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Heather Knight calls on England to ‘punch first’ in Women’s Ashes

Heather Knight calls on England to ‘punch first’ in Women’s Ashes
The the multi-format series gets under way with the first of three Twenty20 matches on Thursday

Heather Knight has urged England to be aggressive and “punch first” against Australia in the first Twenty20 of the Women’s Ashes on Thursday.

England go into the series as underdogs, with the hosts the dominant force in women’s cricket, ranked number one in the world as well as being T20 World Cup holders.

Meg Lanning’s side have not been beaten in any series since the 2013-14 Ashes, while Knight’s England managed just a single T20 victory when the sides last met in 2019, although the only Test match was drawn.

The multi-format series, which has been brought forward by a week, will start with three T20 games at the Adelaide Oval and Knight emphasised the importance of a strong start.

“I think it’s important to start any series well, it’s something we’ve addressed as a side. I think the last few years we’ve really looked to go hard at that first game,” the England captain said.

“It’s previously been a weakness of ours, so I think we’ve responded really well actually and we’ve been really successful in first games of the series recently. You’ve just got to find that intensity and find a way to get yourself in the game.

“There’s obviously going to be nerves around, that’s completely normal for a big game of a series like this, but we’re confident that we can cope with that and try and be really aggressive and punch first against Australia.”

T20 cricket is one of our strongest formats, so I think that will suit us quite nicely

Heather Knight

England’s preparation time has been dented by the mandatory 10-day quarantine they will have to observe on arrival in New Zealand for their World Cup defence in March.

Their first training session in Canberra was washed out and their only scheduled 50-over intra-squad warm-up match reduced to just 35 overs, again because of rain, but Knight believes England can succeed in the shorter format.

“There has been that tricky build-up, but there’s not a lot we can do about it, there’s no point moaning about it and using it as an excuse,” Knight said.

“We feel in a really good place. T20 cricket is one of our strongest formats, so I think that will suit us quite nicely. We’re really clear about how we want to go about our T20 cricket and a lot of us have got experience playing T20 over here as well with the Big Bash and previous Ashes trips.

“So the confidence is high, we had a really good training session yesterday and hopefully another one later tonight in the evening and we’ll be all good to go tomorrow.”