When Heather Knight smashed Sadia Yousuf over midwicket, it was more than just six runs, it was the signalling of intent – and perhaps the future.
England Women's 107-run over Pakistan Women in its 2017 Women's World Cup game at Grace Road in Leicester on Tuesday was all about the third-wicket partnership of 213 between Heather Knight and Natalie Sciver.
Sciver hit a 92-ball 137, while Knight made 106 off 109 balls as England posted 377 for 7 - the second-highest total in the history of World Cups. Pakistan was 107 for 3 in 29.2 overs when rain stopped play.
The moment of the game during the partnership – England's joint-best for the third wicket – came when Knight got down on her knee and hit Sadia Yousuf over the midwicket fence for the first six of the match, in the 33rd over. It opened the floodgates and set the tone for England to score 100 runs in the last ten overs and fall just one short of their best-ever batting performance of 378 for 5 – also against Pakistan, at home last June.
The power that went into hitting that six had a standard-setting quality to it, at a time when every team is talking about being more aggressive while batting. England ended up hitting 44 fours and seven sixes. For perspective, New Zealand Women’s 455 for 5 against Pakistan in January 1997 – the highest-ever total in ODIs – had 38 fours and two sixes.
That six, and what followed, was a sign of the direction in which teams are intending to move the game forward.