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Women's T20 WC: Edwards' England favourites for final

Friday, 5 October 2012 - 8:16pm IST | Agency: Daily Telegraph
England women's team progressed to the Sunday's World Twenty20 final in Colombo with the ease expected of the best-resourced side in the game.

England women's team progressed to the Sunday's World Twenty20 final in Colombo with the ease expected of the best-resourced side in the game. Set 93 by New Zealand, they won by seven wickets with 16 balls to spare - a shellacking in this format.

The result never looked in doubt after they had won the toss and restricted their opponents to below 100 from their 20 overs. With at least seven of the squad employed by the England and Wales Cricket Board as professionals, they have both the time and opportunity to make improvements and it showed. The only thing they lack is regular, meaningful competition - a problem difficult to overcome given no one here has given them much of a game yet.

That could change in Sunday's final where their opponents are likely to be Australia (who play West Indies today in a match that mirrors the men's semi-final), but they have already beaten them in the group stage. The Australians possess several talented players, such as all-rounder Ellyse Perry, but they have been left trailing by England in the pursuit of excellence.

Yesterday, Charlotte Edwards' team were more efficient than brilliant, though it was not their fault they were not pushed. There were still some fine flourishes, such as Lydia Greenaway's reverse-sweeping and Edwards' lusty strokes off front foot and back.

Sarah Taylor, reckoned to be -England's most accomplished batter, hit the winning runs and struck the only six in the game when she was served up with a juicy full toss by Morna Nielsen.

Critics of the women's game point to the lack of power as an impediment to its wider appeal, a point certainly evident in New Zealand's innings when the first three of the six fours came from two edges and a misfield from Danielle Wyatt, off her own bowling. In response, Edwards says that women's batting uses angles and deflections more, but you need pace on the ball and in the pitch for that, and neither was much in evidence yesterday.

The fielding was impressive, on both sides, and while the boundaries and ball are smaller than those used in the men's game, the throwing and catching were excellent, as Edwards discovered to her cost when Sophie Devine took a fine catch at backward point to dismiss her for 33.

If yesterday lacked the immediate thrill of most men's T20 matches, its means of progression, through the asphyxiation of the batting side, is still beguiling. There are echoes of the men's tactics, such as Anya Shrubsole's insistence on trying to bowl yorkers in the 18th over of New Zealand's innings when there was no sign of intent from the batters. Jade Dernbach often shows off his variations before they are required and pays the price, as Shrubsole did when her attempted blockhole balls came down as full tosses.

"This has been our best performance with the ball," Edwards said. "It's turned a lot more than in Galle, where we played our league games. It was a good all-round effort." New Zealand captain Suzie Bates said: "England are the No?1 side. I'm proud of how we tried to defend a small total."

England, with their quartet of spinners, Holly Colvin, Laura Marsh and the two Danielles, Wyatt and Hazell, have the ideal attack for the slow, bare pitches at the Premadasa.

Providing they do not have a disaster with the bat, it is difficult to see how they will not regain the World T20 trophy they relinquished in -Barbados two years ago.
 


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