Women’s World Cup: Heather Knight says England are undaunted ahead of title defense but Australia are the favorites | Cricket News

Heather Knight’s side starts the defense of the title they won on home soil in 2017 against Australia, who have lost just one ODI since 2018; watch every World Cup game live on Sky Sports from March 4

Last Updated: 26/02/22 1:33 pm

The Women's World Cup, starting on March 4, is being held in New Zealand

The Women’s World Cup, starting on March 4, is being held in New Zealand

Captain Heather Knight is confident England have the resilience to put up a strong title defense at the Women’s World Cup in New Zealand but concedes Australia are rightly the tournament favorites.

England open their campaign against Australia on March 5 in Hamilton, live on Sky Sports, with their Ashes conquerors having lost just one ODI since 2018.

Knight, who led England to victory on home soil in the 2017 World Cup, saw her side lose the multi-format Ashes series 12-4, including defeats in all three ODIs as they failed to win a game on the tour.

“I think five years is quite a long time in international cricket and obviously Australia have been the outstanding team throughout that period and naturally, deservedly they go in as favorites,” she said.

“I do not think so [being defending champions] hangs heavy at all on our shoulders. I think the tournament we had in 2017 will give a lot of the players confidence that they can deal with the ebbs and flows of the tournament and know how to be successful in World Cups.

“We’ll be trying to take experience from that and we’re not too worried about having the tag of obviously being reigning champions.”

England captain Heather Knight reacts to a ruling allowing backroom staff to act as emergency fielders at the Women's World Cup

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England captain Heather Knight reacts to a ruling allowing backroom staff to act as emergency fielders at the Women’s World Cup

England captain Heather Knight reacts to a ruling allowing backroom staff to act as emergency fielders at the Women’s World Cup

Knight is excited by the ability within the 15-member squad for the tournament under Australian head coach Lisa Keightley, with six other winners from the successful campaign in 2017 also present.

England, who enjoyed a successful tour of hosts New Zealand last winter, have warm-up matches against Bangladesh and South Africa before the tournament starts on March 4.

“Naturally the team evolves into World Cup cycles,” she added.

“I think the last couple of years with Lisa coming in, the changes we’ve made as a bowling unit, we’ve really tried to be a little bit more aggressive, a little bit more attacking, look to take wickets particularly up front and through that middle phase.

“You’re just trying to get your players together that are going to be successful during those five years preparing for a World Cup. In the last couple of years before a World Cup, you are trying to really build to peak at that time. “

England squad

Heather Knight (cap), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Freya Davies, Charlie Dean, Sophia Dunkley, Kate Cross, Sophie Ecclestone, Tash Farrant, Amy Jones, Emma Lamb, Nat Sciver (vice-captain), Anya Shrubsole, Lauren Winfield- Hill, Danni Wyatt

Traveling reserves: Lauren Bell, Mady Villiers

England fixtures

March 5 – Australia (Hamilton)

March 9 – West Indies (Dunedin)

March 14 – South Africa (Mount Maunganui)

March 16 – India (Mount Maunganui)

March 20 – New Zealand (Auckland)

March 24 – Pakistan (Christchurch)

March 25 – Bangladesh (Wellington)

Watch the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup live on Sky Sports from Friday, March 4. Coverage of the tournament opener – hosts New Zealand vs West Indies – gets underway at 12.30am on Sky Sports Cricket. England vs Australia is live from 12.30am on Saturday, March 5.

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