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Captain Heather Knight hoping England batters all perform in World Cup semi

Heather Knight is hoping it all comes together for England on Thursday (Simon Marper/PA)
Heather Knight is hoping it all comes together for England on Thursday (Simon Marper/PA)

Heather Knight hopes England’s batters can find form at the same time in their Women’s World Cup semi-final against South Africa on Thursday.

After beginning the defence of their title with three consecutive defeats, four straight wins sent Knight’s team safely through to the last four.

She is delighted with the way they have turned things around but believes batting is the area they need to improve in Christchurch.

The 31-year-old England captain told a press conference: “I think it’s great that individuals are stepping up at different times. I think we’ve had each batter win us a game at some point, but I don’t think we’ve put it all together yet.

“What (could be a more) perfect time to change that than the World Cup semi-final? I think the signs are really good.”

Knight admitted she has been frustrated by her batting, with her highest score so far being an important 53 not out against India.

“I’ve got a few starts, a couple of 40-odds, and I guess a couple of not outs in there as well. So, I haven’t really been able to make that match-defining contribution, I guess, but I am feeling pretty good here. I feel like I’m hitting the ball well and had a really good session (on Wednesday).”

South Africa were one of the teams to beat England in the group stage, battling to a three-wicket victory in Mount Maunganui.

Knight hopes their precarious position could help them turn the tables, saying: “We’ve been playing knockout cricket for the last four games.

“So we’re so used to obviously having that pressure on us and if we make one mistake we’re out, and that’s perfect preparation for a World Cup semi-final where you know the stakes and you know what’s on the line, and I think it shows a lot about the character in this group after those first three games.”

It is also a rematch of the semi-final in 2017, which England won by two wickets in Bristol.

England Women v South Africa Women – T20 Tri Series – The County Ground
Sune Luus is aiming to make South Africa proud (David Davies/PA)

South Africa skipper Sune Luus insisted revenge was not a motivating factor as they target a first World Cup final appearance.

“We have an opportunity to make South Africa really proud and to make history,” Luus said. “I think that is the biggest thing for me as captain.

“We haven’t brought up 2017. It’s five years ago, teams have changed, players have grown a lot since that semi-final.

“I think we’ve become a way better team since that semi-final so that’s definitely in the past and we look to (Thursday) as a whole new game in a whole new World Cup.”