England Women vs New Zealand Women: Sophia Dunkley targets top-four spot ahead of opening T20 international

Sophia Dunkley has set her sights on breaking into England’s formidable top-four batting line-up ahead of the T20 international series against New Zealand.

Dunkley was third-highest run-scorer in The Hundred batting at No 3 for Southern Brave but has come in higher than No 6 just once for her country, in the third match of a T20 clean sweep against New Zealand in Wellington earlier this year.

The two sides renew rivalry at Chelmsford on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports, and Dunkley is likely to find herself back down the order behind the formidable likes of Tammy Beaumont and Heather Knight, who is poised to win her 200th international cap.

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She said: “We’ve got world-class players. I’m just trying to focus on what I’m doing, score as many runs as possible and hopefully put my hat in the ring to be in that top four further down the line.

“It’s 100 per cent one of my goals. I want to bat in the top four for England in all formats, so it’s definitely something I’m aspiring to.

“It’s just… keep going, give myself the best chance and if I bat lower down try and enjoy that. It’s a different challenge but I want to do well for the team.

“Whatever role I get given – if it is going in the middle or back end – it’s just knowing what I do well and sticking to my strengths, giving us the best chance of getting some big scores.”

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Captain Knight has spoken of England’s hopes that the success of The Hundred will sustain public interest in the women’s game, and the early signs are good given that Chelmsford is a near sell-out for the opening game of a three-match T20 series.

Dunkley said: “This series is going to be really exciting. Off the back of The Hundred, I think we’re all ready to go. It’ll be a very competitive and tough series.

“Hopefully [The Hundred] has given people a good insight into women’s cricket and how good it is.”

Watch the first T20 international between England and New Zealand, at Chelmsford, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 6pm on Wednesday.

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