Home support and pressure on England

The returning Sarah Taylor could offer some vital experience to the side as it chases its fourth title.
England women

Come June 24, England will host the Women’s World Cup for the third time and will be carrying the expectations of an entire nation upon its shoulders. The one good record in its favour? England has won the title both times it has hosted the World Cup.

Charlotte Edwards’ retirement didn’t impact England as it finished second in the ICC Women’s Championship with 14 wins in 21 matches. Heather Knight, the captain, was second in the wicket-takers charts with 29 wickets and scored 642 runs in 19 matches.

The emphasis in recent times has been on fitness and an expressive brand of cricket, best seen in the attacking approach of the top order and in Katherine Brunt, they have one of the most dangerous pacers in the circuit right now.

Another positive for England is the return of Sarah Taylor, after she took an extended break from the game. The feisty wicketkeeper batter is a match-winner on any given day and despite her lack of big-match practice, her presence in the squad will provide the experience needed to clinch its fourth title.

RECENT FORM:
Aside from a combined training camp in the UAE with Ireland, England’s last competitive series came against Sri Lanka in November 2016 where England trounced the home side 4-0, securing a spot in the Women’s World Cup with a win in the second ODI. Nat Sciver was in her groove in the middle order with 185 runs in four matches, including two fifties.

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PREVIOUS WORLD CUPS:
Having participated in all editions so far, England has won the title thrice: twice at home, in the inaugural edition in 1973 and in 1993, and beating New Zealand in the 2009 final in Sydney by four wickets. The hero of the final for her 4 for 34, Nicky Shaw was included in the game only because of an injury to Jenny Gunn. In what ended up being Edwards’s last World Cup game, she struck an unbeaten century to guide England to a third place finish in the 2013 edition, beating New Zealand by four wickets in Mumbai.

STAR PLAYER:
It will be the first time Knight will be leading her country in an ICC tournament and despite a run of good results, all eyes will be on how she manages the workload of an all-rounder and captain with the pressure of a home tournament.

SQUAD:
Heather Knight (capt), Georgia Elwiss, Jenny Gunn, Alex Hartley, Sarah Taylor (wk), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Danielle Hazell, Beth Langston, Laura Marsh, Anya Shrubsole (vice-capt), Natalie Sciver, Fran Wilson, Danielle Wyatt, Lauren Winfield.

FIXTURES:
June 24: England Women v India Women in Derby
June 27: England Women v Pakistan Women in Leicester
July 2: England Women v Sri Lanka Women in Taunton
July 5: England Women v South Africa Women in Bristol
July 9: England Women v Australia Women in Bristol
July 12: England Women v  New Zealand Women in Derby
July 15: England Women v West Indies Women in Bristol

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