England all-rounder backs her team to beat New Zealand but says the opposition is "brilliant" and England has to be careful
England faces New Zealand in the first semi-final of the ICC Women's World Twenty20 2012 at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Thursday (October 4).
After dominating the group stages where it won all its matches, England is clearly the team to beat. One of their leading lights, with bat and ball, has been Laura Marsh, who has so far accumulated 101 runs in three innings to go with her four wickets.
Each of England’s three wins have seen three different players step up and make significant contributions. "Yeah everyone's looking pretty good, we've played some brilliant cricket in the tournament and lots of different people have contributed to our wins so far," said Marsh. "We've had a few things to work on, but hopefully we'll put it all together."
The only outing between the two sides at the World T20 came in the final of the 2009 edition at Lord's, which England won by six wickets. That apart, the two sides have enjoyed a healthy rivalry that has seen the teams bring out their best and Marsh was well aware of the challenges New Zealand can pose. "I think they're a brilliant side," she said. "We've had a lot of close encounters with them in the past. Suzie Bates is a potential match-winner for them, Sara McGlashan is also a powerful hitter of the ball, we've to be on top of our game to win."
While the group stage matches were held in Galle, the action now shifts to Colombo for the two semi-finals and the grand final, both of which will precede the men's event. Marsh felt adjusting quickly to the conditions in Colombo would be the key to success. "We treat every opposition as a different side, everybody plays differently. We're at a different ground, so the pitch might be different as well, so we've to just be adaptable and stick with our plans," she opined.
While the England batting line-up led by Marsh and Charlotte Edwards, the captain, has been getting the team off to good starts, Sarah Taylor, the No. 3 batter, too has been in outstanding form. The bowling unit too has a lot of variety, and it is the versatility that makes England a dangerous side, according to Marsh.
"The great thing about our side is our variety. We've got a few spinners and medium pacers. The likes of Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole who're a little bit quicker. Hopefully once when we've played a few overs on that pitch, we'd be able to adjust accordingly," she added.
After a shock exit from the group stages in 210, England, which won the inaugural edition in 2009, is once again being talked about as the favourite, and Marsh was excited at the prospect of playing in front of a big crowd. "We play cricket to play in the World Cups. Tomorrow is going to be a massive event, playing before the Sri Lankan crowds who've made a lot of noise. It will be exciting," she felt.