Heather Knight’s maiden T20 century was just one of the many highlights in Canberra as England picked up their first win at the T20 World Cup against Thailand.
Knight sent records tumbling with her batting exploits but there were plenty more positives for England in their 98-run victory over the debutants. Hannah Thompson looks at the five key talking points.
Heather Knight loves breaking a record
One record wasn’t enough for Knight who becomes the first English cricketer male or female to score centuries in all three formats of the game.
Knight recorded her highest ever T20I score against Thailand with 108* off 66 balls which saw thirteen fours and four sixes at a strike rate of 163.63.
This score beats the record set by former England captain Charlotte Edwards who scored 80 against Bangladesh in 2014.
England’s 98-run victory is also the largest winning margin ever recorded in the Women’s T20 World Cup. Plus, 176-2 is the highest total of the tournament so far.
And if that wasn’t enough, Knight’s love for the Manuka Oval is clearer than ever. With half-centuries scored on four occasions, the England skipper tops the table for the most scores over 50 at a single venue.
Nat Sciver proves her worth
Those records wouldn’t have been possible without the support of back-to-back half-centurion Nat Sciver, who cashes in on her third 50 in four innings.
Sciver joined Knight in the middle and saw the innings out until its end, notching up 59 runs off 52 balls which included eight fours.
The all-rounder also struck on her first ball dismissing Nannapat Koncharoenkai for 12 before removing Chanida Sutthiruang for one to take two wickets for just five runs.
Sciver, who missed the warm-ups in Adelaide through injury, has been the glue holding the team together in the first two fixtures and will certainly be looking to continue this fine form.
There’s logic behind the batting order after all
After losing their opener to South Africa, questions were raised about England’s batting order, especially the positions of Tammy Beaumont and Lauren Winfield.
But Knight insists that there’s logic in the order with openers Amy Jones and Danni Wyatt given the freedom to be aggressive up top with the middle order to support if and when required.
Nodding to the fact that there may be bad days in the office, South Africa was one of them.
Likewise, Thailand’s Nattaya Boochatham and Soraya Lateh might have removed both openers for a duck but the key difference was Knight practicing what she preached — stepping up from the middle to rescue the innings.
However, it will be telling as the tournament goes on whether Lisa Keightley’s approach to the line-up is one that works, or one that remains confused.
Bowlers at their best
It wasn’t just Knight that impressed in Canberra, with England’s bowlers proving exactly what they’re capable of too.
Anya Shrubsole piled on the early pressure and destroyed any hope of a Thailand upset by removing opener Boochatham for a golden duck.
Taking three wickets for 21 runs, Shrubsole was the top bowler, but it wasn’t just her who stepped up to the mark.
Her performance was backed up by a very good day in the office for Sciver, who took two wickets, and spinners Sophie Ecclestone and Sarah Glenn proved their potential once again.
Having set the highest tournament total so far, Knight had the freedom to introduce Danni Wyatt to the mix, as well as introducing herself for two overs.
Between the seven bowlers who featured, England amassed 78 dot balls across the innings to limit Thailand to 78/7.
Group B is anyone’s game
Group B is now more open than ever with four teams sitting on two points each after the first two games.
After the emphatic 98-run win, England top the table but only on run-rate after crushing Thailand who now sit at the bottom of the table with two defeats.
England face Pakistan on Friday who come off the back of a surprise win over the 2016 champions West Indies — the first time the side had ever won an opening T20I World Cup match.
A win over Pakistan on Friday will take Lisa Keightley’s side one step closer to the semi-finals before they face West Indies in their final group game.