England bowler Katherine Brunt insists all the pressure is on New Zealand ahead of what is a must-win match for both sides at Eden Park in the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022.
Heather Knight’s defending champions lost their first three games before beating India and know that they must also win their remaining three fixtures and hope other results go their way to progress to the semi-finals.
After losing a last-over thriller by two wickets to South Africa on Thursday, the White Ferns must win their last two games to qualify with both sides aware that defeat spells the end of their chances of going further in the tournament.
“I would say that would definitely add some tension, especially with it being at Eden Park,” explained seamer Brunt, who has taken just one wicket in New Zealand.
“And I have no doubt there will be a very good outpouring of people for that game to support their country so 100 per cent that will add to the pressure on them.”
- Match 18 of this year’s tournament will be the 18 h meeting between New Zealand and England at ICC Women’s World Cups. England lead the head-to-head battle, winning 11 of those encounters, compared to New Zealand’s six. New Zealand haven’t won against England in this competition after the 2005 edition.
- These two nations have played 61 ODIs excluding the World Cups. It has been an even contest so far, with both teams winning 30 matches each (1 NR). They last faced each other in a bilateral series at England in September 2021, England won the series 4-1.
- New Zealand lead into this critical game with two wins and three losses. They are currently at the fifth position and a win here would propel them to third. Meanwhile, England will be looking to pick up from where they left off against India. Their previous round victory came after 6 consecutive ODI losses.
With England’s fate out of their own hands, experienced operator Brunt admits she has temporarily become a fan of other teams to try and help ensure her side sneak into the last four, and it has not always been an easy watch with a hatful of close encounters.
She added: “We’re in a position where we are relying on people’s results. So, there’s some becoming a fan of other teams.
“It may not be what you want but that’s just the reality of it. It’s been great to watch all the other nations and be a part of games like that and put on exciting games of cricket.”
Brunt is adamant England have no problem grinding out results even if they must play ugly cricket to save their World Cup hopes.
She explained: “I mean, we’ve had 10 weeks of our backs against the wall. We fought a lot in Australia. We gave everything in the Ashes.
“We went from there probably not being in the best headspace. But we are certainly learning to show fight, adapt quickly and move on pretty quick from disappointments.
“You can’t be in form all the time but what you can do is always show fight and keep turning up and that’s what we’re doing.
“It might not be pretty at times but that’s just how we’ve got to do it and how we get past each game. Hopefully, things will improve.”
New Zealand all-rounder Amelia Kerr has caught the eye by taking eight wickets with her leg-spin but has also done well with the bat, notching 153 runs from No.3 with an average of 38.25.
And rather than buckle under the pressure, Kerr insists her side will rise to the challenge against old rivals England in a game neither can afford to lose.
She said: “It’s exciting when sport is all on the line, when there’s a bit of pressure and it’s a must-win game.
“It’s one of those for us and we’ve been on the losing side of two close games which could have gone our way another day.
“So we know we’re a good side and we know we’ve got things to improve on and must-win games are exciting and it’s a good chance to step up.”
With inputs from ICC Business Corporation FZ LLC 2020, Sportradar and ESPNCricinfo Statsguru. All statistics mentioned for women’s One Day Internationals unless otherwise stated.