Knight confident England can rise to occasion in Women’s World Twenty20 final

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Heather Knight is confident England can rise to the occasion again and defeat Australia in the final of the Women’s World Twenty20 in Antigua on Saturday night.

England are looking to claim their second-successive global title after last summer’s dramatic victory over India in the World Cup final, and captain Knight hopes that experience can prove valuable.

She told Press Association Sport: “It gives you confidence that you can handle that sort of occasion and the pressure that goes with global finals. Hopefully there’ll be another good crowd as there was for the semi-finals.

“It’s a completely different format, different team but the chance to be double world champions is very special. The team did it in 2009, so it’s a chance for us to write our names in the history books.”

The 2009 edition was the tournament’s first, and England have reached two further finals, losing to Australia in 2012 and 2014.

They go into the final buoyed by a fine performance in the semi-finals on Thursday night when they dominated against India, who had won all their group matches, triumphing by eight wickets.

England bowled out India for 112 and chased down the runs comfortably, with Amy Jones and Natalie Sciver both scoring half-centuries.

“It was a really clinical performance the way we chased down that score with Nat and Amy in particular choosing the simple options and knocking off that score with ease,” said Knight.

“It’s really pleasing. We finished quite late last night, I think I got to sleep at 2.30am, so it’s quite a quick turnaround but all eyes are on Australia now.”

Jones has emerged as a key member of the team after stepping into the considerable shoes of Sarah Taylor, who missed the tournament as she continues to manage her anxiety.

Key bowler Katherine Brunt was then ruled out on the eve of the tournament with a back injury and England began the competition with three debutantes.

Knight said: “It was a great opportunity for Amy taking over the gloves for this tour and obviously batting at number three in that key position and she’s been great.

“The players coming through have really looked at home on the international stage straight away. It’s a great sign of how strong English cricket is and the girls coming through are really chomping at the bit. That’s something that’s pushed us forward I think.

“Obviously we’ll be bitterly disappointed if we can’t win that final tomorrow but it will be a really stern test for us.”

Australia lost to India in their final group game but convincingly defeated hosts West Indies to reach another final, and there will be no secrets between the sides.

Knight is taking confidence from England winning the Twenty20 part of last winter’s Ashes to tie the series.

“It’s a team we know very well,” she said. “It’s the old rivalry, isn’t it, and historically probably the two best teams in women’s cricket. I think it’s going to be a great final.

“They’re very strong, as are we. They’ve obviously got a very strong batting line-up, they bat deep, and our bowlers have been a real standout in this tournament.

“Our spinners in particular were outstanding last night so it’s about trying to keep them quiet and just being smart. It’s about holding our nerve and also showing that fight and grit that’s been a really strong suit of ours. We know we’re never out of a game and in finals that’s really important.”

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