Edwards wards off defeat
England women continued their unbeaten tour of New Zealand with a five-wicket win at Lincoln's Bert Sutcliffe Oval in the first one-day international.
Charlotte Edwards top-scored with 84 as the tourists overhauled the White Ferns’ 233 for six with 10 balls remaining of the opening game of the three-match series.
With the persistent rain earlier in the day, both sides were unsure if the contest would commence and, if it did, how many overs would be possible.
But the skies cleared and the over-worked groundstaff pulled off a minor miracle to get the ground ready, prompting the umpires to surprise everyone and announce the full 50 overs-a-side would be played.
Hoping to make best use of the bowler-friendly conditions, Edwards elected to field first.
It looked like a sound decision and the tourists were soon celebrating at the end of the fourth over, Georgia Elwiss dismissing Lucy Doolan with Arran Brindle taking the catch.
England continued to chip away at the top order to leave the hosts 52 for three in the 13th over. Laura Marsh caught and bowled Katey Martin, who looked threatening on 29, and an over later Brindle took the prized wicket of home captain Suzie Bates, bowled for 15.
England’s hopes of running through the New Zealand order, however, were dashed with two 71-run partnerships which both involved Sara McGlashan.
The left-hander joined forces first with Amy Satterthwaite, who was caught at midwicket for 38 off Elwiss, and then Anna Peterson as the hosts built a competitive total.
England kept them in check, however, with Jenny Gunn having Peterson caught behind for 33 and bowling McGlashan for 74, before New Zealand closed on 233 for six with Katie Perkins unbeaten on 24 from 16 balls.
England’s successful reply was built around Edwards’ 37th ODI half-century, in addition to five hundreds.
Hitting nine boundaries, the England captain shared stands of 52 and 71 with Sarah Taylor and Lydia Greenway respectively before she was pinned in front by Bates’ medium pace.
The tourists still needed 78 from 14.1 overs, but 36 from the reliable Greenway - who was caught at midwicket off Morna Nielsen - and a dashing innings from Marsh accounted for the majority of those required.
Marsh hit an enterprising 44 at better than a run a ball, further establishing her credentials as an all-rounder, to take England within just four runs of victory.
It was left to Brindle, who finished unbeaten on 21, and Gunn to complete the job.
The second ODI is on Saturday at the same venue.