Stand out performances from Cheshire’s Sophie Ecclestone, Sophia Dunkley and Heather Knight ensured a clinical England opened their T20 World Cup with a seven-wicket victory over West Indies.

After electing to bat first in the Paarl sunshine, Windies captain Hayley Matthews was in fluent form before Ecclestone trapped her LBW for 42 in the 11th over.

Shemaine Campbelle held the innings together as England chipped away at regular intervals, with sharp fielding leading to two run-outs.

Campbelle was eventually dismissed for 34 by Katherine Sciver-Brunt in the 17th over.

Ecclestone took two more wickets to restrict West Indies to 135.

Another dominant performance from the star Lancashire spinner, who finished with figures of 3-23.

A scintillating 34 (18) from Sophia Dunkley got England’s reply off to a rapid start.

When she departed in the sixth over, the score was already 50-2 and the chase looked even simpler than it had to begin with.

A composed 67-run partnership between the experienced Heather Knight and Nat Sciver-Brunt guided England home with six overs to spare.

Captain Knight drove Chinelle Henry for six to finish things with a flourish and garnish a statement performance from her side.

One that tournament favourites Australia, who play New Zealand later today in Group One, will have watched with interest.

Ecclestone told Mersey Sport Live on Wednesday that head coach Jon Lewis had instilled the team with positivity and freedom.

Today’s performance provided further evidence of that.

Up next, England face Ireland on Monday at Boland Park once again.

The game gets underway at 1pm UK time.

(Featured pic by Bahnfrend under Creative Commons)