-arm spinner is sometimes put under pressure to lead the attack.
“Soph doesn’t feel the burden and she is at her best when she is keeping things simple. That’s why she has been so successful on this trip, she kept things simple and not search for wickets much,” Knight added.
“I think it’s unfair to say the whole pressure is on Soph, we have an outstanding bowling attack. The way Nat (Natalie Sciver) and Frey (Freya Davies) in particular bowled today when they were under real pressure. Shafali (Verma) got to an absolute flyer and for those girls to bowl the way they did and rein it in was outstanding.”
Post the dismissal of Beaumont, Knight was out to a bizarre run out in the same over when Amy Jones’ hit it back to the bowler Deepti Sharma and it went onto the stumps off her knee catching the England skipper short.
“It happened very quickly, I tried to get back in and felt like I couldn’t – it wasn’t anything deliberate by Deepti at all – I don’t know what body-part it came off in the end, shin or something but it was obviously given out and I have to accept that decision,” Knight said.
Apart from Knight’s dismissal, India affected three more run-outs to continue their good run in the field as they managed to restrict England eight-run shy of their score with some excellent fielding backing up the bowling.
“They did well against us in the past. They have got some athletic players and obviously improved enough. I think the standard of fielding around the world is keeping going up and it will continue to do that. In T20, it does make a big difference but I’m not really surprised (by India’s fielding),” Knight concluded.