Knight hits first ton of T20 World Cup as England cruise to win

CANBERRA (AFP) – Skipper Heather Knight smashed the first century of the women’s Twenty20 World Cup yesterday as England emphatically got their campaign back on track with a crushing 98-run win over minnows Thailand.

England had looked vulnerable as they crashed to a six-wicket defeat against South Africa in their opening Group B game last Sunday, following a shock 10-wicket hammering by Sri Lanka in their final warm-up last week.

With only the top two from each of the two five-team groups qualifying for the knockout phase, defeat in Canberra would have left their tournament in tatters.

But Knight hit an unbeaten 108 in a tournament-best 169-run partnership with Natalie Sciver (not out 59) to secure the vital win. England’s 176 for two was also the highest score by any team so far.

“We were gutted after the performance the other day so it was very important that we bounced back with a decent performance here, which we did,” said Knight.

“Every game is a must-win game for us now. It was a nice start to get on the board today but we have a long way to go in this competition and we’ve got to keep the momentum going and put in strong performances.”

Debutants Thailand, who came through qualifying, have now lost both of their games after an opening seven-wicket defeat to the West Indies.