Belief took England into semis: Dunkley

Wellington, March 27 : England batter Sophia Dunkley credited the “belief in our changing room and a lot of fight” to pull them back from the brink of elimination to qualify for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 semi-finals on Sunday. Heather Knight’s side had lost their first three games to leave their World Cup hopes hanging by a thread, but the defending champions bounced back to beat India, New Zealand and Pakistan. That meant a victory over Bangladesh would be enough for a spot in the last four and Dunkley’s 67 off 72 earned her the Player of the Match award and kept England’s title defence alive after a 100-run win. “I think it’s just a lot of belief in our changing room and a lot of fight,” said Dunkley. “We obviously didn’t play our best cricket in the first few games. So we knew that we could come out and put on better performances. “We’ve had a lot of belief in the group, a lot of positivity to get us through and sometimes that’s just how it goes. “Just putting in a great fight from the girls and to get four wins on the bounce going into the semis I think it puts us in a very strong position.” England leapfrogged West Indies into third place with eight points from their seven group games and will face South Africa after India failed to bowl the Proteas out for under 174, which would have been enough to overtake England on net run rate. Tidy bowling from Sophie Ecclestone, who produced figures of 3 for 15, restricted Bangladesh to 134 after Dunkley had rescued England from another top order failure. Dunkley admitted England have had to do it the hard way to make it through to the next stage, but the 23-year-old reckons it will stand the side in good stead when the tournament goes down to the wire. “I think obviously starting with three losses, it does really put you on the back foot and every game does become a must-win game. “But I think having those experiences now from those games puts us in a really good position and I think every team has really beaten everyone. “So, it’s very open and I think there’s a lot of possibilities that could happen. It keeps it exciting, going into next week we’re very positive and have got a lot of confidence now.”

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