Edwards and England in a hurry
England women got their NatWest Quadrangular Twenty20 series off to a flying start with an eight-wicket win over New Zealand at Chelmsford.
After New Zealand could only manage a disappointing 83 with just three batsmen making double figures, captain Charlotte Edwards struck an unbeaten 40 off 36 balls as England reached their victory target in 13.1 overs to cap an impressive all-round performance.
England executed their plans perfectly in the field and were thankful of the contributions from Arran Brindle and Holly Colvin, who took three wickets apiece.
Colvin deceived the New Zealand batsmen with her flight and guile on her way to impressive figures of 3-17 in the middle overs, while Brindle, who opened the bowling with Katherine Brunt, returned at the death to finish with 3-11 off four overs.
Edwards’ decision to field first after winning the toss was justified as early as the fifth ball of the match as Brunt comprehensively bowled Aimee Watkins with one that held its line to hit off stump.
New Zealand struggled to cope with the moving ball and, despite only losing one wicket, could muster just 24 runs from the six-over powerplay.
Amy Satterthwaite edged a shot off Colvin to Danielle Wyatt at short third man before the slow left-armer had opener Suzie Bates, attempting to paddle-sweep, caught at short fine-leg by Claire Taylor for 19.
She struck again in the 12th over by claiming a return catch off Sara McGlashan, and to make matters worse for New Zealand Liz Perry was run out attempting a quick single to Colvin as England continued to impress in the field.
As New Zealand went in search of some much-needed runs, Brindle and Danielle Hazell shared the final five wickets.
Some neat work from wicketkeeper Sarah Taylor saw Lucy Doolan stumped off Brindle before Hazell trapped Nicola Browne lbw for 13.
England showed their athleticism once again in the field when Lydia Greenway took an excellent catch running in from the boundary as Rachel Priest, showing signs of aggression, became Brindle’s second victim.
Hazell caught and bowled Kate Broadmore before Brindle wrapped up the innings by bowling Sian Ruck to leave England a simple run-chase.
England started quickly and looked comfortable on a wicket that had proved difficult for their Kiwi counterparts. Edwards stamped her authority on the game in the first over as she despatched Browne to the boundary on three occasions.
Fellow opener Laura Marsh also attacked in the powerplay and had reached 24 off 20 balls by the time she drove Ruck straight to Bates to end an opening stand of 42.
England lost Claire Taylor after she was unluckily run out backing up, but it was plain sailing from there as Edwards hit the winning runs with a well-timed flick off her legs that raced to the boundary.
They meet Australia at Bristol on Saturday before England men take on Sri Lanka and today’s player of the match Colvin is eager to carry their form into the weekend.
She said: “I was really pleased with my bowling but it was a great team effort in the field. All the bowlers had a good day and we’ll be confident going into the game against Australia on Saturday.”
Edwards was equally upbeat about her side's chances against Australia, adding: “Katherine Brunt bowled brilliantly today and the spinners chipped away and bowled fantastically and were backed up well by the fielders.
“We’ve worked hard on our fielding recently and it has been something we have always prided ourselves on, so I’m really pleased with the performance today.
“It’s great the way we went out there and knocked off the runs, we were aggressive from the start and Laura Marsh played fantastically well.
“I’m really looking forward to playing Australia on Saturday. It should be an exciting game in Bristol.”
Australia also got their campaign off to an impressive start with a comprehensive eight-wicket victory over India.
Sarah Coyte took 4-5 off four overs as India were bowled out for a meagre 62 with only Harmanpreet Kaur, who made 41, reaching double figures.
After losing Shelley Nitschke early on, Australia reached their target in 10.2 overs with opener Leah Poulton striking an unbeaten 31 off 28 balls.