|ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, Group B, Canberra:|
|England 158-7 (20 overs): Knight 62, Sciver 36, Aiman 3-30|
|Pakistan 116 (19.4 overs): Aliya 41, Glenn 3-15, Shrubsole 3-25|
|England won by 42 runs|
|Scorecard and tables|
England cruised to a 42-run victory over Pakistan to boost their Women’s T20 World Cup semi-final hopes in Canberra.
Asked to bat first, England made 158-7, with captain Heather Knight impressing once again with 62 from 47 balls.
Pakistan were comfortably outplayed, dismissed for 116 with two balls remaining, with leg-spinner Sarah Glenn claiming a career-best 3-15 from her four overs.
Anya Shrubsole took 3-25 to become the leading wicket-taker in the history of the competition.
England, who have not won the Twenty20 title since 2009, now have back-to-back wins in Group B but remain second because leaders South Africa have a superior net run-rate.
There are still some batting issues for England to address – they lost openers Amy Jones and Danni Wyatt cheaply once again – but this was a solid performance.
England’s final group game against West Indies takes place on Sunday in Sydney (08:00 GMT) – where a win should book their semi-final place – while Pakistan face South Africa earlier on the same day.
England secure tidy win
Pakistan stunned West Indies in their opening group match and they would have looked at England’s faltering batting line-up with hopes of another surprise.
They quickly had England 4-1, as Jones was trapped lbw by a fine Diana Baig delivery, before an unsettled Wyatt slapped Aiman Anwar to point.
Once again, Knight and Natalie Sciver produced a rescue job, their 34-run stand settling England before Sciver was stumped as she accidentally dragged her back foot out of the crease.
Aided by some awful Pakistan fielding, which included a terrible drop at deep mid-wicket, Knight moved to her half-century before hoicking a huge six over long-on.
However, once the captain fell after being caught in the same area, England stumbled. They lost three wickets in 11 balls and could scramble only eight runs from the final over which, ultimately, proved to be enough.
Pakistan slide to defeat
Pakistan have not beaten England in a T20 international since 2013 and, while they have improved since then, their batting was not strong enough to consistently worry Friday’s opponents.
They stuttered to 35-2 inside the powerplay, and wickets fell regularly throughout the innings.
Players came and went, occasionally slapping the ball to the ropes before holing out, and Glenn excelled to dismiss their middle order.
Shrubsole bowled a superb 19th over, taking a fine caught and bowled to dismiss Baig and claim her 100th T20 wicket, while Sophie Ecclestone was barely hit off the square and finished with brilliant figures of 2-12.
But England’s bowlers were a little sloppy towards the end of Pakistan’s innings – a furious Brunt leaked 17 runs from her penultimate over, while they conceded 17 wides.
However, the victory has made their progress to the knockout stages a little easier – beat West Indies on Sunday and they will be through.
‘We can’t think about that final yet’ – what they said
England seamer Anya Shrubsole, speaking to BBC Test Match Special about her caught and bowled: “I’m not the best off my own bowling – I’m getting on a bit now and it was the last ball of my spell. I was pretty lucky to cling on to it.
“It is a massive tournament and 50,000 tickets already sold for the final at the MCG tells you all you need to know.
“We can’t think about that final yet. We’ve got a game against West Indies and hopefully a semi-final first.”
England captain Heather Knight: “There are still areas we can improve on. We went hard in the powerplay and it was nice to go in when there was a good score on the board.
“We would’ve liked more but the wicket was slow. We were good in the field and with the ball, but you can always get better.”
Pakistan opener Javeria Khan: “There are times bowlers can’t execute their plans but fielders always have to stand up. We made a lot of mistakes and that was the real difference between the sides.
“England are a side that if you give them anything loose, they won’t let you off.”
England leg-spinner Sarah Glenn: “I’ve learned a lot in Australia about bowling wicket to wicket and not giving any width and it worked well for me.
“The wicket was quite slow so it wasn’t easy to score, and with the total we had set we knew a good start with the ball would make it quite hard work for their batters.”