England Women lost their first official Women’s World Cup warm-up match against Australia by 25 runs today at the New South Wales University ground in Randwick, Sydney.
England won the toss and elected to field on a good batting wicket with a quick outfield on a warm, sunny day. Both teams had agreed to field 13 players to ensure time out in the middle for the majority of their squads ahead of the start of the official tournament on Saturday.
Katherine Brunt and Isa Guha opened the bowling for England taking two early wickets. Guha had Australian opener Shelley Nitschke caught behind by Sarah Taylor in her first over; the second of the match, while Brunt trapped the Australia captain Karen Rolton lbw on her first ball in the third over of the game.
With the hosts struggling on 9-2 Lisa Sthalekar came in to join opener Alex Blackwell at the crease. Blackwell was the mainstay for Australia, batting out the whole innings and ending unbeaten on 91.The all-rounder, Sthalekar made 12 before she was dismissed by a direct hit from Nicky Shaw fielding at deep fine leg off Brunt’s bowling and Australia were 37-3.
Shaw came on first change for England, taking over from Guha at the pavilion end. She and Brunt kept the bowling tight to restrict Australia from scoring freely. The two spinners, Laura Marsh and Holly Colvin came on second change to bowl in tandem.
Jodie Fields (nee Purves) was next in for Australia and together she and Blackwell posted 24 before Fields (14) hooked a shot off Marsh which was caught by Caroline Atkins. With Australia on 61-4 Leah Poulton headed out to the middle. She added 24 before she was caught by a diving catch from Jenny Gunn at full stretch fielding at mid-on off Colvin’s bowling leaving the hosts 101-5.
Jessica Cameron was next in for Australia but she fell to a slower ball from Nicky Shaw for 14 and Australia were struggling on 124-6.
England captain, Charlotte Edwards came onto bowl towards the end of the batting powerplay which Australia took in the 35th over. This ICC Women’s World Cup will be the first time that England women will have played batting powerplays. She had an immediate impact claiming the wicket of Lauren Ebsary who had come in for Cameron. Ebsary was caught behind by Lauren Griffiths who had replaced Sarah Taylor behind the stumps for England after 25 overs.
As Australia’s golden girl, Elysse Perry, headed out to the middle Australia were 159-7. She added eight before she was run out by Colvin – a result of a mix-up between the two batters going for the second run and then changing their mind and Colvin scooped up the ball to Shaw who knocked off the bails.
Rene Farrell was in at number ten for Australia and she and Blackwell pushed through and saw Australia to 214-8 after fifty overs. Farrell finished on fifteen not out.
In reply England lost opener Sarah Taylor on the first ball of their innings. She nicked the ball to wicketkeeper Fields off Emma Sampson’s bowling and England were 0-1.
Claire Taylor joined Caroline Atkins at the crease and they built up a steady partnership adding 49 before Atkins was run out by Perry for 18. She missed the call for a third run and it was an easy run out for Perry.
With England on 49-2 Edwards joined Taylor in the middle. They added 21 together before Taylor was caught and bowled by Erin Osbourne for 35.
Left-hander, Lydia Greenway joined her Kent team mate at the crease as England struggled slightly on 70-3. They built up a solid partnership with Greenway playing some lovely strokes and added 65 before Greenway was bowled by Nitschke for 23 as she went to hit the ball over the top and missed.
Gunn came in at six for the visitors and made eight before being caught at mid-wicket by Sthalekar off the bowling of Nitschke. Beth Morgan headed out to the crease to join Edwards when England were on 152-5. She made four before she was trapped lbw by Perry walking across her stumps.
Needing 44 to win and with three wickets in hand, Shaw headed to the middle to join her captain. She hit some big shots but was caught by Ebsary as she hit out off the bowling of Sarah Andrews for nine leaving England on187-7.
England suffered a mini collapse at the end losing their last four wickets for just two runs. Colvin came in at nine for England as they battled to save the game in the last five overs. Edwards was next to fall having played a fine innings to hold the England attack together and finding the gaps in the field to post 72. She was trapped lbw by Osbourne and as Brunt headed out England were on 188-8.
Colvin was run out as she went for the run after hitting a shot down to third man. She was sent back by Brunt, but failed to make it in time and was run out by Andrews without scoring.
Guha joined Brunt in the middle but didn’t get a chance to make any runs as Brunt (1) was run out by Sthalekar after not making it back to her crease in time following some confusion between the two batters. England were all out for 189.
Captain Edwards said after the game: “We’re really disappointed. We played really good crickwet for 90 overs fo the game and in five overs we threw away all the good we had done; They didn’t win the game, we lost it.
“We’ve got to learn from our mistakes and we’ve got an opportunity in the next warm-up game to do this as we play the West Indies.”
Assistant Coach, Jack Birkenshaw added: “If we’re going to win this World Cup we need contributions from more than three batsmen. Everybody has to contribute. Today was an excellent opportunity for our middle order batters to quietly win that match. Unfortunately on this occasion they did not have the patience to take us over the line and we fell 25 runs short.
”At one stage we were 150-4 and suddenly the last six wickets went for thirty-odd runs. These batters need to stand up and be counted.
“As Lottie said we have an opportunity to rectify this against West Indies on Wednesday and that’s exactly what we’ll do.”
photo Getty Images