Sophie Ecclestone believes teamwork is making the dream work for England after their spin trio combined again to down West Indies and seal a semi-final spot at the Women’s T20 World Cup.
Experienced all-rounder Nat Sciver may have taken home the Player of the Match award for her third half-century of the tournament but it was England’s young spin posse who sent West Indies into collapse in Sydney.
Ecclestone took three for seven — her last being her 50th T20I wicket, while leg-spinner Sarah Glenn, 20, claimed two and Mady Villiers, 19, celebrated her maiden T20 World Cup wicket on her tournament debut as England comfortably dispatched West Indies by 46 runs.
Ecclestone, who has now taken scalps in her last 18 T20I outings, is on a remarkable run of form for a 20-year-old and believes the spotlight on England’s spin potential is bringing out the best in her.
“With Glenny and now Mady in the team, it's really nice to have a spin companionship,” said Ecclestone.
“I really get on well with them — they’re some of my best friends in the squad. It’s nice to all be performing well together and winning games for England. It’s a dream come true really.
“I think the pressure being on me brings the best out of me, personally.
“We really tried to get the dot balls up in the powerplay especially, so it’s really nice to get the positives from it and get the dot balls that we deserve.
“I’m really happy with how I’m bowling currently and I just hope it continues, especially with Sarah and now Mady in the team.”
England’s spin group are the most economical at the World Cup, going at just 3.87 runs per over and their performances have proved crucial in turning around their side’s fortunes after a shaky start to the tournament.
England’s hopes of reaching the semi-finals in Australia suffered a setback when they lost by six wickets to South Africa in their opener but confident victories over Thailand, Pakistan and West Indies have since ensured Lisa Keightley’s side will make the semi-finals for the fifth tournament in a row.
Sunday’s win over West Indies looked the most convincing yet as England posted 143 for five and Windies never looked close to chasing it down at the Sydney Showground as they were dismissed for 97.
For Ecclestone, the initial South Africa setback was just what her side needed to freshen up their approach, as they now prepare for a last-four clash with either India, New Zealand or hosts Australia.
“I’m really glad how the girls have fought back,” she added.
“I think the slip-up in the first game was a bit of a wake-up call for us all to realise we were in a World Cup now and that we needed to up our game — and we did.
“I’ve never been to the Sydney Cricket Ground. I’ve seen it all on TV in the Ashes when I was younger so I’m really excited to go and play a game there.”