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Women’s T20 World Cup: England are ‘still searching for complete performance’, says Amy Jones

Venue: Newlands, Cape Town Date: 21 February Time: 13:00 GMT
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra and BBC Sport website & app. Live text commentary and in-play video clips on the BBC Sport website & app

England are “still searching for the complete performance” at the Women’s T20 World Cup, says Amy Jones.

England play Pakistan in their final group-stage game in Cape Town on Tuesday.

They have already qualified for the semi-finals but a win would ensure they finish unbeaten at the top of Group 2 and likely avoid reigning champions Australia.

India, who were beaten by England, look set to go through second in the group.

“We know that if we’re going to win the World Cup, we’ll need to beat India and Australia at some stage,” said wicketkeeper Jones, who smashed an important 40 from 27 balls in the 11-run victory over India.

“They’re obviously an incredible side but avoiding them is not something we’re thinking about.”

Australia have won five of the last six Women’s T20 World Cups and have also finished unbeaten in the group stages.

England started their campaign with dominant performances against West Indies and Ireland, and gained momentum from the way they responded positively after slipping to 29-3 against India to eventually post a match-winning 151-7, despite Renuka Singh Thakur’s 5-15 that ripped through the top order.

“The group will take a lot of confidence from that India win,” said 29-year-old Jones. “We knew it was going to be a hard-fought match and we were really pleased with how we went about it.

“We always want to be positive, to entertain and inspire people. So there could have been a bit of cautiousness but because we’ve all bought into the approach, it means there’s no doubt when you’ve got the backing of the team to go out and stick to your strengths.”

Former England spinner Alex Hartley told BBC Test Match Special that England are “peaking at the right time”.

Their top order were undone by Thakur’s inswing, they have spilled a few catches and the form of Katherine Sciver-Brunt was questioned after a disappointing performance against India.

But crucially, Heather Knight’s side have remained positive and recovered every time they found themselves in a tricky position.

“Losing those three early wickets, we didn’t let that affect us when it might have done in the past,” said Jones.

“We have had three good games but we are still looking for the complete performance. It’s an exciting way to play and we’re in a really good place.

“It was a big confidence boost for me personally as well; I’ve been quiet with the bat up until then and it really felt like a big game with a great atmosphere.”

England are strong favourites against Pakistan, who impressed at the start of the competition by beating Ireland and showing impressive fight in an eventual defeat by India, but then failed to chase just 116 against West Indies which knocked them out of the semi-final contention.

Spinner Sophie Ecclestone says England are focusing on continuing their winning run.

“It will be a good game and a massive test for us,” Ecclestone told BBC Sport. “I think it’s exciting we have this game to go out and try a few things, show how good we can be.

“We can take a lot of confidence from going through having won every game and hopefully get to the semi-final on a winning streak.”

Ecclestone, 23, also agreed that England have not yet been at their best and says they are “playing around 78%”.

“It’s time for us to push on as a team now and play well in the semi-final – and hopefully the final.

“We’re really happy, playing fearless cricket and everyone’s loving being part of this squad.”

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