Former England captain Nasser Hussain has backed the Heather Knight-led England women’s side to bounce back from successive losses in the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup despite admitting that advancing to the semi-finals has become difficult for them due to their own doing.
England’s defence of the title they won in 2017 at Lord’s hasn’t gone to their liking, losing to Australia by 12 runs and then to West Indies by seven runs. England will now face South Africa at Bay Oval on Monday to get a win under their belt and put the campaign back on track.
“I think they can go on a run from here, don’t write this England side off. South Africa have had two narrow wins but they’ve been against Bangladesh and Pakistan, two of the weaker sides in the tournament. England can get a bit of confidence but they pretty much need to win every game from here," Hussain was quoted as saying by Sky Sports on Sunday.
Hussain felt England can make a turnaround in the tournament and winning against South Africa could be the best boost for them.
“Can England make the last four? They have made it very difficult for themselves. You look at the way India are playing and how Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana have batted, but England have a good record against every side they have got to play."
“I think they’ll beat South Africa on Monday, they’re a better side, and that might give them a bit of energy. They’ve been away from home since January, they did the Ashes, they’ve done lockdown and quarantine. They just need a bit of a boost and a lift, and hopefully here in Mount Maunganui on Monday they can beat South Africa and that will get them going again."
Hussain revealed that he had a chat with England head coach Lisa Keightley when the side were in their practice session at Bay Oval.
“I spoke to England coach Lisa Keightley on Sunday afternoon and she said they haven’t got all three facets of their game together. We were at nets on Sunday and Keightley had them in the huddle for a long time. The drills they were doing in fielding had a lot more energy."
Hussain, currently on commentary duties in the tournament, pointed out where England made mistakes in their losses to Australia and West Indies. “In Australia, they didn’t bat very well, then they played Australia in the first game of the World Cup and batted brilliantly, got almost 300, but they didn’t bowl particularly well."
“They go to Dunedin and bat and bowl fine against the West Indies, but their fielding was awful. That’s the worst I’ve seen England field for a long time, if ever. Seven chances - there were five catches, a runout and missed stumping. They’re better than that."