Wednesday 18 March 2009 

England 'Blip' With Loss Having Secured Final Spot

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Australia 161-2 (Rolton 42no) beat
England 161 (Taylor 49, Andrews 3-35) by eight wickets
Women's World Cup Super Sixes, North Sydney Oval
By Jim White

Charlotte Edward's team will need to re-focus their efforts ahead of Sunday's Womens World Cup final against New Zealand after a disappointing eight-wicket loss to the hosts Australia.

On a warm day and with a good wicket, Caroline Atkins opened up with Sarah Taylor and an opening over of 11 runs looked to set the tone for the day.  Keen to keep their unbeaten record, both openers were tring to be positive but when Atkins played all round a swinging delivery and was plumb LBW, Sarah Andrews and Australia had their first wicket.

There were no dramas in the next few overs but a fired up Andrews then had Sarah Taylor brilliantly caught at second slip to grab her second wicket and bring the England captain to the wicket.

After ten overs England were 43 for two but a leading edge from Edwards and a superb one-handed juggling and diving caught and bowled by Rene Farrell soon made it 43 for three. Claire Taylor would require all her experince to help the score along to a competative total.  Lydia Greenway also played competently and after 20 overs they had moved the score onto 75 for three.  Cool under pressure, the two continued to push the ball around with the partnership passing 50 and Taylor starting to look to dominate.

The second amazing wicket fell as Greenway (22) was tempted down the wicket but only pushed at a wide delivery which she missed and was comfortably stumped   The jubilant Australian players hardly had time to settle down when Taylor gifted her wicket by holing out at point one short of her half-century.

After 33 overs England had some work to do and when the sixth wicket fell at just 114, England were in danger of losing their unbeaten run.  They were eventually bowled out for 161 in the final over with only Jenny Gunn (22) and Laura Marsh (16) getting into double figures.  Sarah Andrews was the most successful bowler for Australia as she took 3-35.

In reply, Australia got off to a flying start as Shelley Nitschke (37) and Leah Poulton (38) set Australia on their way before Karen Roulton hit two sixes in her 41 to anchor the run chase and see the hosts home in the 33rd over.  England were always behind and were not able to stem the flow of runs.  All of the top four batters hit sixes and despite one wicket apiece for Laura Marsh and Holly Colvin, and one five-ball over, Australia romped home with more than 16 overs to spare. 

Captain Edwards changed the English bowling around but it was to no avail.  Alex Blackwell (38) provided solid support for her captain but it turned out to not be enough to see them through to the World Cup Final as New Zealand comprehensively beat the Pakistan to secure their place against England.

Speaking afterwards, Edwards said: "This is the worst game of cricket we have played in a year. It had to come at some point and I'm glad it's not Sunday. I'm hoping this blip is just the thing we needed to give the girls a bit of a kick.

"Any England-Australia game is a big game, so no excuses from us. We were beaten by a great Australian team today who played really good cricket. We just weren't up to it.

"If you are 106 for three and then 115 for seven you are not going to win many games of cricket. It's something to work on but the positive is we are in the final and playing New Zealand.

"We have already beaten them but it is going to be the biggest game of our lives - if we can't be up for Sunday then we can't be up for any game. I'm sure we will put everything right.”

© Cricket World 2009

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