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England in good place: Sophia Dunkley

Sophia Dunkley believes England are well prepared for Thursday’s Women’s World Cup clash with Pakistan after their previous two group matches were “semi-finals in themselves”.

England edged past hosts New Zealand with a one-wicket victory in Auckland on Sunday to boost their hopes of reaching the last four.

It came after a poor start to the tournament which saw Heather Knight’s side lose their opening three matches – the first time England Women have ever lost three in a row in the competition.

Dunkley reckons the nail-biting finish to the last game and the crucial win over India last week stand England in good stead ahead of the Pakistan encounter.

“I think it felt like the last two games were almost semi-finals in themselves for us because, had we lost, it puts us in a terrible position, so I think having those experiences and those feelings will be great,” the England middle-order batter said.

“Hopefully we can get a couple more wins that aren’t as nerve-wracking and aren’t as close, but good to have that experience for sure.”

England have struggled to close games out in the tournament, losing tight matches to West Indies and South Africa and only just getting over the line against New Zealand having looked comfortable at 4-176 in pursuit of 204.

Dunkley accepts that is something the players must address.

“I think for me it (the main focus point to improve) would be finishing games off and getting that clinically done,” she said. “I think the other day we obviously lost a few wickets late on in the game and it put us under a bit of pressure.

“So I think having that set batter there at the end would definitely do us the world of good, so definitely looking to finish a few more games off going forward.”

Pakistan head into the game buoyed by victory over West Indies on Monday, but Dunkley and England are relishing the challenge in Christchurch.

“I think we’re always under pressure a little bit throughout the World Cup because it is such a tight tournament,” the 23-year-old said.

“But I think, coming off two wins, we’re feeling pretty confident in the group and we’re in a quite a good place, so looking forward to the challenge. It’s quite an exciting opportunity.”

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