From the publishers of THE HINDU
VOL.32 :: NO.26 :: Jun. 27, 2009
England's men have not won a world championship in over three decades of trying. The women, on the other hand, have won two in the past three months alone. In March they beat New Zealand by four wickets to lift the 50-over World Cup and on June 21 at Lord's the margin was even wider - they thrashed the same opposition by six wickets, winning the Twenty20 version with three overs to spare.
It was not a contest so much as a procession, with the match effectively settled after the first eight overs. Katherine Brunt, sporting a shiny black eye after an accident in training, was the Player of the Match.
Sarah Taylor superbly stumped Suzie Bates in the first over, whipping off the bails after Bates had skipped down the wicket to try and turn Laura Marsh's fifth ball to the leg side. It was Brunt's opening burst which was truly decisive though; her four-over spell cost only six runs. Extracting impressive swing under the overcast skies, she bowled the tournament's top run-scorer, Aimee Watkins, with the first ball of her second over.
New Zealand's technique against the moving ball was badly exposed. Brunt followed it with a maiden over, pinning Amy Satterthwaite back in the crease with a string of perfect yorkers.
The pressure built in those six balls told in the final over of her four, a double-wicket maiden. Lisa Doolan, a touch too clever for her own good, contrived to scoop the ball straight into Taylor's gloves when she had been aiming over slip. Rachel Priest top-edged a pull shot off her third ball, Brunt following through to take the catch herself.
With Marsh having tied up the other end, the New Zealand score was 23 for four after eight overs and the innings a smouldering wreck. Scuppered, they spent the remaining 12 overs slowly sinking, trying to scrape together a competitive total.
England's attack was unforgiving, though. Only a single over cost more than seven runs. New Zealand mustered only five boundaries between them, and attempts by the middle and lower-order prompted only a rash of late wickets. Satterthwaite endured long enough to scrape together 19 from 42 balls, but New Zealand could not recover from such a poor start.
"At times it felt like amateurs versus professionals," said the New Zealand coach Gary Stead. "England are setting the standard for the rest of the world at the moment."
Watkins concurred. "The infrastructure and amount of money the ECB have put into the team have put them leaps and bounds ahead of the other top four nations."
Charlotte Edwards, England's captain, had the pleasure of being asked if she had any advice to pass on to the men on how to go about winning matches. She declined, and did her best to avoid sounding too patronising when she said she felt "the men had done very well to reach the Super Eights."
The chase was easy enough, the odd hiccup of a wicket aside. England were slow and steady, playing with a minimum of risk that was fitting given what was at stake, even if it proved a little frustrating for the crowd. The two Taylors, Sarah and Claire, batted with calm conviction.
The former's 23 included three fine fours but it was Claire Taylor who saw the team through to the target, taking her time over settling in before accelerating to a stately 39. Fittingly she even hit the winning runs, clipping a four through mid-wicket.
Final: New Zealand 85 in 20 overs (K. Brunt three for six, N. Shaw two for 17, J. Gunn two for 19) lost to England 86 for four in 17 overs (S. Taylor 39 not out).
© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2009
Contents Daily Sports The Hindu Business Line Frontline Publications eBooks Images
Copyright © 2009 Sportstar
Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of Sportstar.