Heather Knight was relieved to see her years of hard work with the bat pay off after scoring her maiden T20I century in England’s record victory over Thailand.
Captain Knight led by example as her unbeaten 108 – the fourth ton in the history of the tournament – helped England to a record-breaking 98-run victory over debutants Thailand in their second game of the Women’s T20 World Cup.
Knight, who only managed six runs in the opening loss to South Africa, blasted 108 from 66 balls to become the first female cricketer to score tons across all formats of the game.
“It’s really pleasing,” said Knight, who put on a tournament-record partnership of 169 with Nat Sciver for the third wicket in England’s total of 176-2.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been anywhere near a hundred in T20 cricket, so it’s nice to finally do the business in T20.
“I’m really pleased with how my batting’s improved in that area, and it’s not often I outscore Nat. I’ll be on her back in the next few days as it’s normally her up the other end outscoring me.
“Trying to score around the ground is something I’ve really tried to develop. I didn’t score around the ground that much today, there was a lot on the leg side and over square leg, but I’ve worked particularly on my power hitting.
“I’ve played that role at six or seven where you go in and have to hit the ball hard from ball one.
“Having the spell at that stage in the order has really helped with my power hitting and scoring quickly at the back end.”
Thailand managed 78-7 from their 20 overs, with England’s victory by 98 runs the largest winning margin ever seen at the tournament.
All this was scarcely conceivable after a remarkable start to the game with the 2009 winners were reduced to 7-2, both England openers Amy Jones and Danni Wyatt dismissed for ducks for just the second time in T20Is.
With England reeling, Knight took control at the crease and extended her incredible record at Canberra’s Manuka Oval that has seen all four of her T20I 50+ scores come at the capital venue.
The bowling effort that followed was little more than a formality as the inexperienced Thailand never threatened to chase down the 177-run target.
Anya Shrubsole took three wickets, and caused a run-out, while spin sensation Sophie Ecclestone made it 16 wicket-taking T20Is in a row with her 1-11 from four overs.
“I just really like the ground, it’s quite skinny, it comes on nicely and you get good value for your shots,” added Knight, who has scored over a quarter of her T20I runs in Canberra.
“I'd love to play at Manuka all the time! We’ve got another game here to hopefully cash in and put in another good performance in this World Cup.”