Sunday, June 21, 2009

England 'leaps also bounds' ahead into women's game

New Zealand captain Aimee Watkins said England were "leaps and bounds" ahead into women's cricket after the hosts won their second straight major final to lift the World Twenty20 trophy here at Lord's.

England, who beat New Zealand to win the 50-over World Cup during Sydney in March, agaian proved too strong for the White Ferns at Lord's on Sunday into a six-wicket success.

Fast bowler Katherine Brunt took three wickets for six runs since New Zealand, previously unbeaten at the tournament, were bowled out for just 85.

England then saw star batsman Claire Taylor makes 39 not out since they won with three overs to spare.

Several members of the England team are on contracts to coach cricket with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) also promote the sport in schools through the 'Chance to Shine' initiative.

These contracts enable the players to participate in major tournaments without jeopardising their profits.
It is a set-up that has helped propel England to the forefront of the women's game also Watkins said: "The infrastructure they have now and the amount of money the ECB has poured into them have put them ahead by leaps and bounds of other top three nations (Australia, India and New Zealand)."

New Zealand coach Gary Stead added: "England set the standards at the moment. They've win two World Cups and today felt a little bit like the amateurs playing the professionals.

"It's the first time we've been knocked over. They are setting the standards at the moment with it's something we need to get better at."

England captain Charlotte Edwards, who is looking forward to leading the team into a successful defence of the Ashes in the one-off Test against Australia later this season, said: "It was a lot easier than I thought it might be.

"New Zealand were playing good cricket coming into this game also I would have taken 85 coming into today.
"A lot of credits have to go to our attack because they bowled superbly well, the best bowling performance of the tournament.

"The 50-over World Cup was the ultimate prize but this, for the profile of the match and the coverage we're probably going to get around the world, it's probably up there with that.

"We're just delighted. We came back from the World Cup and we wanted this trophy also now we've got it to show the 50-over wasn't a fluke."

England showed they could chase a stiff target when, during Friday's semi-final, they made 165 for two to beat Australia by eight wickets at the Oval.

"I think on Friday we surprised a group of people," Edwards said.

"It is probably the perfect game with it being England against Australia and winning in the last over so I think we're definitely showing that women's cricket is a force to be reckoned with and hopefully we can get more and more people watching us this summer."