Photo Credit: BCCI
Spin sensation Sophie Ecclestone feels the chemistry within the England squad is helping to bring the best out of everyone at the ICC Women’s T20 Cricket World Cup 2023.
England ran out comfortable winners in their tournament opener, chasing down West Indies’ total of 135 for seven with 33 balls to spare.
The focus now turns to Ireland, who are something of an unknown quantity to Ecclestone and her side, with this their first ever meeting at an ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.
England enter Monday’s fixture as strong favourites but Ecclestone and co are looking to enjoy the experience rather than feeling burdened by pressure.
“I think it’s quite lucky that we all get on so well as a group,” she said.
“We generally do get on as a whole and it’s so great that me and Glenny [Sarah Glenn] and Deano [Charlotte Dean] are obviously on the team together, three spinners, which is quite nice and we look out for each other.
“I think it’s all about enjoying yourself, we definitely play better when we’re enjoying ourselves, so that’s what we try and do.”
England will have been relieved to secure a first win, having seen hosts and well-fancied South Africa overcome by Sri Lanka in the tournament curtain-raiser on Friday night.
But Ecclestone insists there is more to come from her side.
“I think it was obviously great to get off to win, sometimes you see the big teams fall in the first game,” she said.
“I think as a whole we put in a good performance, but there’s definitely things we can improve on with the ball and especially in the field too.
“We can improve in many ways, so hopefully that’s the start of our tournament and we can just improve and peak at the right time.”
The 2009 champions will need to be at their very best to see off Ireland, who are fresh from stunning holders Australia in their final warm-up fixture.
That success has fuelled captain Laura Delany’s belief that her side can cause a few more upsets, starting in Paarl on Monday.
“We had some very good warm-up games, our second game against Bangladesh we stuck to our processes and we were very happy with the outcome, likewise against Australia,” she said.
“I would say those around us have definitely raised expectations, as have we of ourselves, but we’ve spoken a lot about the plans we have put in place to try and to keep it as simple as possible, and if we do that I think we’ll be happy with the outcome.”
And having not been involved in last year’s 50-over World Cup, Delany says her young side are desperate to make up for lost time.
“We’re going in with a lot of confidence, it’s now just about proving it on the world stage,” she said.
“There will be some nerves there tomorrow but from a team point of view, there is a lot of energy and there is this great buzz around the group.
“We can’t wait to get out there and get started.”