|ICC Women’s World Cup, Leicester:|
|England 377-7 (50 overs): Sciver 137, Knight 106, Asmavia 3-62|
|Pakistan 107-3 (29.2 overs): Ayesha 56*, Brunt 2-21|
|England won by 107 runs (DLS method)|
|Scorecard; Group table|
England bounced back from their opening defeat by India to make their highest Women’s World Cup total in a crushing win over Pakistan at Leicester.
Natalie Sciver hit 137 off 92 balls and Heather Knight 106 off 109 – their maiden one-day international centuries – in a total of 377-7 at Grace Road.
After they put on 213, Danielle Wyatt made a brisk unbeaten 42.
Pakistan, who were 107-3 from 29.2 overs when rain came, lost by 107 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern system.
England face Sri Lanka at Taunton on Sunday, a day when all eight teams are in action, with Pakistan facing rivals India at Derby.
Early clouds clear as Pakistan struggle in the field
England had shown signs of nerves as they lost to India on Sunday, and after Pakistan won the toss and a shower delayed the start by half an hour, Tammy Beaumont was dropped at slip off the first ball of the innings.
Sarah Taylor was trapped lbw by the erratic Kainat Imtiaz, who also had Beaumont caught behind for a scratchy 14.
But with only two seamers available – and leg-spinner Bismah Maroof off the field with a hand injury – Pakistan captain Sana Mir had little margin for error.
She was also let down by Pakistan’s poor ground fielding, while slow left-armer Nashra Sandhu failed to hold on to a return catch as Wyatt scored freely in the closing overs.
The Knight and Sciver show
Having come together at 42-2, Knight and Sciver took the game to Pakistan’s four-pronged spin attack, taking the route of steady accumulation before gradually cranking up the run rate.
Captain Knight hit well through the off side, but was beaten to the half-century mark as Sciver drove and swept Nashra for four successive fours.
The first six did not come until the 33rd over and, after Knight launched Sadia Yousaf and Mir over the leg side, Sciver eased to a 76-ball century.
Knight brought up her ton with a reverse sweep for four, and her dismissal – caught at long-off – was the cue for an astonishing display of hitting from Sciver.
In the final over of the powerplay, the Surrey right-hander clouted seamer Asmavia Iqbal for three successive sixes.
Although Sciver fell next over, picking out substitute fielder Diana Baig at deep mid-wicket, Wyatt, whose unbeaten 42 came off 27 balls, and Fran Wilson (33 from 19) punished an increasingly ragged Pakistan.
England’s stand of 213 makes the record books
- It equals England’s highest World Cup partnership for any wicket: Carole Hodges and Helen Plimmer’s third-wicket stand against Ireland at the 1993 World Cup
- It is the joint highest third-wicket stand in a World Cup for any side
- Sciver’s 137 was England’s joint sixth highest score in a World Cup
- England’s 377-7 was the second highest total by any side in a World Cup
Brunt bounces back
With rain forecast, England’s priority in the field was to get through 20 overs in order to constitute a match.
Strike bowler Katherine Brunt had been expensive at Derby, but struck with her seventh delivery as Nahida Khan popped a straightforward catch to Sciver at mid-wicket.
A slower ball pegged bag Javeria Khan’s middle stump as Brunt’s six-over opening spell cost only 21 runs, and spinner Alex Hartley, with an even more miserly economy rate, trapped Asmavia in front.
Although opener Ayesha Zafar had compiled a patient half-century by the time rain returned, Pakistan were well adrift of the DLS par score.
‘Sciver’s game has gone to another level’
Former England captain Charlotte Edwards on BBC Test Match Special: “Nat Sciver changed the game. She brought intensity and it was an outstanding innings, one I don’t think many of us will forget.
“You always knew she was an unbelievable talent, but her game has gone to another level in the last year and this is going to be the first of many.
“She’s England’s best player at the moment and is a match-winner. She has a big career ahead.”
England captain Heather Knight: “Nat deserved the player of the match award. It took the pressure off me and we had a very convincing win.
“I was short of cricket coming into the tournament, so I’m just pleased to be back playing again. We don’t really do targets too much, we just try to get as many runs as we can.”
Ex-England batter Lydia Greenway on TMS: “That was brilliant from Nat Sciver. She capitalised on some poor bowling and field settings but you still have to score the runs and that’s the sort of exciting cricket these girls want to be playing.
“It wasn’t ideal losing Beaumont and Taylor up front but in a roundabout way it’s good other girls have had time in the middle going into the bigger games, such as Australia.”
Pakistan captain Sana Mir: “We disappointed a lot of fans today as we were not able to play to the standard we set in the first game, but all credit to the England batsmen for the way they punished the bad balls.”