Danni Wyatt: England need ‘A-game’ in T20 World Cup opener

In her latest Sky Sports column, Danni Wyatt reacts to England’s mixed results in their T20 World Cup warm-up games, suggesting the team must bring their ‘A-game’ when their tournament kicks off on Sunday…

We’ve arrived in Perth. I think we’re all just ready for that first game now. We’ve been here a few weeks and I know I’m chomping at the bit and I’m sure the other girls are too.

We can’t wait to get going and bring that trophy home! I think this is my fifth T20 World Cup and I’ve lost in too many finals, so hopefully this is the one!

Well, hello @englandcricket

You sure do look excited 😆 pic.twitter.com/Tcyej15lyM

It has been quite a long build-up – I follow some of the Australian media on Twitter and they’ve gone big on the tournament, which is really good, and I’ve seen Ellyse Perry’s face all around Melbourne and Perth.

The media has been great actually – we had a welcoming event this week, a lot of people came along and people around the pool who don’t even like cricket knew that a World Cup was going on.

Quite a lot of us, in fact, everyone apart from the youngsters, has played in Perth and we’ve got good experience of playing at the WACA, so that will hold us in good stead.

Obviously our coach Lisa Keightley has been in charge of Perth Scorchers for the last four years in the WBBL, so she’s got great experience of the WACA as well, and we sat down yesterday at training and spoke about how different it might play compared to other pitches in Australia obviously with the bounce.

Tammy Beaumont and myself have both managed to get a few runs in the WBBL at the WACA, which is nice! It’s actually quite a true wicket to be fair, there’s a bit of bounce in it, but you get value for your shots. Amy Jones and Nat Sciver played out here for Perth too.

Besides cricket, Perth is an amazing place – we are currently spoilt here at the Crown Hotel. Amazing rooms and I think everyone’s Instagram stories have been sharing a view from the room! We are very lucky to be travelling the world for a living.

There are some lovely beaches here too, although it has been a bit cloudy – I was going to head out to one but instead opted to chill and watch the first game of the tournament in bed with my feet up and a cup of tea!

A few of us have been out for dinner at the Lucky Shag bar – it sounds a bit dodgy but is actually really nice. We’ve got good memories of it from our Ashes Test victory at the WACA in 2014 – we went there for celebratory beers afterwards.

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But now it’s all about getting focused for Sunday; we are pretty full-on now with training and we have a night session planned which will be good to get used to conditions under lights for our first game.

A lot of the girls’ parents are due to arrive in Australia, which will be really nice – my mum and dad can’t make it, but they’ve travelled a lot to see me play, so they can watch me from home this time.

Cricket, especially T20 cricket is a very funny game. You can be on top of your game one day and then the next day it can be completely different. I’d rather we had the hiccup that we did against Sri Lanka in a warm-up rather than in the tournament itself. I think it’s a kick up the bum for all of us.

Chamari Atapattu just showed how much she can just take it away from any team in the world, and that’s the thing about T20 cricket – anyone can beat anyone on the day, it just takes one player to have an outstanding day and, before you know it, you’ve lost.

The New Zealand warm-up game though was probably our best performance since we’ve been in Australia. We bowled really well, got Sophie Devine out early, took wickets regularly and managed to knock off the runs with two overs to go.

That was really pleasing against such a quality side and, personally, to get a few runs and a bit of time in the middle was really good.

The day before, I got the coach to throw balls at my head! New Zealand have Lea Tahuhu and Sophie, who have got a bit of pace behind them; I knew they’d probably bowl a few short balls at me, so I got the coach to wang some on the slinger at me!

Amy Jones doesn’t say much when we go out to bat, but neither do I really! I think she’s ready to show the world what she can really do. She’s quality; she has strengths which are different to mine and I think we complement each other really well. I also think she’s the best wicket-keeper in the world.

South Africa are a very tough, underrated opening opponent. They are one of the best teams in the world – they’ve got Shabnim Ismail and Marizanne Kapp bowling upfront, who have got some good wheels behind them.

I faced them in the WBBL a few months ago, so I know what they can do. There’s also Lizelle Lee, who can take the game away from you with the bat, so she’ll be an important wicket for us to get out early.

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