England Women 222-6 (Edwards 106no) beat
New Zealand Women 220-8 by four wickets
Women's World Cup play-off, Mumbai
Report by John Pennington
England captain Charlotte Edwards became just the third woman to reach eight One-Day International centuries as she led her side to a third-place finish at the Women's World Cup in Mumbai.
Edwards warded off a late flurry of wickets with an unbeaten 106 as England closed on 222 for six in reply to New Zealand's total of 220 for eight.
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She survived a huge stroke of luck when on 99, she appeared to have edged the ball to wicket-keeper Rachel Priest, but was reprieved when the umpire gave a wide, and she went on to take full advantage.
England lost three wickets for three runs when Arran Brindle (27), Heather Knight (0) and Jenny Gunn (0) departed in a dramatic period of play which also included Edwards' let-off.
There was no need for England to lose their heads as thanks to the half-century stands that Edwards had shared with Sarah Taylor (28), Lydia Greenway (31) and Brindle, they were making serene progress towards a second win over the White Ferns in two days.
Brindle drove Lucy Doolan to Suzie Bates, who had earlier taken a superb catch to remove the well-set Greenway, Knight tried an over-ambitious shot facing her third ball and was caught in the deep before Gunn, ball watching as Edwards set off for a single, was run out by Nicola Browne.
Edwards, who can justifiably point to a number of umpiring decisions that have gone against England during the competition, was not about to waste her opportunity, joining Claire Taylor and Karen Rolton at the top of the century-makers list.
Her innings was perfectly paced with 15 fours in 121 balls, while Laura Marsh came in and hit a quickfire 13, including the winning runs, to get England over the line following their nervous wobble.
Earlier, England's slower bowlers had once again done the bulk of the damage as New Zealand were limited to a modest score.
Holly Colvin, with three wickets, and Brindle, with two, kept New Zealand under pressure with only Amy Satterthwaite, fresh from her century in the previous match, breaking the shackles to make 85 in 95 balls. It was another fine innings from the left-hander who, like Taylor before her, enjoyed a strong run of form towards the end of the competition.
Suzie Bates' bid to end as the leading run-scorer took a slight hit when she was caught by Greenway off Gunn for 21, although she remains 102 runs ahead of Stafanie Taylor, not that such personal milestones will offer much consolation for her team falling short once again.
New Zealand recovered from 99 for four through Satterthwaite, Katie Perkins (20), Priest (15) and Browne, whose 27 not out came from just 12 balls, but they were still unable to put enough runs on the board.
Disregarding the 2005 event, where there was no play-off for third place, fourth is New Zealand's worst finishing position in a World Cup. For reigning champions England, third place at least means they finished as high as they could after missing out on the final, but that in itself proved to be a major disappointment - for the third global tournament in a row, they have, by their own lofty standards, under-achieved.
© Cricket World 2013
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