Sydney, March 4 (IANS) England dealt with leg-spinner Poonam Yadav impeccably two years ago and captain Heather Knight insists that a repeat of that is what they need when they face India in the Women’s T20 World Cup semi-final at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Thursday.
“We’ve practised for her a lot, I thought we played her (Poonam) outstandingly in the last T20 World Cup and that was due to the preparation we had,” said Heather.
“We don’t have (assistant coach) Ali Maiden anymore, who bowled brilliant leg-spin, but we’ve got a few coaches who have bowled it brilliantly and we’ve been really clear on how we’re going to do things against her.
“She’s a massive threat and is an improved bowler since the last World Cup, so for us to be successful, we’re going to have to play her and all their spinners well. That’s going to be key in the game,” she added.
Poonam bamboozled hosts Australia in the tournament opener and her wicket-taking exploits haven’t stopped there, leading the charts with nine scalps in four matches.
But the leg-spinner couldn’t cast her spell the last time India met England in the tournament, conceding 29 from her four overs as Knight’s side romped to an eight-wicket victory to reach the final in 2018.
Poonam has since gone on to become India’s leading T20I wicket-taker and her ability to deceive on Australian pitches has forced Knight to take note ahead of their crunch match in Sydney.
With rain forecast for parts of the day in Sydney, a degree of flexibility will likely be required against India — a change in approach Knight is willing to take on.
“It feels like we’ve built some momentum, we were gutted after the South Africa game and we’ve been playing knockout cricket since game two, that stands us in very good stead going into the knockout stages,” said the England skipper.
“We’ve started to get some players in real form and the players that aren’t, you feel like they’re just round the corner and can produce in a massive game such as the semi-final.”