England face Australia in the final of the Women’s Cricket World Cup on Sunday, aiming to defend their title from 2017
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Knight led England to World Cup glory in 2017, as the team beat India by nine runs in the final in front of an adoring Lord’s crowd. She is once again in charge of the team for what may well be her last chance to lead her country out in a World Cup final.
The task is a big one. England have won this competition three times, though never on foreign soil. And they’re up against Australia, who have won this competition six times in total. But the turnaround so far in this tournament has been incredible – England lost their first three games, but have won every match since to book a place in this final.
“To come back the way we have, Heather’s very proud of this group and what we’ve achieved,” Ecclestone said of that change of form. “As a team, we get on so well. We want the best for each other. So when we go out and play cricket, we do it for each other.
“When we lost three from three, there were a few tears in the changing room. The turning point was a few meetings just to say, we’ve got nothing to lose now, let’s put everything we’re doing at the training ground into a game and go out with no fear, which I think we have done. Hopefully we can go out there on Sunday and do it for Heather.”
Ecclestone’s personal tournament is representative of what the whole England team has gone through. After being knocked for 77 runs against Australia in their opening match, she found her best form and is the top wicket-taker in the competition with 20 to her name.
The left-arm spinner now fills the number one spot in the ICC’s world ODI bowling rankings for the first time, making her the best around in that format as well as T20. By taking six wickets against South Africa in the semi-final, she broke the record for most taken by an English player ever at the Women’s World Cup.
“I didn’t have a great day out against the Aussies. To come back the way I did, I’m really proud of myself,” Ecclestone added. “It’s something I’ve been working hard for, I’ve been trying to get a five-for for a while now. It’s a very proud moment for me and my family.”