Sophia Dunkley is eyeing a suitable end to England’s international summer, but knows the prospect of a final in the stands at Lord’s hinges on Wednesday’s mandatory clash against India.
The third Royal London ODI between the two teams will mark England’s first women’s cricket home match since the triumphant 2017 World Cup final, as well as the last match for manager Lisa Keightley in charge.
But after losing by seven wickets in the opening game, the hosts must first settle the score in Canterbury to make their long-awaited return to St John’s Wood on Saturday a series decision.
“We need to win the next two games to win the series,” Dunkley said. “If we can define that as a decision maker at Lord’s, that should make it a great occasion.
“It will be Lisa’s last game with us and Tammy Beaumont’s 100th game, so reaching a decision would be great. We have a lot to think about. It’s very exciting to play at Lord’s for the first time since the World Cup final, so we want it to be a very special game.
“We’ve had a lot this summer – it takes you out – but having it at the end adds that extra motivation to finish the season on a high. We will put all our energies into these last two games.”
Dunkley finished top scorer in the recent T20 series between teams, which England won 2-1 with 115 runs in three innings. India’s Smriti Mandhana was close behind at 111 and continued her strong form with a 91 at Hove in the first ODI.
The pair met during their time together at Southern Brave in The Hundred, but Dunkley has yet to discover any obvious chinks in Mandhana’s armor.
“We had some conversations about hitting and stuff, but Smriti is just a very good player and very experienced. His weaknesses are quite limited,” she said.
“But we showed in the T20s, if we can start really well, we can go through the first order and get to the middle. We just have to show up and be at our best.
“We did the analysis very well and, if we do, we will see what it can come back with.”
England have freed up Freya Davies and Maia Bouchier to contest the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy final, but they can still renew their squad with sailor Lauren Bell and all-rounder Freya Kemp waiting in the wings.