Cape Town, Feb 23 (IANS) England opener Danni Wyatt reckons the pressure is completely on South Africa ahead of the second semi-final in the 2023 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup at Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town on Friday.
England, the inaugural winners of the Women’s T20 World Cup in 2009, face the hosts in the semifinal after winning all four of their group-stage matches, the last of which was a whopping 114-run victory over a hapless Pakistan.
“I think the pressure is all on South Africa. It’s the home world cup for them. So, we’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing. There’s such a calm feeling in our group at the minute, which is really nice. So, I think we’re not going to change anything.”
“Obviously, the semifinal sell-out is going to be really exciting. So, it’s just going to be really important to stay calm and just enjoy each other’s company, I guess. And just go out there, back ourselves and what will be, will be,” she said in the pre-match press conference.
Asked about the biggest challenge coming for England from the South African team, Danni signalled out their world-class players like pacer Shabnim Ismail and fast-bowling all-rounder Marizanne Kapp.
“They’ve got Ismail, Kapi, they’ve got a great bowling line-up. So, we’re going to have a think tonight about what their plans might be against us. I’ve faced Kappie and Shabbie a lot over my 13 years of playing for England.”
“So obviously they know what my strengths and weaknesses are, I know what theirs are. So, it’s going to be a good battle tomorrow and something that I can’t wait to be a part of. Let’s see how the wicket plays today in the India-Australia game and hopefully get one up on them tomorrow.”
For England, vice-captain Nat Sciver-Brunt emerges as a key player. With 176 runs at an average of 88, Nat is the leading run-scorer in the competition, with her latest exploit being a stunning 81 off 40 balls in leading England to victory over Pakistan.
“Those shots over extra cover, I was like, ‘wow Nat, you’ve been working on these. Because normally she’s very, very strong on the leg side and now she’s working on hitting through the offside. I don’t think there’s anything she can’t do at the minute. So, I’m just really glad she’s on my team and I love batting with Nat.”
“She’s a quick runner as well, which I like. We don’t really talk much in the middle. We just stick to our plan and just go out there and, you know, Nat’s very, very smart, very adaptable. And hopefully, she can carry her form into the finals.”
“She’s cool as a cucumber and nothing fazes her. Even yesterday on the cable car, she didn’t care. She’s just very chilled and it’s just, everyone looks at that and you look at her on the field and she’s just like, just feeds around the team and everyone really looks up to Nat and I’m just so glad she’s on our team.”
“She’s hitting the ball like a beach ball at the minute. So hopefully she can keep that up and never change. Even when she went for that big pay packet the other day (in the WPL auction), literally, she’s just like, nothing seems to faze her. She’s got a very consistent mood, which is the key to being a very successful cricketer,” elaborated Danni.
Danni signed off by admitting to being heartbroken over not getting a deal in the WPL, despite expressing her wish to play franchise T20 cricket in India. “I was very disappointed, obviously, having been a part of the IPL exhibition matches… and I love playing cricket in India. It’s one of the best places to play cricket.”
“To not even have one bid was pretty heartbreaking, but that’s life and my focus is purely on this World Cup now. The sun still comes up the next day. The girls got around me, which is really nice. It’s a credit to everybody in our squad – even the staff as well.”
“Obviously some people got what they wanted, some people didn’t. I was just so proud of the way everyone handled it. I certainly felt a lot of love. It’s a credit to everybody in our squad.”