Heather Knight has implored England to “put a show on” in Saturday’s third T20I against West Indies, as her side face the dual incentives of sealing the five-match series with two to play and showcasing women’s international cricket live on free-to-air TV.
2-0 up in the series after 47-run wins in both of their first fixtures since the T20 World Cup in March, England have been dominant despite not yet stringing together a complete performance. In the first match, they added only 31 runs in the final five overs to stumble to 163, while in the second nobody made a defining contribution: the top score with the bat was Sarah Glenn’s 26 from No. 8, while none of the bowlers took three wickets.
“I think we haven’t played our best cricket yet,” Knight admitted on Friday, “but we’re still winning well and still posting 150+ despite probably not fulfilling our potential as a batting line-up yet. We haven’t had many people go on.
“The other night, we had lots of starts but nobody went on to get that really big score which we know wins a large percentage of games. We’re obviously looking to do that. The pitch was a little bit slower so they went a bit wider, which we probably didn’t adapt to well enough, but yeah, we’re hopeful that we’ll get some runs on the board.”
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While they are yet to put in a perfect performance, England will be buoyed by the visibility that this series has received. The third T20I will be broadcast live on the BBC – the first women’s fixture to be shown on terrestrial TV in the UK since the 1993 World Cup final – but the series has already been afforded broad coverage: Sky have made their feed available without charge on YouTube, Test Match Special has broadcast from the ground, and ESPNcricinfo has provided ball-by-ball commentary throughout.
Knight suggested that there had been “a bigger buzz around training” on Friday morning, despite the cold Derby weather, in the knowledge that Saturday’s game will be seen by a bigger audience than usual, and highlighted opener Danni Wyatt as a player who would use additional visibility as a motivation.
“This is the most visible bilateral series we’ve ever had, which is amazing,” Knight said. “Sky have been a great broadcast partner and have shown all the games free on YouTube, but to have that prime slot on the BBC is only going to increase the reach that we have. Hopefully we can put on a brilliant performance.
“[Wyatt] loves the buzz of T20 cricket and the buzz of having people to show what she can do. She’s had good signs in the first two games and hasn’t really gone on, [but] hopefully she can go out and impress tomorrow.”
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And Knight also played down concerns that with West Indies looking rusty and struggling to score fluently in the series so far, Saturday’s game might lack something in terms of a spectacle.
“It doesn’t concern me,” she said. “Our job is to win games of cricket, which we’ve been doing. The West Indies have had a little bit of a break: not many of them were training before they came over here, so that needs to be taken into account a little bit.
“I think [the second T20I] threatened to be a really good game when Deandra [Dottin] and Stafanie [Taylor] were building that partnership – we did really feel under pressure. In the first game, when Deandra was there, we always felt that they could make a game of it because we know the hitting potential she does have.
“As a side we’ve executed really well, particularly with the ball, and managed to keep them quiet. Hopefully we can continue to do that. From a captain’s point of view, in terms of the growth of the team, you want to see the girls put under pressure as much as possible, but we’re doing our job very well at the moment, and will look to continue to do that.”
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