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Nat Sciver-Brunt: England wanted to 'show everyone what we're about'

Against Pakistan, they made the highest total and secured the biggest margin of victory in Women's T20 World Cup history

Valkerie Baynes
Valkerie Baynes
Nat Sciver-Brunt punches one on the backfoot, England vs Pakistan, Women's T20 World Cup, Cape Town, February 21, 2023

Nat Sciver-Brunt is the top-scorer of the Women's T20 World Cup  •  AFP/Getty Images

Nat Sciver-Brunt dropped to one knee and swung Tuba Hassan perfectly into the gap at wide long-on, cementing a path towards the complete performance England have been seeking at this World Cup.
The shot went for four and brought up a 29-ball fifty for Sciver-Brunt but she was far from done and her side will assert collectively that neither are they as they head into a semi-final against either South Africa or New Zealand on Friday. She pulled the next ball for another boundary then advanced on the next, clearing the fence at deep cover.
That little stanza in the 16th over at Newlands was indicative of England's crushing 114-run win against Pakistan - the biggest winning margin at a Women's T20 world Cup - as they bludgeoned their way to a tournament-record total of 213 for 5.
"To put the pressure on them as much as we could with the bat and the ball and in the field, that's something that we've been looking to do over this tournament but not quite got it all right so far, I think that was pretty good, " Sciver-Brunt said. "I think everyone's got the confidence that we can repeat that and hopefully get one step further.
"Previously in the tournament I think we've been building up to a performance like this. We sort of targeted this game as a chance to show everyone as a team what we're about and, it being the last game in our group as well, a free chance to show off a bit and do the things that we do really well."
The victory was built around Sciver-Brunt, whose unbeaten 81 off 40 deliveries moved her to the top of the tournament's run-scoring charts with 176 with a strike rate of 147.89, but also contained some other encouraging signs for a side which - along with India - were the pre-tournament favourites to challenge Australia for the title.
While Sciver-Brunt's hot streak continued - she had scores of 40*, 5 and 50 from the previous three games - opener Danni Wyatt ended a lean run in which she has scored just 27 runs in three innings, including a first-ball duck in the previous match, an 11-run win over India on Saturday.
Having recently expressed her heartbreak at being overlooked in last week's WPL auction on Twitter, Wyatt also brought up her fifty off 29 balls with a powerful sweep for four before clearing the fence at deep square leg off Nashra Sandhu's full toss next ball. She holed out to long-off shortly after but her boundary-laden knock may prove a valuable boost and showed off England's impressive depth as they recovered from 33 for 2. Wyatt and Sciver-Brunt are now equal second-fastest to fifty at this event, behind Alice Capsey's 21-ball effort against Ireland.
Capsey and Sophia Dunkley, Wyatt's fellow opener who has also been hitting the ball well, only managed single figures on this occasion but Amy Jones, followed up her 40 off 27 balls against India with a rapid 47 off 31 before she fell on the last ball of the innings.
"People can't repeat every time," Sciver-Brunt added. "I mean, cricket's a weird sport, things happen and someone could get a duck tomorrow that got runs today, but I guess that's why as a batting group and as a bowling group we're really strong and especially have the depth and on any day we're confident that someone will stand up."
An injury depleted Pakistan missing Bismah Maroof (groin) and Ayesha Naseem (hamstring) didn't help themselves with a sloppy fielding performance and three of their wicket-takers leaked 40-plus runs each.
England also made gains with the ball, however. Katherine Sciver-Brunt, who had gone for 19 runs in the final over and returned figures of 3-0-39-0 against India, took 2 for 14 from her four overs against Pakistan, including Sadaf Shamas with the second ball of the innings. Offspinner Charlie Dean, meanwhile, had two wickets from three matches heading into the game also chimed in with 2 for 28.
As complete as the performance was, England know they need a double-encore.
"To be the best in the world, you have to beat the current best in the world and Australia have been very consistently at the top of their game for a really long time," Nat Sciver-Brunt said. "At the moment we're trying to focus on ourselves and not look too outwardly at other teams. In the past, we've probably done that quite a lot and it's not really worked out for us.
"As a group, we are working towards wanting to be number one in the world. But the way we're doing it is the most important thing. And the way that everyone is really brought in and believes in the way that we're playing will win us games will win us tournaments, and I think that's the most important thing."

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor, women's cricket, at ESPNcricinfo