ICC Women’s T20 World Cup: Poonam Yadav is a Massive Threat, Says England Captain Heather Knight
England bounced back to enter final after losing their tournament opener (© ICC)

Poonam Yadav, the leading wicket-taker of the ongoing ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, will be a massive threat, feels England captain Heather Knight as they finalise their plans for the semi-final meeting with India on Thursday.

Poonam has taken nine wickets in four matches, playing a vital role in keeping India unbeaten at the event as they entered the semis.

During the last edition of the T20 World Cup in West Indies, India were knocked out by England in the semis having tackled Poonam well during that tournament. They are taking confidence from their history against the India legspinner who has set the tournament alight.

“We’ve practised for her a lot, I thought we played her outstandingly in the last T20 World Cup and that was due to the preparation we had,” Knight said on Wednesday. “We don’t have (assistant coach) Ali Maiden anymore, who bowled brilliant leg-spin, but we’ve got a few coaches who have bowled it brilliantly and we’ve been really clear on how we’re going to do things against her.”

Dealing with Poonam, Knight said, will be the key for England. “She’s a massive threat for them and is an improved bowler since the last World Cup, so for us to be successful, we’re going to have to play her and all their spinners well. That’s going to be key in the game,” she said.

England began their campaign with a first ever T20 World Cup defeat to South Africa but have since recovered to make it to the last-four. “It feels like we’ve built some momentum, we were gutted after the South Africa game and we’ve been playing knockout cricket since game two, that stands us in very good stead going into the knockout stages,” she said.

“We’ve started to get some players in real form and the players that aren’t, you feel like they’re just round the corner and can produce in a massive game such as the semi-final,” she added.

Rain is forecast for Thursday with the possibility of the entire first semi-final being washed out. However, in case of a rain-affected affair, England have already planned how to go about their business.

“We’ll have a chat about what our strategy is. We’ll be quite clear about how we want to do things but we’ll have to be flexible. A lot of us have played in rain-reduced games before and it’s all about who switches on the fastest, who adapts very quickly and who ultimately performs in that short space,” she said.

She is confident of the skillsets England players have. “It can be quite manic if it is a rain-reduced game, we’re make sure as a team that we’re quite calm with the way we want to do things. The good thing about our team is that we’ve got a lot of variety, a lot of different skillsets bowling and batting, so we feel like we can adapt to any situation we’re thrown in to,” she said.