England v Pakistan, Women's World T20 2016, Group A, Chennai March 27, 2016

Edwards 77* takes England Women to semis

England Women 148 for 5 (Edwards 77*, Beaumont 37, Dar 3-21) beat Pakistan Women 80 (Marsh 3-12) by 68 runs
Scorecard

Not for the first time in a Women's World T20, England will have to get past Australia for glory. Unlike the last two encounters, however, their showdown this time will not be in a final. On Wednesday in Delhi, they meet in the semis. "Luckily, we have a good record in this tournament outside of finals," joked Charlotte Edwards.

Leading from the front with 77 off 61 balls, Edwards ensured that England controlled proceedings against Pakistan in Chennai to seal their semi-final berth.

That control was evident from the very first ball, which Edwards guided through backward point for four. It's a shot wedded to England's captain and you would not be surprised if she took it with her when she eventually decides to retire. It was a fitting way for her to become the first player - man or woman - to pass 2,500 international T20 runs.

For the second time in succession, Edwards and Tammy Beaumont put on a half-century stand for the first wicket. Beaumont, in the process, set a new career best of 37.

England's approach in this World T20, encouraged by the coach Mark Robinson, has been to target the Powerplay. It culminated in 55 for 0 today - their highest ever score in the first six overs. It is also the sixth highest Powerplay total in the women's game.

"We've got good stats to show if you win the Powerplay in women's cricket you generally win the game," Edwards said. "Mark has told us to go out there and play to our own game, play to our strengths and I think we've done that. It's not been reckless at all, I think it's been really calculating cricket and that's been pleasing for me."

While Beaumont, the aggressor, went to a leading edge for the first of Nida Dar's three wickets, Edwards, the rock, stayed for the duration.

There were the typical elements to the knock: the off side play when the field was up, the late running of the ball to third man and sweeps when the fielders were spread. But there were also aspects that are normally alien to her play. Aspects that increase her value in the second half of an innings.

She was keen to push the field, something that was evident in the penultimate over when she ran three twos before clubbing a four down the ground and immediately signalling for a drink. Then, to the second ball of the 20th, she walked across her stumps and flicked seamer Asmavia Iqbal over her shoulder for four.

Edwards' presence at the other end helped stifle another middle order collapse, with Sarah Taylor going for an eight-ball duck during a top-order cluster of three wickets for 21 runs. Danni Wyatt stuck with her captain for a busy 17 to ensure a testing target.

It meant Pakistan needed to reach their target of 149 in 18.1 overs to qualify for the semi-finals at England's expense. They fell well short of both win and qualification. In hindsight, this match itself was a formality.

Laura Marsh took three wickets in an easy England win © Getty Images/ICC

While Georgia Elwiss came in for a poorly Heather Knight, England took the opportunity to bring in Laura Marsh for Becky Grundy. Marsh, who met up with the squad on Friday after being called up as a replacement for Danielle Hazell, was given the opportunity to get overs under her belt in her first T20I since February 2015. Four overs of unerring off-breaks from a medium pacer's action brought her career-best figures of three for 12.

Marsh had initially arrived in Delhi while the rest of the squad were still engaged in Dharamsala. With the England men's team training nearby, Robinson asked assistant coach Paul Farbrace if she could have a training session with him. Farbrace was happy to oblige. In the grand scheme of things, it's a small gesture but perhaps one that highlights the benefit of having a women's head coach with such strong contacts.

Only four Pakistan players made it into double figures, as England's pace-off-the-ball attack, led by Marsh, induced mistake after mistake to leave Pakistan in a heap of 80 all out.

It was always going to be a tough ask and, against a side who are tightening up in the field, the life was slowly squeezed out of this match. England saved their best, most complete group stage performance for their final match. In the business, they call that peaking at the right time.

As for Australia, "We're looking forward to it," Edwards said. "We know when you come to a World T20 you have to beat everyone and we're looking forward to Wednesday. We've got a good record away from World Cup finals so we'll be holding on to that, and we've got a lot of belief in the group. It's going to be one hell of a semi-final."

Vithushan Ehantharajah is a sportswriter for ESPNcricinfo, the Guardian, All Out Cricket and Yahoo Sport

Comments have now been closed for this article

  •   Sharrio Ijaz on March 30, 2016, 10:38 GMT

    Pakistani women's efforts were tremendous

  • landl47 on March 28, 2016, 17:04 GMT

    Good work, England. I hope you can take it all the way. Good tournament for Pakistan, but they were never in this match.

    It's disappointing to see the lack of comments from women fans (so far) in this thread. Although ESPNcricinfo is inevitably mostly read by men, the coverage of this women's tournament has been excellent and I would have hoped to see more female fan participation.

  • CricketPakistan on March 28, 2016, 3:39 GMT

    I am proud of the girls in green. Their performance in the tournament was superb. The day is not far when they will be amongst the best sides in the world

  • Puffin on March 28, 2016, 0:05 GMT

    It seems to me that getting the England openers out cheaply helps enomously with putting them under pressure. Pakistan failed to do this and thus let them pile up a big score. It was quite brutal really. Their next match shouldn't be anywhere this easy.

  •   Zishan Iqbal on March 27, 2016, 23:18 GMT

    Well done to the Pakistan Ladies for their efforts. A few runs difference against Windies and they wouldve made the semis. England are in a completely different level right now but with backing from PCB, the ladies have shown they could be a force in womens's T20. Shame the match summary devoted just 4 sentences to their efforts and almost belittled them.

  • Richard Bond on March 27, 2016, 22:07 GMT

    How about also noting the winners here? Well played England ladies! Fought out some narrow wins but did so under pressure. Great performance to get to the semis!

  • Pakistastic on March 27, 2016, 21:50 GMT

    Congratulations to the English girls for a superb win. Weldon to the GIRLS in GREEN for an overall fantastic performance in the tournament, you have not win any trophy though but surely you have win the hearts of millions and millions of Pakistani fans across the world - making them proud. The way these girls have stormed the world cricket reflects they have started to believe in themselves - being the most important things for a winning performance and achievements. Wish you good luck in many more future matches. The Girls in Green have arrived and i salute you.

  •   Raph Walker on March 27, 2016, 21:42 GMT

    Well done England women ,you're doing your country proud ,now just go on to win it !!!!

  • DrMeister on March 27, 2016, 19:42 GMT

    Well done to the Pakistan ladies. You tried and that is most important

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