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Tammy Beaumont: 'We're still the holders of the World Cup. Write us off at your peril'

England opener believes defending champions can upset Australia in their opening game, despite chastening Ashes defeat

Valkerie Baynes
Valkerie Baynes
02-Mar-2022
England's World Cup rivals may write them off at their peril when the tournament kicks off in New Zealand this week, Tammy Beaumont says.
Beaumont believes defending champions England have the ability to upset Australia, the runaway title favourites, in their tournament opener despite suffering a chastening Ashes series defeat last month. England were beaten 12-4 in the multi-format series, with their only points coming from two washed-out T20Is and the drawn Test. The tourists were bowled out for modest totals in all three of their ODI matches with the Australians sweeping that leg of the series 3-0.
"I feel like a lot of people have sort of written us off in a way," Beaumont said. "I remember we had a lot of people trying to call us favourites last time and you know, we're still the holders of the World Cup, so I think you write us off at your peril really.
"To go back-to-back and retain your trophy away from home is always difficult, although I think the conditions in New Zealand are quite similar to home. Winning a World Cup at any time is a massive achievement but particularly when we've gone through Covid and all the bubbles and restrictions and stuff like that for the last two years, to come out here and hopefully perform really well will be a good testament to the team."
Beaumont said England's World Cup preparations had run more smoothly than the lead-up to the Ashes in which training and warm-up matches were badly affected by rain once the squad had emerged from strict Covid-prevention measures and quarantine. Since their New Zealand quarantine period ended three days early following an easing of government guidelines, England have defeated Bangladesh by 109 runs in their first warm-up fixture and South Africa by six wickets in the second, which was reduced to 35 overs per side because of rain.
England begin their World Cup campaign on Saturday and Beaumont backed her side to turn the tables against Australia.
"I guess we know their plans," Beaumont said. "So we're ready to go against them. You've got to play everyone at some point. We played India the first game of the last World Cup and lost, and it didn't necessarily affect us.
"We'll take on Australia, I think on our day we can beat them. We're in a good place at the moment to go into that game regardless of the Ashes results, but yeah, I don't think one game is going to necessarily ruin your World Cup hopes, hopefully. It's a good time to get back out there and give it a good crack."
As in the last World Cup, Lauren Winfield-Hill is expected to accompany Beaumont at the top of the order, having come into form during the warm-up clashes with a half-century against Bangladesh - she scored 14 off 15 against South Africa - after a protracted battle to post a big score. In 11 ODI innings since the start of last year, she is averaging 25.63 and hasn't reached fifty in the format for more than five years.
Debutant Emma Lamb replaced Winfield-Hill for the third ODI in Australia - the final fixture of the Ashes tour - but fell for a second-ball duck, leaving selectors without a convincing argument to make a longer-term switch for the World Cup.
Beaumont's highest score during the Ashes was 50 in the third ODI, but she has been a vital presence as an opener since before England's 2017 World Cup triumph.
England are also looking for their middle order to gel amid a dearth of regular contributors dating back to their home series against New Zealand towards the end of last year, which the hosts still managed to win 4-1.
"I don't think the problem has just been in the middle order," Beaumont said. "Everyone has got to take accountability. I didn't have the best series with the bat in the Ashes so I think everyone's got to step up.
"We've had some really good chats about not necessarily just what we need to do but actually how we need to do it and we need to get back to playing quite aggressive cricket and taking the game on. Today you saw Lauren really go for it up front and then it's easier for the others to follow in and the middle order to really get stuck in when they're not behind the eight ball.
"I think in the Ashes constantly we as the top order were putting an incredible amount of pressure on that middle order to kind of mop up the mess we'd made so for me, it's accountability for the whole top order really and the middle order."

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo