England’s captain, Heather Knight, was in a reflective mood after her team was soundly beaten by South Africa in the first ODI of the series at Worcester on Saturday. Knight won the toss and elected to bat. Even after her team found themselves 97/8 in their innings she wasn’t convinced it was the wrong decision, despite being beaten by seven wickets with almost five overs to spare.
“I think it was a 50/50 call. I don’t think it moved outrageously for them, I think they bowled very well. I think bar Tammy [Beaumont’s] dismissal it was probably us with execution. A few soft dismissals and the Saffas bowled very well, they bowled straight, attacked the stumps, and when you are 64/6 it is hard to salvage the game.”
When asked if England took too long to make adjustments to their approach when it was clear that there was movement in the air, Knight said that may have been the case, but she was keen to give credit to the way England's opponents bowled.
“Yeah maybe [we went too hard early on]. A few soft dismissals, but I think South Africa bowled very well and made it tricky for us. Once we lost those early wickets it was always going to be hard for us to get back in the game.”
But for Katherine Brunt’s career best 72 not out England could have been dismissed for less than 100, and her captain was keen to give her lots of credit for the way she counter-attached.
“I think Katherine came out and played brilliantly, she kept that intent towards the end of her innings and she had a very good game. She has turned into a genuine all-rounder now and under pressure today she managed to pump out a score for us and keep us in the game.
“[Brunt] was also outstanding with the ball today, as was Anya [Shrubsole], and that opening [bowling] partnership really kept us in the game. Unfortunately, South Africa put a partnership together, but I can’t fault the way the girls fought today. They fought really hard, but it felt like one of those days today.”
Looking forward to the rest of the summer, Knight made it clear that she felt that this was still a squad that was developing rather than the finished article.
“We have had a winter away; a drawn Ashes series and we took a slightly younger squad to India. But we are still developing and hopefully performances like Katherine’s today show players are still improving no matter what age they are. We haven’t had a great day today, but we have another chance to put a few things right on Tuesday.”