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England and Pakistan prevail to throw Group B wide open

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Heather Knight’s England bounced back from defeat to South Africa by beating Thailand, the skipper herself scoring a century and breaking records aplenty in the 98-run success.

  • Heather Knight struck a century to help England beat Thailand
  • Pakistan got their campaign underway with a confident win over West Indies
  • West Indies, South Africa, England and Pakistan all lead the way on two points

In Bismah Maroof, Pakistan could also rely on their captain as they upset 2016 champions West Indies – making their wait for a first game in Australia very worthwhile.

Her opposite number Stafanie Taylor led the way with bat and ball but defeat means that the three previous champions – West Indies, England and Australia – have all lost a group-stage match in this edition.

Classy Knight smashes records to get England motoring

Heather Knight’s unbeaten and record-breaking century helped England get their ICC Women’s T20 World Cup campaign on track with a triumphant win over Thailand in Canberra.

Knight’s 108 not out, combined with an unbeaten 59 from Nat Sciver, saw England pile up 176 for two before winning by 98 runs in their Group B match.

The pair put on 169 for the third wicket, the best for any partnership in a Women’s T20 World Cup match, after Danni Wyatt and Amy Jones were both dismissed early.

Knight’s ton was the fourth time the milestone has been reached in the tournament while she became the first female cricketer to record a century in all three formats.

Thailand’s chase of 177 was difficult from the off, unable to keep up with the rate as Natthakan Chantam led the way with 32.

Anya Shrubsole took three wickets while Sophie Ecclestone’s dismissal of the top-scorer means she has taken a scalp in her last 16 T20Is.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been anywhere near a hundred in T20 cricket, so it’s nice to finally do the business in T20,” said Knight, whose four 50+ scores in T20Is have all come at the Manuka Oval.

“I’m really pleased with how my batting’s improved in that area, and it’s not often I outscore Nat. I’ll be on her back in the next few days as it’s normally her up the other end outscoring me.

“Trying to score around the ground is something I’ve really tried to develop. I didn’t score around the ground that much today, there was a lot on the leg side and over square leg, but I’ve worked particularly on my power hitting.”

Thailand opener Naruemol Chaiwai added: “At seven for two, we were pretty optimistic and they were very big wickets to get.

“We thought it could affect the game, but maybe a bit of nerves affected our fielding. There are some things we have to work on. We were mainly very excited to get the chance to play England.

“Batting has not been easy for us in the tournament, but every batter has our own role and we have to assess the situation."

Steady Pakistan rewarded with West Indies win

Pakistan had the longest wait to get their ICC Women’s T20 World Cup campaign underway but they made up for lost time with a clinical victory over the West Indies, champions in 2016.

Experienced campaigners Bismah Maroof (38 not out) and Nida Dar (18 not out) steered Pakistan home by eight wickets in Canberra, with Javeria Khan (35) also chipping in.

Muneeba Ali (25) chipped in to help Pakistan notch their largest opening stand in Women’s T20 World Cup history, an ideal start in their bid to reach the knockout stages for the first time.

West Indies’ top-order once again struggled as quick wickets fell, with contributions from Shemaine Campbelle and Stafanie Taylor (both 43) proving not enough when setting 124 for seven.

Diana Baig shone with a tough opening spell, finishing with figures of two for 19.

"We played very well in this match,” said Bismah. "We've struggled at times in the past in the run-chase but we kept our focus, kept calm and stayed in the middle.

"We knew if we got a partnership, we had to go on and our openers played very well. Credit to Nida as well for how she finished the game.

"Diana has been bowling really well with the new ball. We took crucial wickets at good times - that's what we wanted.

"Restricting them to under 120 was great and it was good effort from the bowlers.

"I think how the openers played, they set the tone for us and we just needed to get the run-rate going. We want to play aggressive wicket and get the bad balls to the boundaries, the openers showed good intent."

West Indies all-rounder Chinelle Henry added: “The top-order aren’t going wrong. We’ve struggled a bit in the opening two games, but we have two games to go and we know as individuals they’re must-win games.

“We’re going to go back to the drawing board. In the next two days, we’re going to do what we have to do.

“I just think everybody was disappointed with the fielding performance as a unit. We can do much better - we didn’t turn up. That’s something we definitely have to figure out why it’s happened.

“Everything went wrong from the first ball of the game with Hayley getting out. As a unit, we stuck together and got to a pretty decent total.”

Scores in brief

England beat Thailand by 98 runs, Manuka Oval, Canberra

England 176-2, 20 overs (Heather Knight 108 not out, Nat Sciver 59 not out; Nattaya Boochatham 1-18)
Thailand 78-7, 20 overs (Natthakan Chantham 32; Anya Shrubsole 3-21, Nat Sciver 2-5)

Pakistan beat West Indies by eight wickets, Manuka Oval, Canberra

West Indies 124-7, 20 overs (Shemaine Campbelle 43, Stafanie Taylor 43; Diana Baig 2-19)
Pakistan 127-2, 18.2 overs (Bismah Maroof 38 not out, Javeria Khan 35; Stafanie Taylor 1-20)