Women’s Ashes: England captain Heather Knight soaks up The Oval atmosphere as hosts keep series alive

England captain Heather Knight said she made sure to soak up the atmosphere as England beat Australia by three runs in the second T20 international at The Oval to keep the multi-format Women’s Ashes series alive.

England need to win every single one of the remaining white-ball games in order to regain the Ashes, having lost the series-opening Test match and first T20I at Edgbaston on Saturday.

But England reduced Australia’s series lead to 6-2 with a win in front of a 22,000-strong crowd at The Oval and Knight stressed that the team are simply taking things “one game at a time”.

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Highlights from the second Women’s Ashes T20I as England picked up their first win of the series against Australia

“What a game!” Knight said at the post-match presentation. “A pretty-much packed house at The Oval…I took a look around at the end and soaked it all up.

“It was probably always going to be a close one, but we got over the line and I’m really proud of how the girls played.

Heather Knight celebrates England's win over Australia in the second T20 international at The Oval
Knight celebrates England’s win over Australia at The Oval

“We’ve still got more in the tank and areas where we can definitely get better. To win at only 80 per cent is a very good effort.

“One game at a time. The equation is very simple and hopefully we can have the crowd on our side and another good one at Lord’s.”

‘Ecclestone buzzing at win to keep Ashes dream alive’

Danni Wyatt was the star for England on Wednesday night, her swashbuckling 76 off 46 balls at the top of the order helping propel the hosts to their record T20I score against Australia of 186 – even despite a middle-order collapse of 5-19 in the space of three calamitous overs.

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Danni Wyatt scores 76 to help England post 186-9 against Australia – their highest ever T20 total against their Ashes opponents.

In reply, Australia too had a major middle-order wobble after captain Alyssa Healy (37 off 19 balls) had helped get the team off to a blistering start, with 58 fired from the opening six-over powerplay.

Sophie Ecclestone again impressed, taking 2-35, as did leg-spinner Sarah Glenn (2-27), with Ecclestone’s wicket of Ashleigh Gardner (9) her 100th in T20I cricket in just her 72nd game – becoming the fastest player to reach the milestone.

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Sophie Ecclestone gets her 100th T20I wicket for England, dismissing Ashleigh Gardner caught and bowled

Ellyse Perry (51no off 27) took Australia close, even cracking two sixes off Ecclestone’s final two balls of the game, but by that point the contest was already over.

speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Ecclestone said: “We said we need to keep the dream alive and we have.

“We knew what we needed to do, that was to go out and win – and we play better when we enjoy ourselves.

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Ecclestone is now looking forward to Saturday’s game at Lord’s

“Getting hit for two sixes, I don’t care! I just bowl whenever Heather [Knight] tell me to and I love it. I love being under pressure in the last over and I’m absolutely buzzing to get over the line.

“The crowd were all behind us, which is great and we go again on Saturday. It’s going to be unbelievable, to play at Lord’s is the dream so it’ll be really exciting to get there.”

‘England crowds serving as 12th person for team’

England opener Tammy Beaumont, part of the Sky Sports commentary team on Wednesday night, believes the record home crowds for the series so far are having a sizable impact on the team’s performances.

“I think the crowds are lifting the girls, they’re really on England’s side,” Beaumont said. “You’ve almost got that 12th person around the ground lifting you.”

Sophie Ecclestone celebrates England's win in the second T20 international against Australia at The Oval
Ecclestone celebrates after England clinched their first victory of the Ashes series

Former Australia beater Mel Jones added after England’s triumph: “It leaves us with what will hopefully be a packed-out Lord’s to support England getting back into the series.

“They’ve got two points, Australia have six to their name. It’s still a very tough ask.

“It’s a cliche to say ‘one game at a time’, but I think Heather Knight is right. You can’t get too far ahead of yourself in this situation.

“You’ve got to finish off this T20 series and then reassess. Take the little wins; if they win at Lord’s, that’s a [T20] series win within the context of this Ashes series, which is something they haven’t done against Australia for quite some time.”

What’s next?

The T20I series decider takes place at Lord’s on Saturday Wednesday (6.35pm start), with live coverage on Sky Sports.

The multi-format series then switches to three one-day internationals, with fixtures at Bristol on Wednesday July 12 (1pm start), the Ageas Bowl on Sunday July 16 (11am start) and Taunton on Tuesday July 18 (1pm start).

Women’s Ashes schedule (all games live on Sky Sports)

  • Test match (Trent Bridge) Thursday June 22 – Monday June 26 – Australia won by 89 runs
  • First T20 international (Edgbaston) – SundayJuly 1 – Australia won by 4 wickets
  • Second international T20 (The Kia Oval) – Wednesday July 5 (6.35pm start)
  • Third T20 international (Lord’s) – Saturday July 8 (6.35pm start)
  • First one day internationalI (Unique Stadium, Bristol) – Wednesday, July 12 (1pm start)
  • Second international one dayI (The Ageas Bowl) – Sunday July 16 (11am start)
  • Third one-day international (Taunton) – Tuesday July 18 (1pm start)