Bench strength, being ruthless and overcoming pressure – England’s takeaways from India series


Heather Knight happy with how her side is shaping up ahead of next year’s World Cup

Bench strength, being ruthless and overcoming pressure are themes England Women will look to build on ahead of next year’s World Cup after winning a hard-fought multi-format series against India.

The hosts had to win their final T20I at Chelmsford on Wednesday night to win the series – encompassing a one-off Test, three ODIs and three T20Is. England prevailed by eight wickets after Danni Wyatt‘s unbeaten 89 to claim the overall trophy by 10 points to six.
Apart from opener Wyatt’s return to form after going more than 18 months without an international fifty, and another excellent performance by Nat Sciver, Player of the Series for the T20I leg, England’s ability to withstand the pressure of a must-win contest was particularly pleasing for Heather Knight, their captain.

“There’s always pressure but we knew it was the culmination of five weeks’ hard work,” Knight said. “We’ve been in a semi bubble for that time as well so there’s a few tired people around and a few people that are ready to go home so I think today was a real show of character that we were able to put in that sort of performance under pressure.”

With the bigger picture of the World Cup in New Zealand next February and March in mind, Knight drew a positive from the fact that India’s competitiveness had meant the series replicated the sort of tense situation her side could find themselves in at the global tournament.

India won the third ODI in Worcester, which was a dead-rubber in the context of the 50-over leg but which gave the visiting side valuable points in the series as a whole. They also won the second T20I in Hove when England lost six wickets for 31 in the space of 5.4 overs.

England’s collapse negated their impressive batting depth on that occasion but, provided they could avoid a similar performance in the final match, India’s total of 153 for 6 looked slightly below par, despite an impressive 70 from Smriti Mandhana. England duly overhauled the target with eight balls to spare for the loss of just two wickets, with Wyatt and Sciver putting on 112 runs together.

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