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Posted in ICC World Twenty20
No disrespect to the group games at Taunton, but this was something special. A semi-final, at The Oval, against Australia, and chasing down 164 successfully to seal a place in the final at Lord's. And with three balls to spare!
Charlotte Edwards made it clear after their victory over Pakistan on Tuesday that it wasn't good enough. Winning three out of three to progress to the last four wasn't enough. England could, and would, play better.
They're not World Champions for nothing. Put your feet on the big stage, time to deliver a virtuouso performance. And some gripping entertainment for those that got in early ahead of the men's semi-final.
It deserved a full house. Women's cricket is no side show. It's an integral part of ICC World Twenty20, and as this match firmly illustrated to those that caught it in person or live on TV and might have been a bit uncertain, it's certainly worth its place on the bill.
As are Claire Taylor, Beth Morgan and Charlotte Edwards. Taylor said post-match that 160-ish was probably the kind of total they would have looked to have set had they chosen to bat first. So chasing it down was no mean feat.
It could have been worse. England's performances in the field in their group matches had been notable for their sharpness. Maybe it was a touch of nerves, maybe it was just one of those days, but there were a few rough edges on display as Nitschke, Poulton, Sthalekar and skipper Rolton all put decent scores on the board.
A couple of dropped catches, a couple of near-brilliant near-misses - if Jenny Gunn's far-flung left-hand could have clung on to that one in front of the OCS Stand boundary it would have been astonishing - and a few too many gift balls. And the Aussies took every opportunity thrown their way, as you'd expect.
They've had the upper hand against their northern hemisphere rivals so far this year. And in a warm-up match at Taunton Vale CC what seems a distant fortnight ago, they gave England a pretty good wake-up call with a comfortable victory. No alarms this time.
With Edwards and Sarah Taylor back on the bench and England 43 for two, it was time for the middle order to finally deliver. Only it didn't get much of a chance. Beth Morgan did though; 46 off 34 balls in an unbroken stand of 122 with Claire Taylor was vintage stuff.
What can you say about Taylor that hasn't been said already? She oozes class with the bat, and off the field (and she's a mean hand at scrabble too). Morgan, England's number four, really deserved four more runs and a half-century landmark too. Got a feeling she'll happily miss out on that for a showdown with in-form New Zealand at Lord's on Sunday.
If you've got a ticket and weren't considering rolling into NW8 much before the men's final gets going at 3pm, think again. It's a 10.30am start, and this repeat of the World Cup final in the spring is no mere warm-up act.
And as if to rubber stamp the point, I've just been handed a note of congratulation from the Prime Minister - that's for the England team, not me, you understand.
Whatever you make of that, Gordon Brown says: "The whole country can be proud of what you have achieved. It promises to be an extremely exciting match [on Sunday] and a win on home ground would make this even more special." Can't argue with that!