England women reaffirmed their status as favourites to lift the inaugural ICC Women’s World Twenty20 trophy with a seven-wicket win over New Zealand in their first official warm-up match.
The home side won the toss and elected to field on a cold, overcast day at King’s College in Taunton. They fielded 12 players for the game with Ebony Rainford-Brent and newcomer Danielle Hazell missing out.
The White Ferns posted 122-8 off their twenty overs and England timed the run-chase perfectly to seal the victory.
The opening New Zealand pair, new captain Aimee Watkins, who took over from Haidee Tiffen who retired after the World Cup defeat, and Lucy Doolan put on 40 before Doolan was caught by Katherine Brunt fielding at mid-wicket off the bowling of Isa Guha for 20.
Brunt had opened the bowling with Nicky Shaw, the heroine from the World Cup Final, and Guha had come on first change.
Suzie Bates joined Watkins at the crease and together they added 25 to New Zealand’s total before Bates (10) was caught by Sarah Taylor as she top-edged a delivery from Holly Colvin, who was bowling in partnership with Guha.
Bates was replaced in the middle by Sara McGlashan. She was dropped on four by Brunt but two balls later, having made eight, was heading back to the pavilion after a catch by Lydia Greenway in mid-wicket off Laura Marsh’s bowling leaving the visitors on 81-3.
Sarah Tsukigawa joined her captain at the crease but they only added seven to the total before Charlotte Edwards claimed her first wicket, that of her opposite number Watkins who had made 38.
Nicola Browne joined Tsukigawa and soon hit New Zealand’s third six of the innings. She was then dropped at deep backward square by Caroline Atkins. Tsukigawa (4) was the next to fall as she was run out - Browne struck a delivery which ricocheted straight back onto Tsukigawa’s stumps who was caught out of her crease.
With New Zealand on 100-5 Sophie Devine joined Browne at the crease. She made four before she was bowled by Jenny Gunn leaving New Zealand 106-6. Gunn had been brought into the attack in the last five overs and she bowled really tightly hitting her areas and keeping New Zealand’s scoring down.
Wicket-keeper Rachel Priest was next in but her and Browne’s partnership was short and sweet as Atkins redeemed herself and took a catch off Edwards’ bowling to dismiss Browne for 12.
Amy Satterthwaite headed to the middle with her side on 108-7 but Priest was clean-bowled soon after by Gunn for three. Gunn and Edwards finished as the pick of England’s bowlers taking 2-13 and 2-15 respectively. As the White Ferns’ number ten, Katie Martin headed out, they were 113-8. She played the ball well finishing unbeaten on eight and between her and Satterthwaite (3*) pushed the visitors through to 122-8 off their allotted twenty overs.
In reply England’s openers of Edwards and Sarah Taylor got off to a solid start posting 73 for the first wicket before Taylor was caught by Browne at mid-off off the bowling of Satterthwaite for 44.
Claire Taylor, player of the tournament and the number one batter in the world, joined Edwards at the crease and together they added 13 before Taylor was bowled by Bates for 7.
Beth Morgan was next in and with some quick running between the wickets she and Edwards added another 10 before Morgan (8) was caught by Doolan for Bates’ second wicket.
Greenway came in at five for England and she and Edwards steered the home side to victory. Edwards struck a four to bring up her fifty and then struck another four off the next ball to win the match. Greenway finished unbeaten on 11.
After the game Edwards said: “It’s a good start. We are in our own conditions and we have been playing a lot recently, so we’re in good form as a team. It was a good outing for us and I’m pleased we got the result.
“We did well to restrict them to 122 and did well to get the runs and a few wickets as well. I’m looking forward to another game tomorrow against Australia and hope the weather holds!”