Amy Jones insisted England would welcome facing Australia at any stage of the Women’s T20 World Cup after their new bolder approach passed an acid test against India.
England overcoming a couple of rocky moments to prevail by 11 runs in Gqeberha on Saturday means they only need to avoid defeat to Pakistan on Tuesday to secure top spot in their group, with a place in the semi-finals already assured.
Finishing first guarantees any contest between England and Australia, the defending champions and red-hot favourites to win a sixth crown, would not take place until Sunday’s final in Cape Town, should both teams get through.
But Jones readily accepts if England are to scoop a second title and first since the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2009 then they will likely have to get past Australia, who have already sealed top spot in the other group, at some point.
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“If we’re to win the World Cup, we need to beat India, Australia,” Jones said. “For us, it’s not really important when we come up against them.
“Obviously they’re an incredible side but it’s not something we’re thinking about, trying to avoid them.
“We’ve come to win the World Cup and to do that we’re going to have to beat them at some stage. I guess the timing is not really important.”
England are already guaranteed a place in the last four ahead of their final group game at Newlands after making it three wins from three matches by triumphing in a hard-fought fixture against India.
Despite stumbling to 29 for three, England posted a competitive total with wicketkeeper Jones contributing a quickfire 40 off 27 balls, highlighting the more attacking mantra promoted by head coach Jon Lewis.
A place in the #T20WorldCup semi-finals confirmed 👊
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England then withstood a fine half-century from Smriti Mandhana and Richa Ghosh’s late blitz to claim arguably their most impressive win since Lewis took charge of the side in November last year.
“In a situation like we were, there could have been a bit of cautiousness but because we’ve all bought into that (new approach), it just makes it a lot simpler,” Jones said.
“Having that direction definitely helped us to think ‘we’re under pressure being three down early but how can we put that pressure back on them?’ I think the answer to that is always going to your strengths and backing yourself.
“There’s not a lot of doubt when you’ve got the backing of everyone in the team to go out and stick to your strengths and you still try to entertain and play the most positive cricket we can.
“The whole group will take a lot of confidence from that.
“We keep saying we’re still searching for the complete performance but in terms of how we’ve gone about these three games, it’s been brilliant and it’s been an exciting way to play.”