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England hit Pakistan for highest-ever World Cup total as Natalie Sciver stars

The Independent logo The Independent 28-06-2017
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England got their World Cup campaign back on track in some style at Leicester, racking up their highest-ever score in the tournament to comfortably see off Pakistan at Leicester.

Natalie Sciver (137) starred, scoring with her maiden ODI century as the hosts posted 377-7. Her captain Heather Knight did the same, scoring 106 off 109, but saved the plaudits for her team-mate, “the Ben Stokes of our team”.

Pakistan finished on 107-3 before the rain came down at 4.25pm, as England romped home by 107 runs (D/L method).

Knight, who joined Sciver in a 213-run partnership, equalling the record 3rd-wicket stand for England in ODIs, was full of praise for the Surrey all-rounder, adding: “She is someone that is lovely to bat with. She keeps the scoreboard ticking so it takes pressure off you at the other end.”

Rain had originally delayed the start of play by half an hour, and England then lost openers Sarah Taylor and Tammy Beaumont early after Sana Mir won the toss and inserted her opponents, leaving England 48-2 after 10 overs.

But with the introduction of Pakistan’s spinners in the 14th over, Knight and Sciver went into full-on attack mode, in a breathtaking display of dominance with the bat.

“Pakistan hit us quite hard,” Knight admitted. “They were quite aggressive and were in our faces with the new ball - swung it a little bit and there was a little period where we had to soak up a bit of pressure.”

“But Nat was brilliant when she came in, and it was pleasing to get through that early pressure and get a partnership together.”

Sciver looked imperious from the start, dispatching one early over by left-arm spinner Nashra Sandhu for 17 runs, and eventually bringing up the fastest ever century by an Englishwoman at a World Cup (76 balls).

Knight, meanwhile, started scratchily but eventually found her feet, slogging the first six of the day over midwicket and going on to amass her own century in 105 deliveries.

Even when the pair were dismissed, England’s domination of the Pakistani attack continued unabated, as Fran Wilson and Danielle Wyatt shared a quickfire 50-run partnership in 30 balls to ensure England made it to their second highest ever total in ODIs.

“We know that with our batting we’ve got strength in depth and some real hitters of the ball,” Knight said. “It is the type of cricket that we want to play - we want to be exciting - we want to show what we can do.”

England’s Katherine Brunt also fought back after a lacklustre display in the opening game against India to take 2 quick wickets at the start of the Pakistani innings, meaning they were well behind the Duckworth-Lewis par score by the time the heavens opened, despite an unbeaten 56* from opener Ayesha Zafar.

Overall Knight was pleased with the way her team came back today after Saturday’s 35-run loss to India: “It is a great performance. The confidence is high, particularly among the batters at the moment, and we’ll take that into the next few games.”

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