What better way for England's women #Cricket team to mark their captain Charlotte Edwards' 200th game in charge, than with a decisive victory over the hosts New Zealand in the final Twenty20 match in the series at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval. That was the clear goal in Lincoln, New Zealand today, and the team delivered a performance worthy of such an occasion, beating the White Ferns by 5 wickets and in so doing, taking the series 2-1.
The overall series so far against the New Zealanders has proved to be quite a level contest, both in the ODIs and the T20s, so predicting a winner in any individual match is never an easy matter. This time though, it proved to be the English side who had the better of things, after winning the toss and putting the hosts in to bat first.
New Zealand were never able to dominate the visitors' bowling during their 20 allotted overs, managing a respectable but perfectly reachable score of 97-9. Their top order managed just thirty runs for the first three wickets, restricting their options later on when looking to push the scoring rate up. Sophie Devine gave the innings some tempo with a fine 37 from only 31 balls, but apart from her there were no real success stories among the batters. The English bowlers shared the plaudits between themselves, with Heather Knight, Danielle Hazell, Jenny Gunn and Laura Marsh picking up two wickets apiece.
In reply, England paced their innings sensibly to overtake their target with eight balls remaining, as Knight capped her fine all-round display by top scoring on 26. Lydia Greenway also contributed both in the field and at the crease, backing up her two catches earlier on with a fine knock of 25 off 27 balls to put her side within touching distance of the victory. Leah Tahuhu tried her best to take the wickets that were required to stem the scoring rate, picking up the top three wickets, but she was also costly at 28 runs from her maximum four overs.
For once Edwards disappointed with the bat, as she scored just 5 runs, but was more than happy with the success for her team, as she brushed off the milestone by stating that "it was all about the series win."New Zealand still lead the ODI series 2-1 and will seek to clinch that trophy when the two teams resume action on that front, with two matches scheduled to be played on Thursday and Saturday, both at Lincoln once more.