Heather Knight stays proud in defeat after Australia prove too good on the night
England captain turns eyes to the future after another knockout defeat by Australia
Heather Knight, England's captain, said that her overwhelming emotion was one of pride at reaching another world final, as her new-look side missed out on the chance to emulate the team of 2009 and add the World T20 title to last year's 50-over World Cup win.
Knight, who was one of only two batsmen to reach double-figures as England were bowled out for 105 in a sub-par batting performance, conceded that Australia had been the better side on the night, as they bounced back from the disappointment of losing the 2016 final to complete their fourth victory in six editions of the tournament.
"Congratulations to them, it was not to be," Knight said. "It's quite raw at the moment, we'll take time to reflect and work out where we go forward as a team, because we've got a massive year next year, with an Ashes series to look forward to. So we'll reassess and move on."
It was the fourth time in as many tournaments that England had been knocked out of the World T20 by Australia, with three of those defeats coming in finals dating back to 2012. But Knight was determined to turn her eyes to the future, and predicted that this experience would stand her team in good stead for future engagements.
England's plans for the tournament received a double setback before a ball had been bowled, with Sarah Taylor making herself unable due to her ongoing treatment for anxiety and Katherine Brunt - Player of the Match in their 2009 World T20 victory - was ruled out with the recurrence of a back complaint.
"We came in a lot of inexperience and some of the girls that have come in stepped up brilliantly," Knight said. "Sophie Ecclestone, she's been around a year, what a spell from her tonight. She gave us a chance - well, not a chance, but she bowled brilliantly, I thought. Kirstie Gordon has been a real find and Sophia Dunkley as well.
"It's been a great experience for those girls, it'll make them better players in the future."
Knight also refused to blame the conditions at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium for their collapse, even though the sluggish nature of the surface there had come under scrutiny throughout the latter stages of the competition. And, on the day, heavy dew negated England's spin threat.
"The ball soaked up a lot of water," Knight said. "And the umpires were getting [that], they let us change the ball a few times because it was nearly impossible to grip. But it was similar for Australia, similar conditions, and ones you have to deal with when you do come up against them.
"It was a much better pitch than the semi-final - it skidded on a lot more. Danni Wyatt started brilliantly, but we kept losing wickets at key times and weren't able to post a total that was competitive. We wanted to put runs on the board, we knew there'd be a bit of dew and we thought it would skid on a lot more. We didn't adapt to conditions as well as we could, in terms of areas we hit, and wickets we lost, but I'm proud of the girls for reaching another world final."