Women’s World Cup: Keightley says Ashes loss has not dented England’s belief

Lisa Keightley Women's World Cup

Lisa Keightley claimed confidence is high within England’s ranks ahead of the defence of their Women’s World Cup despite a miserable Ashes campaign.

England failed to register a victory as they crumbled to a 12-4 points defeat in their multi-format series against Australia.

Meg Lanning’s  Australia side are now strong favourites to dethrone England as global 50-over champions in New Zealand.

While Keightley insisted there are few parallels between bilateral series and global competitions, England’s head coach believes her side have some insight into Australia’s tactics ahead of their opener at Hamilton on Saturday.

England get right into it at Women’s World Cup

England won the 2017 Women's World Cup (John Walton/PA)
England won the 2017 Women’s World Cup (John Walton/PA)

Keightley said: “We know what’s coming, they know what’s coming, we need to put both (batting and bowling plans) together and get over the line.

“The players are in a good place and they’re looking forward to it. There is a lot of belief. The players and the coaching staff believe we’ve got what it takes to win a World Cup.

“I think they’re definitely different tournaments to a series or an Ashes or multi-format series. You get on a roll, momentum’s really big. If you don’t play your best cricket I think it’s very easy to get an upset.

“I’m happy to be where we are and Australia be favourites, that’s for sure. That becomes an extra pressure – if Australia look at it that way, I’m not too sure.

“But there is a number of teams where if you play well on your day and take your chances, you can win a game of cricket, whether that’s against Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa, etc.”

Keightley confirmed Tash Farrant is back with the squad after a bout of food poisoning while Lauren Winfield-Hill will rejoin Tammy Beaumont at the top of the order, having been dropped for the final game of the Ashes last month.

Winfield-Hill averaged 18.5 over the course of the series against Australia but opened alongside Beaumont in the commanding warm-up wins over Bangladesh and South Africa, making an encouraging half-century against the former.

Spin calls made on the day

And Keightley, who revealed England will judge the pitches ahead of their matches before deciding whether to employ an extra spinner in Charlie Dean or another seamer in Farrant or Freya Davies, has backed Winfield-Hill to deliver.

Keightley said: “We’re settled, it’s definitely going to be Lauren and Tammy. I don’t mind, I think Australia will know that anyway from the practice matches.

“As an opening combination they’ve got a lot of experience, they really enjoy batting together and since Lauren’s come back to opening (last summer after a four-year stint further down the order) they’re averaging 32 as a pair.

Lauren Winfield-Hill has been tipped to shine over the next few weeks (David Davies/PA)
Lauren Winfield-Hill has been tipped to shine over the next few weeks (David Davies/PA)

“I think in a World Cup you’d take that. If they can build on it even more that would be brilliant. Lauren in the last 12 matches is averaging 28 and I expect her to improve that and dominate.

“The thing they’ve done really well since they’ve got back together opening is how we start – usually they give us a pretty good foundation. We’re backing both girls to get us off to good starts and cash in when they can.”

Women’s World Cup defence a stiff task

England’s batting against Meg Lanning’s side largely floundered, especially in three one-day international defeats, but Keightley, who won the 2005 World Cup as a player with Australia, is optimistic they can rebound.

Keightley added: “I didn’t have to say too much. The batters have had a meeting by themselves which is great, they’re working it out and talking about how they want to go about it.

“Everyone’s really clear on what they want to do and I’m backing the batters to perform well.”