Women's T20 World Cup: England spinner Sophie Ecclestone 'thrives on pressure'


Women’s T20 World Cup highlights: Sciver makes 57 as England beat West Indies

Left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone says pressure “brings out the best in me” after she helped England reach the Women’s T20 World Cup semi-finals.

England crushed West Indies by 46 runs in their final group match, with Ecclestone taking a superb 3-7 from 3.1 overs to ensure her side’s progress.

England lost their first match to South Africa but have been convincing winners in their final three group games.

“It was a bit of a wake-up call for us all,” said Ecclestone, 20.

“We had to be like ‘right, we’re in the World Cup now, we need to up our game’.

“We have done that and I’m really glad with how the girls have fought back.”

England are into the semi-finals of the tournament for the fifth consecutive time.

They have not lifted the trophy since the inaugural edition in 2009, and they will face either unbeaten India or the winners of Monday’s Australia-New Zealand game in the last four.

England are currently top of Group B but South Africa will replace them if they beat West Indies in the final Group B match on Tuesday.

Ecclestone thrives on pressure

Ecclestone removes opener Dottin for nine

Sterner tests will await than West Indies – and the only match England lost was against fellow semi-finalists South Africa – but it was a good win for Heather Knight’s side.

Ecclestone and Natalie Sciver have been the key players for England, with Sciver having scored 202 runs from her four World Cup innings.

In taking three wickets against West Indies, Ecclestone became the youngest female player to 50 T20 international wickets.

Only India leg-spinner Poonam Yadav has taken more wickets in the tournament, with nine from four matches.

Despite her young age, Ecclestone is a key part of England’s side, bowling a super over in the recent tri-series against Australia, as well as bowling in the powerplay throughout the tournament.

“The pressure being on me brings the best out of me,” Ecclestone said.

“When I’ve got pressure on me I perform at my best, but this game, I just needed to keep it simple.”

Jones showed ‘amazing character’ – Knight

Beaumont out lbw without scoring

England opted to move Amy Jones, who had opened in the previous three matches, down the order, with Tammy Beaumont replacing her.

Beaumont fell for a second-ball duck but Jones, coming in at six, seemed more settled, helping England take 36 runs from the final three overs.

“Amy has had a few low scores and we wanted to change something at the top of the order,” explained Knight.

“She showed amazing character to come out like that down the order and play so well.”

Off-spinner Mady Villiers, recalled in place of Lauren Winfield, also impressed with 1-30 from her four overs, taking a superb one-handed caught and bowled chance to dismiss Shemaine Campbell which helped hurry a middle-order collapse by West Indies.

“As a bowling unit we’ve been outstanding,” all-rounder Sciver told BBC Test Match Special.

“They’ve done so well to create pressure through dot balls.

“Whoever we play in the semi-final, it’s going to be a big game, and hopefully we can perform when the pressure is on.”

What a catch! – Campbelle is caught and bowled by Villiers

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