Cricket World Cup – Heather Knight ‘so proud’ of England for reaching final – SPORT NEWS PEDIA

Cricket, Cricket World Cup - Heather Knight 'so proud' of England for reaching final, sport

An emotional Heather Knight said she was “so proud” of her England team after they beat South Africa to reach the final of the Women’s World Cup.

England went winless during the Ashes and lost their first three World Cup matches, only to respond with five successive victories.

The defending champions meet Australia in Sunday’s final in Christchurch.

“The way we’ve turned things around has shown a lot about the character in this group,” captain Knight told BBC Sport.

“We’ve taken a few batterings over the last couple of months, but the fact we’re here in a World Cup final is great.”

England have been on tour for three months, with the World Cup in New Zealand following the Ashes loss in Australia.

They were on the brink of elimination when they lost to South Africa on 14 March, but continued their turnaround with a 137-run semi-final defeat of the same opponents.

Now they face the powerful Australians, who have lost only two of 41 one-day internationals since the 2017 World Cup, including winning their past seven against England.

“We’ll go in as underdogs, which is certainly fair,” said 31-year-old batter Knight.

“We’ve played against Australia a lot recently. What a story has been written for us if we go and beat them on Sunday.

“We go in as equals. There’s a blank slate. There’s no pressure on us at all to do well.”

The foundation of England’s semi-final defeat of South Africa was laid by Danni Wyatt, who stroked 129 to take Knight’s team to 293-8. Spinner Sophie Ecclestone then claimed a career-best 6-36 as the Proteas were bowled out for 156.

Skipper Knight called her team’s effort a “perfect” performance.

“There are lots of boxes ticked today and lots of confidence going into Sunday,” she said.

Knight lifted the World Cup on home soil five years ago, the fourth time England have taken the title.

However, England have never won back-to-back World Cups, and have lost the two previous finals they have played against Australia.

“What an occasion it’s going to be, it was a great occasion five years ago,” said Knight.

“It’s a huge game, so you want to keep things as normal and steady as possible, to try not to put too much on it.

“We’ll embrace the challenges, everything that comes with the day – the pressure, the crowd – whatever it might be. It’s a day to look forward to.”

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