Heather Knight says coming out fighting is in England’s DNA as they look to bounce back from defeat to South Africa against Thailand at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.

Knight’s side were beaten by India in the opening game of their 2017 Cricket World Cup campaign on home soil before going on to win the tournament.

And as a below-par batting performance saw them slip to a six-wicket reverse in their opener against the Proteas, Knight wants England to show their teeth in Canberra.

“Every game is must-win for us from now,” said Knight.

“It’s really important after the other night that we put in a really strong performance and come out fighting. This team has shown a history of that. When we’ve had a bad performance and haven’t started so great, the way we’ve bounced back in the next game has been outstanding. We’re going to have to do that against Thailand,” the England captain added.

‘Haven’t lost clarity’

Since Lisa Keightley took over in October, England have adjusted their batting order with Tammy Beaumont sent down to seven and Katherine Brunt often deployed as a pinch-hitter.

England’s batting fell flat at the WACA with Nat Sciver’s half-century standing alone as Knight and Fran Wilson struggled for rhythm at the crease.

The England skipper said this is no time for compromise on Keightley’s strategy and called on her charges to leave their reputations in the dressing room.

“As players you have to be flexible and each ball can be really important, so we have to get used to that,” she said.

“You have to be open-minded, to park the ego sometimes and know the job you’re doing is right for the team. We haven’t lost clarity, we just had a bad day and we’re looking to put it right.”

Despite defeat to the West Indies on Women’s T20 World Cup debut, Thailand made it tough for their opponents’ experienced batting line-up to chase down 79.

Thailand’s bowling attack is an unknown quantity with left-armer Soraya Lateh, who bowled Hayley Matthews through the gate in their opener, taking the ball for the first time in her 15 T20 Internationals.

And for opener Natthakan Chantham, the game at Manuka Oval will be a chance to take the field with one of her cricketing heroes.

“Danni Wyatt is one of my idols, I like the confidence she hits the ball with and it will be great to go up against her,” said the 24-year-old.

“England have a good batting depth and batting strength, too. They’re aggressive in the field and powerful on the boundary and in the inner circle. We had a really good experience in the first game. The pitch was very good, there was good bounce and good pace, the pitches back home are low and slow. We have to prepare well to face England, they are such a strong team,” she added.

Key stats

  •   This will be the first time England and Thailand have met at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup; indeed, it will be the first time they’ve met in any women’s international format (Test, ODI, T20i).  
  •   England have lost three of their last four games at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup (W1), including their last two on the bounce; they have never previously lost more than two consecutive games at the tournament.  
  •   Thailand are set to play in their second ever ICC Women’s T20 World Cup match, after a seven-wicket defeat to West Indies in their inaugral fixture at this edition.   
  •   Heather Knight (952) needs 48 runs to become the seventh player to reach 1,000 runs in women’s T20Is for England; she has scored two half-centuries in five innings in 2020.  
  •   Nattaya Boochatham (Thailand) had a bowling economy rate of just 2.5 against the West Indies last time out, the second-best of any bowler against the West Indies in a ICC Women’s T20 World Cup innings (minimum 3 overs bowled).  

(with ICC inputs)