Edwards stars in England triumph

Follow England women's progress on ecb.co.uk - click here for exclusive interviews and videos, latest news, match reports and more

Watch exclusive match highlights from Loughborough as England women get their summer off to a winning start

Charlotte Edwards struck an unbeaten half-century as England women beat Ireland by 51 runs in the NatWest International T20 at Loughborough.

After losing the toss, the hosts' captain acclimatised to conditions superbly by compiling 72 from 61 balls as England posted 136 for four.

In reply, Ireland were never up with the asking rate, finishing on 85 for five as Danni Wyatt took 2-12 off three overs.

England suffered a blow in the opening over as Laura Marsh was bowled by Kim Garth for four.And they were soon 21 for two when Sarah Taylor was dismissed by Laura Cullen.

Edwards looked in fine touch and put on 39 for the third wicket with Lydia Greenway, whose 13-ball innings was ended by Isobel Joyce.

Charlotte Edwards

Charlotte Edwards leads from the front, hitting an unbeaten 72 from 61 balls as England women defeated Ireland by 51 runs

A 53-run partnership between Edwards and Arran Brindle took the score into three figures until the latter departed for 29 off 23 balls.

Edwards gave England late impetus as she took her fours tally to eight.

Ireland started watchfully, Clare Shillington and Cecelia Joyce opening the innings with a 47-run stand in 10.2 overs. However, Wyatt struck twice to remove the pair for 29 and 16 respectively.

With the pressure increasing all the time, Holly Colvin - returning to the side - bowled Melissa Scott-Hayward for a single and Marsh trapped Isobel Joyce in front.

Susie Rowe ran out Laura Delany as a late Ireland surge failed to materialise.

Edwards said: "It was good to get out and play after the conditions have been against us for most of the week. It was really nice to be back playing together and to have Katherine (Brunt) and Holly back in the squad.

"We were a little bit rusty in the field, but that's understandable given we haven't had that much cricket due to the rain. We've got another days training then we'll be looking forward to getting the India series under way on Tuesday.

"It was nice to contribute; credit to Ireland though, they bowled really well upfront. I feel in good form and it's just good to get another win in Twenty20 cricket.

"We're delighted that the England Women's Academy beat India this morning and a couple of our squad players performed well in that match, so that's a really good sign heading into the series."