Kent duo Charlotte Edwards and Lydia Greenway were in prime form for their country as the England Women’s side recently retained their world number one status after overcoming old foes Australia, India and New Zealand in the recent NatWest ODI Quadrangular Series.
The final was played last Thursday at Wormsley and major contributions from the county duo helped secure the title for England as they saw off the Aussies in the final by 34 runs. Opening the batting, skipper Edwards led by example, with 31 from 51 balls, before team-mate Greenway (58) took control. The stylish left-hander struck six boundaries and one six, during her 85-ball stay, and added a crucial 82 for the fifth wicket alongside Sarah Taylor (43). Sarah Coyte returned an impressive 4-39 for the Australians but England were still able to post a competitive 230 for eight from their allotted fifty overs.
In reply, seamer Katherine Brunt immediately had the visitors under pressure as she reduced them to 1-2 – dismissing the dangerous Leah Poulton and Meg Lanning in her opening over. Despite England seemingly being in control, Australia battled hard, and 75 from Jessica Cameron, alongside Alex Blackwell (34), kept them in contention at 158-5. However, the return of Brunt extinguished any hopes of a fascinating climax as she took out Cameron on her way to superb figures of 5-18. The game was up with 16 balls remaining when Arran Brindle had Clea Smith caught behind for no score. England, under the sterling leadership of Kent favourite Edwards, retained their position at the top of women’s cricket, and the skipper herself was delighted and, naturally, very proud of the achievement:
"I’m so pleased that we did it because the team put in great performances throughout the series. We worked hard and saw contributions throughout the team on our way to the final. Then, once again, we raised our performance in an important final. It’s been a great summer series and it was fantastic to play again the top teams in the world. I’m delighted with what we have achieved and to retain our number one status means everything to me."
Throughout the series, the Kent pair were hugely influential in leading their country towards success. Greenway finished top of the batting pile for the whole tournament. She smashed 177 runs, from her four innings, at an average of 59. Her half-century in the final was her second of the series; the first was a quick fire 51 off 69 balls to lead England to victory against India at Derby early on in the tournament. The eloquent left-hander also finished the series with a healthy strike-rate of 70.51 and hit 14 boundaries and a maximum during her run-fest.
Edwards, typically, led from the front and her 85 competition runs came at an average of 21.55, including one half century when, again, it was the Indians who felt the full Kentish force at Derby as her 51 from 81 balls ensured her side got off to a winning start. The 31 year-old found the boundary ten times throughout her stay at the crease. England’s success in the tournament comes hot on the heels of their victory in the NatWest Women’s T20 Quadrangular Series at the end of June. The same sides took part in that one and again the final was battled out between the two old enemies, England and Australia, with the Three Lions taking glory against their fierce rivals.
Setting the trend for the summer, Greenway and Edwards were at the heart of all things good for England. In the final, played at the Rose Bowl, England batted first and posted a modest 132-9 – largely thanks to the Kent duo. Edwards got the innings off to an explosive start, making 21 at better than a run a ball, before Greenway took over the mantle – smashing 48 off 36 – to get England up to somewhere defendable. Despite 43 from Lisa Sthalekar and Blackwell (33), England, led superbly by Edwards, were a little bit too street-wise for their opponents as Australia could only muster 116-8 in reply. Vibrant fielding meant the hosts were able to execute three run-outs, including the dismissals of Sthalekar and Blackwell, as England maintained a firm hold over Australia.