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Edwards leads England to series win

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By Martin Davies

There was no fairytale batting contribution from Charlotte Edwards in her 200th game as captain of England women, but she oversaw victory over New Zealand by five wickets to seal a 2-1 Twenty20 series victory.

The tourists chased down the White Ferns’ score of 97 for nine with eight balls to spare. It was Edwards’ 60th T20 international triumph as skipper in the 82 games she has played.

And it was the victory was what mattered to the England captain, who always puts the team above her own personal performance.

“I know there was a lot of hype around my 200th game, but very much within our dressing room it was about us winning this series,” Edwards said.

When asked about her own low score of five today, she said: “I dragged one on, but it was not about me today. It was about the team and winning another series. It’s a huge honour to get this milestone, but the win was the most important thing.”

Charlotte Edwards bats in her 200th game as England captain and oversaw a 2-1 Twenty20 series win over New Zealand (Don Miles)

England bowled well. Once again, Heather Knight’s miserly off-spin set the tone for the Kiwis’ under-par innings at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval in Lincoln.

She bowled her four overs straight off at the start of the White Ferns’ innings and returned figures of 2-14. She picked up the key wicket of Suzie Bates in her second over as she lofted a drive to Lydia Greenway on the boundary at wide midwicket. In her next, Knight had Sara McGlashan caught by Amy Jones at mid-off when driving loosely, leaving New Zealand 24 for two.

Fellow off-spinner Danielle Hazell became England’s leading T20 wicket-taker, with 64 scalps, when she had Rachel Priest well caught by Greenway on the deep midwicket boundary in the eighth over of the innings, to leave the Kiwis on 30 for three.

With Bates and Priest gone, it was left to Sophie Devine to try and lead a response from New Zealand. She batted well for 37 off 31 balls, but lost partners at regular intervals at the other end.

Sophie Devine strokes on to the leg side during her 31-ball 37 for New Zealand, who were rattled early on (Don Miles)

Kate Broadmore clipped Laura Marsh to Knight at midwicket and Katie Perkins dabbed Katherine Brunt to Edwards, as the Kiwis found it hard to make any headway against the tight England bowling and fielding.

Hazell, who finished with 2-15, then claimed her 65th T20 victim, as Anna Peterson was adjudged lbw, and England’s third off-spinner, Marsh, took her figures to 2-24 as she had Erin Bermingham neatly taken by Danielle Wyatt at extra-cover.

With two overs to go, New Zealand were 94 for seven but Devine was still ploughing a lone furrow and was New Zealand’s only real hope of making it to 100. The combination of Jenny Gunn and Jones made sure it did not happen, with Jones snaffling a great low catch at mid-off to send Devine on her way for 37. In the same over, Leah Tahuhu drove a catch to Knight off Gunn with the White Ferns still on 96, and they could add only one in the last over as Brunt finished the England bowling effort in style.

With Lauren Winfield out injured, it was Knight who walked out to the crease with her captain to open for England. She looked in a positive mood after her rapid 30 in the last T20, although she was perilously close to being run out in the first over as she came back for a second run.

She lost her skipper in the fourth over when Edwards chopped on a short ball from Tahuhu. Knight and Taylor took the score on to 44 without too many alarms until Knight clipped a leg-side half-volley down to Peterson at fine-leg to go for 26 off 27 balls.

When Taylor lofted a drive off Tahuhu to Bates at mid-off, England were 55 for three, and just showing some nervous signs.

However, Greenway and Natalie Sciver played sensible cricket and ran well together, and took England close to victory before they were both out. Sciver was unluckily run out for 16 at the bowler’s end as Bermingham deflected a hard-hit Greenway drive onto the stumps, and Greenway herself was bowled going back to a full ball from Georgia Guy for a well-made 25.

England still needed five to win and they kept their supporters on the edge of their seats after a quick-run single, having played out six dot balls.

However, Brunt heaved the fourth ball of the penultimate over to the midwicket boundary for the only six of the England innings, which wrapped up the series for the visitors.

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