It just took a masterstroke from captain Heather Knight for England to pull off a record-breaking 98-run victory over debutants Thailand in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Canberra on Wednesday (February 26).
The skipper’s majestic 108 not out from 66 balls, including her maiden T20 International century, made her the batter to make a hundred at the event and send records tumbling.
Put to bat first, England’s total of 176 for two, was their highest T20 International total and Knight’s unbeaten third-wicket stand of 169 with Nat Sciver (59 not out) was the highest partnership for any wicket in Women’s T20 World Cup history.
Thailand managed 78 for seven from their 20 overs, with England’s victory by 98 runs the largest winning margin at the tournament.
All this was scarcely conceivable after a remarkable start to the game when the 2009 winners were reduced to seven for two. Bot England openers were dismissed for ducks for just the second time in T20 Internationals.
Nattaya Boochatham, leading T20I wicket-taker in the world in 2019, sparked wild celebrations as her arm ball beat a charging Amy Jones and she was stumped the second ball.
Opening partner Danni Wyatt then perished for a golden duck, slicing Soraya Lateh to cover the point where Wongpaka Liengprasert dived forward to take an excellent catch.
Just as in their defeat against South Africa in Perth, Sciver combined security with expansive stroke-play to grasp the impetus, scoring her third half-century in four innings.
Knight swept Ratanaporn Padunglerd over backward square for six to reach her half-century from 34 balls. She became the fourth England player to reach three figures with a cut for two in the final over.
Knight has a remarkable record at Manuka Oval, with all four of her T20I 50+ scores coming in Australia’s capital, the most of any woman at a single venue in the format.
Natthakan Chantham top-scored with a 53-ball 32 in Thailand’s unsuccessful run chase.
For England, pacer Anya Shrubsole took 3 wickets for 21 runs while Sciver chipped in with the ball also with figures of 2/5.
(With inputs from agencies)