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England Women set for highly-competitive T20 World Cup

— 17 February 2020

England’s women have the capability to go all the way in the forthcoming T20 World Cup in Australia, believes Yorkshire manager Jane Hildreth.

The White Rose women’s first-team manager says a repeat of the 2018 final in the West Indies between champions to be Australia and England is the most likely outcome, although Hildreth has insisted that others could spring a surprise.

The Ashes rivals and India, who have all recently played out a competitive tri-series – won by the Aussies, are the strongest sides in the competition running from Friday until March 8.

But Hildreth said: “West Indies on their day can perform and win games, and South Africa have some very strong players.

“There are a few teams who you can’t discount, and I think it’s going to be a really good competition with plenty of interesting group games.

“For me, I suspect it will be an England v Australia final, and hopefully a different result to last time in the Caribbean. That would be a fantastic thing for the work we all do across the country at domestic level and would showcase the county game and the Super League, which has obviously just finished.”

England’s squad includes Yorkshire stars Katherine Brunt and Lauren Winfield, with both playing prominent roles in the tri-series which saw England miss out on the final by virtue of an inferior net run-rate.

Talismanic all-rounder Brunt missed the Caribbean event through injury in late 2018 and also failed to make a single appearance for the Yorkshire Diamonds in last summer’s final edition of the Kia Super League as her workload was managed by England.

  • Winfield, meanwhile, has been batting down the order in recent times for England – a significantly different role to the opening berth she has held for the Diamonds throughout her KSL career.

    “Having missed the summer playing in the Super League when she was desperate to get back playing, Katherine will be ready and raring to go,” said Hildreth.

    “She will be going all out to win that trophy, no doubt.

    “Lauren will bat wherever as long as she’s playing. When she’s played for the Diamonds, we’ve asked her to open the batting, a role she’s performed very well. She’s now down the order but has got some quick runs when needed.

    “You’d hope she will get moved up when the chance arises, but she still has a crucial role to play in her present position because the game could be on the line when she comes in.”

  • England are in Group B – there are only two groups in the 10-team tournament – alongside South Africa, the West Indies, Pakistan and minnows Thailand. Their first game is against South Africa on Sunday from Perth (11am UK).

    Australia, India, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh make up Group A, with the top two from each group advancing to the semi-finals.

    This is the seventh edition of the T20 World Cup, formerly known as the World T20, with England winning the first on home soil in 2009, Australia winning four titles and the West Indies one.

    “It’s great to see Thailand in that competition,” said Hildreth. “For their players, none of whom we know, wow, what an opportunity! Any chance to further grow the game is great.”

    This will be Australian coach Lisa Keightley’s first assignment in charge of England having replaced former Yorkshire men’s bowler Mark Robinson.

    “I don’t know Lisa personally,” said Hildreth. “But her reputation is very good. I’ve chatted with Lauren (Winfield) about her, and a number of the players will know her from the work she did with the England Academy set-up a few years ago.

    “The fact she’s gone back to Australia and will bring some of their methods over here will be a huge positive. I think she’s a good appointment and will bring that little something bit extra to the role.”

    Hildreth continued: “I think England are a better side now than they were in the West Indies a couple of years ago.

    “It’s been good to see someone like an Amy Jones really progress her game, and Sophie Ecclestone is getting better and better all the time with the ball. She could be a real challenge for anyone. There’s also a few very exciting youngsters in the squad.”

    Away from England, there is plenty of Yorkshire interest in other squads.

  • Australia superstar Alyssa Healy, Indian Jemimah Rodrigues and New Zealand’s Leigh Kasperek all played for the Diamonds last summer. In all-rounder Kasperek’s case, she has also played the last two summers with Yorkshire’s regular county team.

    Wicketkeeper-bat Healy is a household name, while 19-year-old bat Rodrigues is fast becoming one.

    Last summer, she was the second leading run-scorer in the KSL with 401 runs, including a stunning 112 not out to help clinch victory over Southern Vipers at York’s Clifton Park. Her hundred came off 51 balls and broke the record for the KSL’s fastest ever ton.

    “I won’t ever forget that day at York when she got 112 not out – the same day as England’s men won that Ashes Test over at Headingley thanks to the Ben Stokes heroics,” said Hildreth. “That innings provided me with one of my highlights working within women’s and girls’ cricket.

    “Jemimah really is a role model for the youngsters coming through, and I’m so excited to see how she goes over the next few weeks.

    “Coming to England on her own last summer as an 18 or 19-year-old was a huge thing for her. She’d never travelled on her own like that before.

    “Her first couple of weeks must have been quite tricky, but she settled in so well.

    “You can see how she’s grown as a person and how that confidence has come through. One or two people knew who she was before she came over here, but what a way to announce yourself.

    “I’m not part of the Hundred negotiations, but I’ve got no doubt that people will want her over here again at some point in the near future.”

    And of Healy, Hildreth added: “Alyssa’s a wonderful cricketer.

    “On the occasions she doesn’t score runs, you can pretty much bank on her producing something special with the gloves. Her keeping just blows everybody away.

    “You may be able to keep her quiet in one area of her game, but the chances are she’ll get you with the other.”

    Rodrigues and Healy face off in the opening game of the competition on Friday morning when favourites and hosts Australia tackle the Indians in Sydney (8am UK). All games are being televised on Sky Sports.

    Watch England Women at Emerald Headingley

    England Women take on South Africa Women in a 50-over game at Emerald Headingley on Sunday 13th September. Yorkshire CCC Members will be able to secure tickets for the game, which will cost £10 for adults and £5 for juniors, in a opening priority window next Monday (24th February). You can join them and secure your tickets at that point by registering for priority access now.