London, July 14 (IANS) England women’s team’s World Cup winning captain Heather Knight has said that lifting the trophy at Lord’s was the best experience she has ever had in her career and that she hopes Eoin Morgan and Co. gets to do the same on Sunday.
“Winning the World Cup at Lord’s was the best experience I’ve had in cricket — and I’d love nothing more than for England’s men to enjoy every moment against New Zealand,” Knight was quoted as saying by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
“Playing in a home World Cup final is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and these guys will know it. They have plenty of experience in that team but none of them have been in a position like this in 50-over cricket,” said Knight.
England are playing New Zealand in the final of the World Cup on Sunday. They came into the tournament as outright favourites due to their impressive form in ODI cricket in the years leading up to the World Cup. While they experienced a few dips in the group stages, they showed how dangerous they can be with an eight-wicket win over a strong Australian side in the semifinal.
“It’s so exciting and with the way they’re playing, the confidence they’ve earned, they just need to go out there and keep doing what they’ve been doing,” said Knight.
Knight had led the England to victory in the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup with a nine-run win over India. While the win itself was a special one, Knight said that it was the night before the final which was more nerve-wracking than the day of the final itself.
“We didn’t know what to do with ourselves. We spent ages deciding what to eat, then tried to pick a film and we ended up choosing such a long one, ‘Saving Private Ryan’. We gave up on it after an hour because of how late it was!
“On the morning of the final, you’ve got excitement, you’ve got nerves and you’re wondering about how it’s going to go. When you get to the ground you feel the buzz and hear the well-wishes from different people — that’s when you know it’s going to be a special day in your career, whatever happens on the pitch.
“It hit me the most when I was singing the national anthem, just standing in front of that famous old pavilion, such an historic place for any cricketer. It was then I realised ‘Crikey, I’m in a World Cup final!'” she said.
Knight said the players needed to enjoy the day and take in what they can. She also said that the pressure of winning was on them but it only made her think more clearly.
“It made me really precise with my decisions, I knew I had to commit to everything because there was no room for doubt. Beyond that I remember not eating much — Lord’s has the best lunches in world cricket but all I had was a bread roll. I was desperate to get out there and not sit still,” she said.
Knight said that the occasion will get into the heads of the players. “The guys will know in the back of their heads the impact winning would have on their lives and on the country, but they’ve just got to try and put that aside and keep focus,” she said.
“When you go out there you want to be the match-winner. The way Jason Roy played against Australia in the semifinal, he looked desperate to be the man to get them over the line, and that confidence rubs off on everyone else. Win the match for your team, or be the team that wins it, and it’s a moment you won’t forget,” she said.
Knight also said that the legacy of a World Cup win was one of the most special parts of it.
“Our victory in 2017 feels like such a long time ago and it’s amazing to see the legacy that’s come from it since. One of the nicest things you remember is hearing the stories of boys and girls copying what you were doing, learning to play the shots you play, and it makes it feel all the more real when you’re inspiring other people along the way,” she said.