Moment of ‘pure joy’ for Knight Cross as England stays in the series in epic fashion.
Australia’s captain, Alyssa Healy,
Australia’s captain, Alyssa Healy, has urged her team to stop making excuses and rally behind a defense after admitting that the Women’s Ashes series is “on the line now, proper” following England’s third straight victory in the white-ball leg. After falling 6-0 after losing the lone Test at Trent Bridge and the opening T20I at Edgbaston, England has finally surged back into the game, tying the series at six points each with a thrilling two-wicket victory in Bristol. There are still two ODIs left to play at Southampton and Taunton. While Australia only needs to win one of the two games to win the trophy back that they have held since 2015, England’s fearless comeback, which was sparked by Heather Knight’s outstanding captain’s innings of 75 not out but best exemplified by Kate Cross’ astounding penultimate-over ramp for four, has given their team a genuine chance to win. It was only fitting that Knight, who had 5,731 spectators in the Bristol County Ground, would end the chase with an emphatic slap for four through points off Jess Jonassen. Knight then threw away her bat and let her emotions out as she jumped into Cross’s arms and took in the applause.
At the post-game presentation, Knight remarked, “It was just pure relief and ecstasy.” “I thought it was slipping away there when we were eight down; we kept losing wickets at regular intervals and kept making things difficult for ourselves, but I was just trying to stay in my little bubble and keep really calm,” the player said. With just Lauren Bell remaining and England needing 29 runs to win the series at 235 for 8, Cross got right to work with back-to-back fours off Jonassen before Knight stepped into Ashleigh Gardner’s spin and hit a massive six over cow corner. Cross unleashed the stroke that revealed the depth of England’s resolve when the necessary number was down to one. “Kate Cross, what a hero,” Knight exclaimed. She was extremely anxious when she first entered, but we just calmed her down by breaking it down into tens. I told her, “Paddle’s on. I back you to do it,” as a fine leg came up. I feared she could flee, but Crossy pulled it off perfectly and removed all the stress.
Cross made an invaluable contribution at No. 10 by finishing undefeated on 19 from 20 balls, showcasing her expertise. This performance made up for a challenging day with the ball, as her six overs in Australia’s innings went for 42. Additionally, it was another evidence of the tenacity that had returned Cross to total health for this campaign after she was incapacitated by a tropical ailment in March, which interfered with her preparation for this series. Knight said, “I kept telling her Lauren Bell’s in next, so keep going, keep getting it down. “Poor Lauren was a little apprehensive, but I’m happy for Kate. She didn’t have the finest day, but she’s one of the most challenging people I know, so to watch her pull through like that was terrific.
But it was a humiliating defeat for Healy and Australia. Their 2-1 loss in the T20Is last week was their first setback since the 2017–18 season; this week, they lost their first ODI in 16 tries, only their third in 46, and have dropped three straight games for the first time since February 2017. The Ashes are on the line right now. It was said, Healy. So, if that doesn’t inspire the group, I’m still determining what will. This is a very new situation for us. And, you know, we either take it as a chance to develop and learn or to make up reasons why we shouldn’t. Since the Ashes trophy is definitely on the line, we must turn things around for the remaining two games. Tammy Beaumont and Alice Capsey’s superb Powerplay onslaught, which helped England reach 84 for 1, their biggest 10-over score in ODI history, scared Australia early on, who was defending 264. The run rate remained below five an over for the majority of the remaining chase, even though their spinners, in particular, contributed to stem the tide. The fact that the multiple World Champions refused to give up without a fight, despite a sloppy performance that included 23 extras, provided Healy some solace as she got ready for what will undoubtedly be a challenging post-match debrief. It ultimately came down to the wire, she claimed. “We just got outplayed in the end, but we fought pretty well to stay in the game. All in all, it was a good cricket match. We were maybe 20 runs short with the bat, and then we bowled 20 or so extras, so I mean, that’s 40 runs in the game, so I guess that’s what killed us in the end.” “We’ve been showing it in patches,” she continued. “The fact that we dug so deeply demonstrates that it’s still there. We must improve and become more adept in several areas to succeed. And that’s what we’ll have to discover over the following few days. Even with this dramatic victory, England still has space for growth, particularly in their fielding performance, characterized by six lost catches and a missed stumping. However, Knight gave the Bristol audience credit for helping to lift the team’s spirits and get them over the finish line. Knight added, “We can do a lot better as well. We certainly did not have a good day. But we once again demonstrated the incredible side fight today. Knight continued, “I found it a tricky wicket; I don’t think I muddled one until I was about 30.” “It was challenging to twist the ball and feel fluid, but the fans kept us engaged. “The support from the crowd was incredible, but we know Australia is a brilliant squad, and we’ll have to try again in Southampton. It was great, although I had to control my excitement when everyone sang Hey Jude at the conclusion and resisted the want to hum along in my brain. “The support has really helped us, and hopefully that will continue over the course of the next few games.” The series has been fantastic. I prefer fewer heart-pounding moments, but the payoff was pure joy.
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