Friday, September 30, 2022

ICC: Jones – Fun the focus for England ahead of crucial India clash

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Amy Jones has urged England to focus on enjoying their cricket as they look to get their title defence back on track against India at the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022.

England suffered their third consecutive loss of the tournament against South Africa last time out, losing by three wickets following previous defeats to Australia and West Indies.

That result was underpinned by more fielding errors, including dropped chances and a missed stumping, but Jones believes England are more than capable of righting those wrongs.

“After the West Indies game, we dropped and missed a lot of chances, so we spoke about that as a group, obviously not wanting to put a huge amount of pressure on the first opportunity that comes in the next game,” she said.

“We just spoke about how we want to be really positive, really supportive of each other out there and just do the little things right, like attacking the ball and getting some good energy going.

“The chances will be created from that and we know our skill level is good enough to take those chances. It was unfortunate that we missed a few last time out, but with the games coming so quick you have to look individually if there’s any quick learnings you can make.

“In terms of the whole team, it’s so important that we keep supporting each other, we keep the energy high in the field and as a team we play at our best when we’re enjoying it, we’re supporting each other and having a bit of a laugh – that’s the mood we want to create.”

Jones was one of England’s standout performers against South Africa, contributing a maiden World Cup half-century, and the wicketkeeper admitted it was nice to be back among the runs after a lean spell.

“It’s obviously good to score some runs as I’ve obviously been quite short of runs recently so it was a bit of a relief to be honest but I didn’t change a huge amount,” she said.

“I’d been struggling to rotate the strike in the first few games and then been putting some unnecessary pressure on myself so I was just trying to stay relaxed at the crease.

“I wanted to trust my timing and not try and force it if there were a few dot balls. It was great to get going into my innings and have that partnership with Tammy (Beaumont).”

England have a good recent record against India and with every game now a must-win for the reigning champions, Jones hopes that will come into play when they meet again.

“It definitely helps,” she added. “It’s quite natural to look back at the last games you played against them and to have that recent success against them as a group will give us confidence.”

India come into the game after beating West Indies in their last match by 155 runs, taking their record to two wins from three matches, as Harmanpreet Kaur scored a brilliant century.

And Kaur believes batting and bowling partnerships have been the key to India’s success so far, something she wants them to repeat when they face England in Maunganui.

“I think in batting the great partnerships is important and in bowling, the way we build partnerships especially,” she explained. “I feel we do that really well and those are the things we want to continue in the England match and the upcoming matches.

“I think those are the areas we love to continue. Apart from that, sometimes we are losing back-to-back wickets and if we can work on that then I think things are the way we want.

“We just have to stay relaxed and enjoy the situation because if you are relaxed and enjoying it then you can perform better.”

She added: “I think for us it’s important for us that the way we performed in the last game we just need to continue that rather than thinking about what is their (England’s) weaknesses.

“Right now, we’re only looking at our strengths and the areas where we are doing well and the areas where we need to improve as a team and we are working on that.

“I’m sure you know the small areas we need to improve from the last game and we will come out from those things and the good things we have been doing so far, we want to continue that.”

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