February 6, 2003

England beat India by one run in thrilling match

England women have beaten India women with the last ball of the game at Lincoln Ground, Christchurch today in the final group match of the Women's Cricket World Series, winning the game by one run.

Matches between the two teams have, historically, been close affairs but it could not have been tighter with England posting their highest total of the competition reaching 208-4. Charlotte Edwards, England's prolific batsman, returned to form scoring 79 not out from 94 balls, including 10 fours.

England's batting performance was a massive improvement on the preceding matches. All four top order batsman comfortably reached double figures and Edwards, with Arran Thompson, put on 98 for the fourth wicket, breaking the England ODI record against India, which had stood since 1986.

The new look opening pair of Collyer and Leng proved successful for the second match in succession reaching 64 and scoring at four an over before Collyer was stumped for 33.

India's stylish young batter, Muthali Raj, who had proved England's nemesis when the teams last summer led the India reply with a magnificent 98.

At the start of the forty-third over India were 182-4 needing just 27 more runs, with Raj settled at the crease on 87 and Kala in support on 37. A direct hit run out from Laura Newton, who with Thompson had been formidable in the field, began India's slide. Connor then bowled David for 5 but India still looked favourites needing 11 runs from 18 balls.

The next wicket was crucial as Raj was run out at the bowlers end whilst her partner, Al-Khadir, chased a risky single trying to give Raj back the strike. England sensed an opportunity and proceeded to take four wickets for nine runs in the final two overs.

Sharma was bowled by Connor for 0 and Kanojia was run out in a bizarre incident when 'keeper Claire Taylor didn't take a run out chance at her end but threw back to the bowler who did remove the bails.

Needing two from four, Sarah Collyer was the one cool head in the ground and she produced an exemplary over with three dot balls before clean bowling Goswami with the final ball of the match to the delight of her England team mates.

England Captain, Clare Connor admitted 'we always believed we could do it today and we've talked about the need to start posting scores of 200 or more. Everyone showed a lot of character in the closing stages and we kept together well. We need to beat India tomorrow and prove we are the third best team in the world. Our performances against New Zealand and Australia have been better in this Series than at any time in the past eight years so we are definitely moving in the right direction. I really couldn't have asked anything more from the team today'.

It was England's first double century total against India since 1999 at Trent Bridge, and Edwards admitted 'I just loved it out there today. I enjoyed coming in at three, and Arran and I batted well together'. The partnership certainly worked well. Once Edwards had spread the field, the pair ran hard for two's and three's whilst always capable of dispatching loose deliveries to the boundary. Thompson showed the confident form which dominated India bowling attacks last winter with the assurance of Edwards dominating at the other end.

Edwards admitted 'we had to play with some pride today because we've under-performed out here. Now we have to beat them again tomorrow and secure 3rd place'.

The teams will face each other again tomorrow (Friday 7th February) in the 3rd place play-off, with Australia and New Zealand meeting in the Final on Saturday 8th February.