Heather Knight says she feels a batter transformed in T20 cricket as the England captain rattled off the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup’s fourth century against Thailand.
Knight - the first England player to score tons in all three formats - departed Down Under with just one T20 fifty to her name but has now added a stunning 108 not out to two tri-series half-centuries.
The 29-year-old, who surpassed Charlotte Edwards’ 80 against Bangladesh in 2014 to make England's highest-ever T20 World Cup score, is revelling in her an upturn in her short-form fortunes.
“It’s really pleasing,” said Knight, who put on a tournament-record partnership of 169 with Nat Sciver for the third wicket.
“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.
“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.
“I’ve played that role at six or seven where you go in and have to hit the ball hard from ball one.
“Having the spell at that stage in the order has really helped with my power hitting and scoring quickly at the back end.”
Knight came to the crease with England tottering on 7-2, openers Amy Jones and Danni Wyatt both dismissed for ducks, with calls for Tammy Beaumont to return to the top likely to mount.
It was all England from there on in, with Knight extending her incredible record at Canberra’s Manuka Oval that has seen all four of her T20I half-centuries come at the capital venue.
“I just really like the ground, it’s quite skinny, it comes on nicely and you get good value for your shots,” said Knight, who has scored over a quarter of her T20I runs in Canberra.
“I'd love to play at Manuka all the time! We’ve got another game here to hopefully cash in and put in another good performance in this World Cup.”
After removing both of England’s openers, Thailand were the butt of Knight’s destructive display and the 98-run winning margin was the widest in T20 World Cup history.
Opening batter Naruemol Chaiwai revealed her side’s delight at getting the wickets of Jones and Wyatt so cheaply, with Soraya Lateh again impressing with the new ball.
“At 7-2, we were pretty optimistic and they were very big wickets to get,” said Chaiwai.
“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.
“Soraya has a lot of potential but she has lacked some motivation. She’s been honing her skills in the last year and the motivation of the team is helping her take the new-ball role for the team.
“Batting has not been easy for us in the tournament, but every batter has our own role and we have to assess the situation."
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