Wyatt heroics hurt Australia
Spinner Danielle Wyatt took 3-10 as England women progressed into the NatWest Quadrangular T20 final with a 22-run win over Australia at Bristol.
Australia were cruising to their victory total until the introduction of Wyatt, who required just two overs to claim a trio of scalps as Australia lost six wickets for 25 runs to collapse to 114 all out, despite a fluent 33 off 29 balls from Meg Lanning.
Openers Charlotte Edwards, with an excellent run-a-ball 43, and Laura Marsh once again gave England an impressive start with some strong hitting and clever innovation as they put on 59 for the first wicket but, after the run-rate dropped once the field spread, England were reliant on Sarah Taylor’s cameo at the death to post a competitive total of 136 for six.
Spinner Erin Osbourne, who claimed 2-24 off four overs, successfully took pace off the ball and strangled England in the middle overs after an impressive fielding performance from the Australians.
After Australia won the toss and inserted England into bat, the hosts started cautiously in bowler-friendly conditions with Edwards and Marsh cleverly rotating the strike with a host of quick singles.
England upped the ante with both openers using innovative strokes to reach the boundary as well as taking advantage of over-pitched bowling to reach 41 without loss at the end of the six-over powerplay.
England looked comfortable until, in the ninth over, Marsh tried one unconventional shot too many and was bowled trying to reverse sweep Osbourne to leave England 59 for one.
Claire Taylor came and went pretty quickly as she was bowled attempting to pull a Shelley Nitschke delivery that kept low as Australia fought back.
Edwards kept the innings ticking along with some aggressive shots into the leg side until she departed after striking a fierce drive straight into the hands of Alex Blackwell at mid-on to give the economical Osbourne her second scalp.
With seven wickets in hand and 96 runs on the board after 15 overs, England attacked and started to take risks which proved to be Lydia Greenway’s downfall as she was run out by Nitschke for a reserved 18 with England slipping to 100 for four.
Wicketkeeper Sarah Taylor, usually an opener, came in at number five and gave England some impetus with 25 before she holed out to Osbourne at mid-on to give Sarah Coyte her first wicket.
England struggled to hit boundaries in the latter stages and Jenny Gunn, looking to clear the infield, was caught by Rachael Haynes at point with the final delivery of the innings from Coyte as England set Australia 137 to win.
Leah Poulton got Australia off to a solid start, hitting Anya Shrubsole, who was included in the side at the expense of Danielle Hazell, for consecutive boundaries in her first over.
Katherine Brunt proved wayward early on but the Yorkshire seamer claimed the opening wicket when Nitschke played on for 10 to leave the tourists 29 for one in the fifth over.
Left-arm spinner Holly Colvin struck with her first ball when she had the dangerous Poulton caught by Claire Taylor at short fine-leg for 18.
Australia soon slipped to 46 for three as Colvin’s direct hit ran out Blackwell for one before Marsh trapped Jess Cameron in front for 13.
Lisa Sthalekar tried to show some aggression but was superbly caught by substitute Heather Knight for 12 off Arran Brindle as Australia limped to 89 for five in the 13th over and things went from bad to worse as Wyatt had the dangerous Lanning caught behind by the excellent Sarah Taylor.
Australia started to panic as the required run-rate increased with Fields run out after a mix-up with Haynes. Wyatt claimed two wickets in the 18th over, firstly removing Coyte with a full toss that flew straight to Colvin at backward point before Sarah Taylor stumped Fields.
England secured victory when the impressive Wyatt ran out Clea Smith.
Nicola Browne starred with both bat and ball as New Zealand women beat India by 25 runs.
Batting first, the Kiwis were given impetus from Liz Perry's unbeaten 41-ball 48, Katey Martin, who made 29, and Browne, 22 not out, as they recovered from 28 for four to make 125 for five off 20 overs.
In reply, India were never up with the run rate and, after been reduced to 24 for four, ended the innings 100 for seven with Browne taking 2-17 off four overs.