England captain says she won’t be disappointed to see a similar pitch in the final of the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 2012
There was sharp turn for the spinners and bounce for those willing to bend their backs, and at the end of the 40 overs, England could look forward to another appearance in an ICC World Twenty20 final. New Zealand started slowly before recovering to an extent, but England was seldom troubled as it eased to a seven-wicket win.
Charlotte Edwards, who made her debut as a 16 year old in 1996, has won a World Twenty20 before, and her captain’s knock of 33 ensured that there would be no slip-ups chasing 94 for victory. “We weren’t expecting the pitch to do quite as much as it did,” said Edwards after the game. “We’re very happy with our performance, especially the bowling and fielding.
“It probably wasn’t the greatest pitch for women’s cricket. The slower you bowled, the harder it was to hit.”
That slowness played right into England’s hands. Edwards started with Danielle Hazell at one end, and Danni Wyatt was also into the attack with the fielding restrictions still in place. “It’s a wicket we feel comfortable on,” said Edwards. “We’re good players of spin, we pride ourselves on that. Having four spinners in the side, including some that are all-rounders, is a real benefit for us. We won’t be disappointed if we see something like that for the final.”
New Zealand wasn’t anything like as comfortable on a spin-friendly pitch. Losing Suzie Bates, run out off the fifth ball of the match, didn’t help, but the entire innings saw just six fours scored. “It was unfortunate the way I went out at the start and there was dot-ball pressure,” said Bates.
“We just took too long to get going. I thought we batted really well in the middle but it was such a slow start that it was always hard to catch up.
“We’ve had a pretty good run leading up to his tournament. I just think we need to play in these conditions more often. We know we have a [50-over] World Cup in India after this, and we’ve got to learn how to sweep square. We’ve got to play in these conditions and practise hitting square.”
England never got similarly bogged down with the bat, and Bates acknowledged as much. “The way Lydia Greenway and Lottie [Edwards] batted was the way you needed to in those conditions,” said Bates. “We didn’t play their spinners as well as they played ours. If we had got 110, we would have been in there right to the end. We were about 20 or 30 runs short.”
Edwards agreed, saying: “Manoeuvring the ball around, into the gaps, was probably the difference between the two teams.”
England now awaits the winner of the Australia-West Indies semi-final. “West Indies have got the X factor about them,” said Edwards. “With [Deandra] Dottin and [Stafanie] Taylor, they’ll probably clear these boundaries. And they’ve got four or five good spinners. The Aussies would probably have preferred to play on a quicker pitch. It’s going to be a pretty good game and we’ll be watching it.”
There was no preference, however, when she was asked which side she’d rather face. “We’re not bothered at all,” she said. “We can’t control the other games. We know we’ve got to beat the best to win this trophy.
“What we’ve come here to do is be in another World Cup final. There are a few girls here who have not experienced that. There’s extra anticipation because of that. Hopefully, we can replicate what we did in 2009.”