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England Women Continue To Show The Men The Way

John Pennington

Whisper it quietly, but England could be on the verge of World Cup glory - and with an unbeaten run that stretches back nearly a year, it's the Women's turn to take centre stage.

Wins over Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan and New Zealand have left them one win away from the final in Australia and with their remaining Super Six matches against the West Indies (against whom they haven't lost since 1979) and Australia (who could by then be out of the reckoning) Cricket World® Radio will almost certainly be covering England in a World Cup final for the first time. Intriguingly, provided the Women beat the West Indies, they have a chance to reach 18 ODI wins on the trot which they can achieve by beating Australia - who hold the current record run of 17.

Everything has been building up towards this tournament beautifully for the Women and their form in the last 18 months has been nothing short of outstanding.

Cricket - Women - England Women celebrate
Another day, another wicket, another win: England Women celebrate © ICC

grabbed plenty of headlines while an ODI series win in New Zealand as well as a drawn series in Australia gave them the confidence heading into what appeared to be a tricky set of home series in the summer.

The West Indies, India and South Africa were all comprehensively beaten with England not losing a game and it was clear that England meant business. From sending members of their squad out early to acclimatise to Australian conditions to players pulling out key performances when they were most needed, the Women have provided England fans with a refreshing lift following the dismal run that the Men have put together.

One wonders if coach Mark Lane has made it onto the list of names provided by the headhunters as potential successors to Peter Moores.

Prior to the New Zealand match, captain Charlotte Edwards said that her side had not yet reached its full potential in Australia. “I still think there is more to come from this England team," she said. "You haven’t seen the bottom order as yet. It’s not good peaking in the group stage."

And how right she was, as England produced an excellent display in beating New Zealand by 31 runs although that owed much to Edwards' 57 and career-best four for 37. With Caroline Atkins (click here for her exclusive diary) in good form at the top of the order, and spinners Laura Marsh and Holly Colvin at the top of both their game and the , a second World Cup win, and a first away from England, could, or even should, be just around the corner.

And as Andrew Strauss's men continue to fumble their way through Twenty20 Internationals, they might want to watch the women a little more closely as with Edwards leading the way in Twenty20 cricket, there is a strong chance that England will be celebrating a double success in 2009 when the inaugural Women's ICC World Twenty20 is played alongside the men's event.

And who knows, perhaps the success of the women can inspire the men to great things as well. But let's not get too greedy - just one win before they return to home shores in April would be a start - for now, if you want to see an England team winning the Ashes and pushing the top teams all the way in global competitions, there is only one team to watch in the next six months.

© Cricket World 2009

Cricket World Editor John Pennington, the 'voice' of Cricket World Radio, writes a weekly column on Mondays for www.cricketworld.com.