Heather Knight
England's Heather Knight plays a shot during the Twenty20 women's World Cup cricket match between England and Thailand in Canberra on February 26, 2020. Image Credit: AFP

Sydney: England captain Heather Knight smashed the first hundred of the ongoing Women’s Twenty20 World Cup to fashion their comprehensive 98-run win against Thailand in a Group B match on Wednesday.

Knight smashed 108 not out and forged a 169-run stand with Natalie Sciver to help England overcome a horror start and post 176-2, the highest total in this year’s tournament so far, at Canberra’s Manuka Oval.

England then returned to restrict Thailand to 78-7 and bounce back from Sunday’s loss to South Africa with the biggest victory, in terms of runs, in the tournament’s history.

“We were obviously gutted after the performance the other day, so it was really important we came back with a good performance,” Knight said after collecting player-of-the-match award.

“We just tried to keep it quite simple ... it was about building partnership, not panicking, staying very calm,” she said of her association with Sciver which yielded the biggest partnership in the tournament’s history.

Put into bat, England had a horrifying start to the contest which pitted the tournament’s inaugural 2009 champions and its Asian debutantes.

Amy Jones and opening partner Danni Wyatt both fell for ducks, leaving England reeling at 7-2 in the second over.

Knight joined Sciver to ensure Thailand, who lost to West Indies on their World Cup debut, did not get another chance to celebrate a dismissal.

Knight swept Ratanaporn Padunglerd for the first six of the England innings in the 13th over and brought up her fifty in the very next ball.

Spilled on 78 near the ropes, Knight brought up her maiden 20-overs hundred when she scampered for two in the final over of the innings.

Celebration immediately followed as the 29-year-old smashed the very next delivery from Chanida Sutthiruang over the long-on boundary for her fourth six.

Knight’s 66-ball knock also included 13 boundaries.

Sciver could not be denied her second successive fifty of the tournament either and her 59 not out included eight boundaries.