SA vs England, T20 World Cup – Heather Knight – England commit to attacking future after coming up short in semi-final
South Africa stifled England with a perfect performance before a 7,507-strong home crowd at Newlands to secure a place in Sunday’s final against Australia, after asking England to break their own record for the highest successful run-chase at a T20 World Cup – they got within seven runs of doing so.
“There’s certainly things you can do better,” Knight said. “The experience of playing under what was an awesome crowd was a great experience and I think the younger players in particular will learn a lot from that. A lot of them have played in front of big crowds, but when there’s so much on it and when it’s a World Cup semi-final, that does add to it.
“But I think remembering, as a side, this match doesn’t define us. The way we’ve made a mentality shift and changed the way we want to play a little bit, and really tried to take the game forward, is something we should be really proud of and we’ll keep faith in. In T20 cricket, sometimes you’re going to lose games unfortunately. And today wasn’t our day.”
“The way we’ve played has certainly been entertaining and it’s certainly the way forward to being successful,” Knight said. “There’s always risk in playing that way, but it shows that we’ve nearly chased that down. That is the right strategy to go forward. I think we’re building something nicely, obviously it hasn’t quite come off in this tournament, unfortunately, and today, but I think the future looks bright.”
“We certainly believed as a side that we could win,” Knight said. “The crowd behind them was certainly a factor, you certainly felt it as the opposition. I think they held their nerve pretty well. Their bowlers took it as deep as they could and picked up a few wickets, which meant the rate climbed quite quickly. They seemed pretty clear under pressure.”
Amy Jones, who had contributed two valuable scores in the 40s in the previous two matches but fell victim to Khaka early on this occasion, said England simply failed to execute in the key moments.
“South Africa came at us hard and in front of a home crowd really put on a show,” Jones said. “There were times when it was in the balance and we started really well for both innings and we were ahead of the game, so the back end of both innings is where we lost it and in the field at times as well.
“Throughout this tournament we’ve said we want to put pressure on the opposition at any point and stick to our strengths, and in the field that looks like completely attacking the ball and throwing yourself around and supporting your team-mates as much as possible. We did that, I think it was just execution and, similarly at the back end as well with the bat, we took positive options and stuck to our strengths, but lost too many wickets.
“We wanted to win this game more than anything, but I think going forward, it’s something we believe in, something that we’ll continue to do and will stand us in good stead.”
Valkerie Baynes is a general editor, women’s cricket, at ESPNcricinfo