Brunt lauds England’s fighting spirit
Katherine Brunt paid tribute to the character shown by England after they kickstarted their Women's World Cup campaign with an impressive victory over host nation India.
The defending champions knew victory was all but essential today following their shock opening defeat at the hands of unfancied Sri Lanka.
Rather than being burdened by the pressure on their shoulders, England responded superbly, with several individuals - most notably Brunt and skipper Charlotte Edwards - delivering outstanding displays.
Edwards' seventh ODI century was central to England's total of 272 for eight and Brunt, who thumped 21 off 16 balls in the batting powerplay, then returned 4-29 to limit India to 240 for nine in reply.
"We're all delighted," Brunt told ecb.co.uk after the match. "It was obviously a huge game for us and we treated it like a World Cup final.
"The fact is we just did not deliver the standards we are used to against Sri Lanka, but we knew exactly what we needed to do today. It was about character and a lot of people stood up and performed. We showed a lot of fight."
Brunt's initial impact came with the bat after she had been promoted to five as England searched for quick runs.
"That's a thing we've been working on, sending me in during the powerplay if a wicket falls," she explained.
"I had freedom today; Charlotte had built a really good base and Sarah (Taylor, who contributed 35 to a second-wicket stand of 100) had been the anchor for her, so I went in and basically executed what I practised."
Two thumping fours off seam-bowling rival Jhulan Goswami represented the highlight of Brunt's cameo.
"She's a brilliant bowler, but I like to hit her and she likes to hit me," Brunt added with a smile. "She did today, but I think I got one more in than her so I'm happy!"
India were soon tottering on 29 for three following a brace of wickets from Brunt, who returned at the death to pick up two more scalps with successive balls.
"I didn't quite get it right to the left-handers of Sri Lanka - my lines were slightly off - so I wanted to make sure that they were spot on today and thankfully they were," she said.
"I made use of the pitch; it was actually a decent track to get the ball up at waist-to-head height and I wanted to make sure I capitalised on my aggressive side."
Slow left-armer Holly Colvin, whose 10-over stint cost just 29, received praise from Brunt for a "brilliant" display.
There was also a glowing tribute for England's captain, who surpassed Belinda Clark's mark of 4,844 to become the record run-scorer in women's ODIs.
"She took her time early on and that was obviously the correct thing to do," Brunt reasoned.
"Goswami was bowling very well and even if she goes for ones or twos it really doesn't matter in the whole scheme of things. Charlotte took her time and really capitalised when she was middling the ball.
"For me it's one of her best performances to date. It was a great hundred and for her to also become the leading run-scorer in ODI cricket ... she's an inspiration to everyone."