Hagley Oval will host one of the semi-finals as well as the showpiece next week but will first welcome England and Pakistan for the first group game to be played in Christchurch.

Before England can attempt to reach the final, they must win their remaining two group games but can call on their knowledge of beating New Zealand on the same ground last year.

“We love it here at Christchurch,” Dunkley said. “We played here a year ago and it’s a great ground. The pitch looks nice and the nets were really good as well.

“I think being here and looking at the outfield and everything, it’d be great to be here in a week and a half’s time and it’s nice to visualise that as well. It’s definitely really good motivation for that.”

The defending champions have faced plenty of close matches during the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022, coming out on the winning side in each of their last two nail-biting encounters. Both have been must-win and the Pakistan tie is no different.

“The last two games were almost like semi-finals in themselves for us because, had we lost, it would have put us in a terrible position,” the right-hander explained.

“I think having those experiences and those feelings will be great and hopefully, we can get a couple more wins that aren’t as nerve-wracking or aren’t as close, but it is good to have that experience for sure.”

England face a Pakistan side fresh from their first World Cup victory in 13 years after defeating the West Indies by eight wickets.

Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof is hoping their momentous victory will not be a one-off as her side look to produce another strong performance against the defending champions.

She said: “First I felt a sigh of relief, we were under pressure and it’s good to have a win.

“We just need to get this momentum forward and we’re looking forward to the two matches, starting with tomorrow.

“They are a good side, we know they have many good players who can win matches for them.

“We just need to stick to our basics. We’re planning to play to our strengths and what potential we have to stay in the process and then see what the result will be tomorrow.”

WI need a win

The Maroon Warriors won their opening two group matches but have since lost three of their last four, including the eight-wicket defeat against Pakistan last time out.

They now have to win their remaining game against South Africa in Wellington tomorrow and hope other results go their way if they are to make the last four.

“We’ve won two of the toughest games at the start of the tournament and to come and lose now would be very heartbreaking,” the off spinner said.

“Not just me, for all of the team members, but we’re really hoping that we will able to change things around tomorrow. We are still positive, we know there’s still a chance, we’re going to go hard tomorrow.

“We have found ourselves in this position, we must win tomorrow and then hope that South Africa can beat India or there can be an upset somewhere, but we can only control the things that we can control.

“Tomorrow’s game is going to be very crucial and very important for us and we have to play our best game tomorrow and win, then just sit and wait and hopefully be able to go to the semi-finals.”

The West Indies started with two dramatic victories over hosts New Zealand and defending champions England before heavy defeats against Australia and India.

They bounced back with a narrow win over Bangladesh before succumbing to Pakistan, leaving their semi-final hopes in the balance.

South Africa, on the other hand, know victory will guarantee them a spot in the last four and at least second place in the standings.

The Proteas suffered their first defeat of the competition to the all-conquering Australia but made over 250 for the first time in the tournament as they set the table-toppers 272 to win.

Captain Sune Luus said: “If you look at yesterday’s game, I think we batted brilliantly to get to 270. Obviously, they [Australia] are one of the best bowling attacks in the world as well and for our batters to match that and to get 270, I think we did a brilliant job.

“That’s just evidence to how hard the batters have been working and what we can do. It’s just about getting the bowlers to fire on the day as well.

“It didn’t happen yesterday but that’s a rare thing for our bowlers and I’m pretty sure they’ll bounce back again tomorrow.”

Content courtesy: ICC Business Corporation FZ LLC 2020 via Online Media Zone.

 Australia 6 6 0 +1.287 12
 South Africa 5 4 1 +0.092 8
 India 6 3 3 +0.768 6
 West Indies 6 3 3 -0.885 6
 England 5 2 3 +0.327 4
 New Zealand 6 2 4 -0.229 4
 Bangladesh 5 1 4 -0.754 2
 Pakistan 5 1 4 -0.878 2