England women start in style

Charlotte Edwards & Rachel Priest

Charlotte Edwards pulls on her way to 46 off 50 balls at the top of the order, laying the foundations for a comfortable win

England women opened their summer campaign with a convincing 37-run win over New Zealand in the first NatWest Twenty20 international at Chelmsford.

They defended a total of 150 for five with some ease, bowling the White Ferns out for 113 courtesy of a well-drilled bowling performance and an athletic display in the field.

It represented an impressive start to their commitments on home soil this season, having crashed out of the World Twenty20 at the group stages last month.

Captain Charlotte Edwards and Claire Taylor, with 46 and 34 respectively, were the major contributors to a challenging England total which also featured an unbeaten 23 off 17 balls from Lydia Greenway, whose four catches and a run-out helped earn her the match award.

Skipper Aimee Watkins and Sara McGlashan ensured New Zealand matched England’s score of 46 for one after the first six overs of powerplay, but they holed out in the deep in successive Danielle Hazell overs to undermine their pursuit.

The off-spinner finished with 2-19 off four overs, and slow left-armer Danielle Wyatt, who earlier showed glimpses of her talent with the bat with an enterprising 10 not out, removed the dangerous Liz Perry and Nicola Browne en route to figures of 3-12 off 1.5 overs.

Wyatt, aged just 19, had Maria Fahey stumped to seal victory with seven balls unused, serving as further justification for Edwards’ decision to employ spin for almost 14 of the 18.5 overs England bowled.

“I asked for a big performance and they certainly delivered,” said a delighted Edwards. “The spinners all bowled exceptionally well today.”

Greenway said: “I had a good day but credit to the bowlers - they put it in the right areas. Hopefully this is the start of a good summer and we are on the way back up.”

Watkins admitted New Zealand were “a bit rusty”, adding: “It was a used pitch and they were quicker to adjust to the surface.”