Mumbai, Feb 15 (IBNS) A century by England captain Charlotte Edwards helped the side to a four-wicket win over New Zealand Women Friday at the ICC Women's World Cup India 2013.
The victory for England will be bittersweet as the previously ranked world number one team has now dropped to third in the latest Reliance ICC Women's ODI Team Rankings.
Meanwhile, in Cuttack, Sri Lanka's Shashikala Siriwardena led her side back to glory, after its earlier loss to South Africa, to cement an 88-run victory over the Proteas and thus ensuring itself its highest ranking to date in the Reliance ICC Women's ODI Team Rankings, fifth.
The revised player and team rankings will be released in full on 18 February after the final of the ICC Women's World Cup India 2013 to be held at the Brabourne Stadium on Sunday (17 February).
Charlotte Edwards led from the front to ensure the England, the world champions going into this tournament, finished the event on a high with a victory over New Zealand in front of a lively crowd at the Cricket Club of India.
Having won the toss, Edwards elected to field first, New Zealand posted the respectable total of 220 in its 50 overs. Vice-captain Amy Satterthwaite once again was the cornerstone of the White Ferns' innings with the 26-year-old from Christchurch scoring 85. Holly Colvin proved to be the pick of the England bowling attack with 3-31, including two maidens while Arran Brindle claimed 2-38.
In reply, Edwards' run-making was assisted by Sarah Taylor, Lydia Greenway and Brindle but it was clear the captain had her sights set on ensuring England salvaged a third-place finish in the tournament.
Edwards' struck her second century of the ICC Women's World Cup 2013 in 116 balls with 14 boundaries. This century sees her join Australia's Karen Rolton and New Zealand's Debbie Hockley as the only three women to have scored two centuries in a single World Cup, while she has equalled Hockley's record of four centuries in Women's World Cups.
Edwards' controlled the England run-chase when wickets were falling quickly around her, Brindle, Heather Knight and Jenny Gunn all departing in quick succession, the former two departing to Lucy Doolan, who was the pick of the New Zealand bowling attack today with figures of 3-50.
It was ultimately up to the Kent batter, alongside Laura Marsh, to secure England a third place finish in the World Cup and third overall in the ICC's global rankings, something perhaps not expected at the start of the tournament when the side entered event as the number one side in the world.
Speaking on her own performance today, she said: "I came into this tournament after having worked incredibly hard over the winter - not just on my skills, but I had also worked on my fitness. It's really nice to reap rewards of that. Two hundreds in this tournament, I am really proud of that, for me it's been about me contributing to the team and today was about getting to third place and ending the tournament on a high.
"Many players in the side have stood out for me this tournament, Anya Shrubsole has been a real standout for us. She has led our attack brilliantly and she has a really good future ahead of her. She will take huge amount of confidence by performing on this stage. Holly Colvin was exceptional throughout the tournament and someone we obviously turn to in the middle overs of the game.
"Danni Wyatt has had a go at opening the batting. Sometimes it has been very testing for her, it's not easy upfront. She is a cricketer for the future for sure. Heather Knight has played well through the middle too, we have got some great youngsters. Sometimes I forget how young they are, I think they are 26-27, but some of the girls I am talking about are 21-22 and they are learning the tricks of the trade and performing at the world events is going to help them for the future."
Speaking about how she felt on the tournament as a whole, she added: "I have really enjoyed it, it's been a great tournament. To see some of the cricket that has been played by some of the teams on TV has been fantastic. I just look back the tournament as losing one game off the last ball and losing one by 2-3 runs. That's going to probably hurt for a while.
"But I am really proud of the England team, how they have stuck to their tasks. It's been some real highs and lows throughout the tournament. I am proud of England. We will go back, work hard, that is all we can do. We have got a big Ashes series in the summer and really looking forward to playing Australia."
Bates was obviously saddened by the loss: "I think the last three games, we probably played our worst cricket which is what we will probably remember from the tournament. The game against West Indies where we lost hurt us badly and we didn't play well enough.
"We bowled well in that game and although we lost early wickets, we still should have chased the runs down. In our first game against England, we played really good cricket. We were in a position to win, but we fell away after a good start, which we also did today.
"Today again I thought we were 30 runs short. We were a little bit inconsistent against the top teams if you are not executing, then they really hurt you. It probably explains our losses in the three games. Against West Indies and England, we are not consistent enough and we have been punished."
Bates echoed Edwards' feelings that the tournament had been a great advert for improvement and development of the women's game: "We don't want to be losing to the lower ranked teams, but it creates such an exciting tournament where every game counts. Four years ago, there were just the four teams were competing for a place in the final (England, Australia, India and New Zealand) whereas now, all teams have got genuine chance.
"The fact more games that have been on TV I think has really helped, it's showed how many more boundaries are being scored, the big hitters, the wicket-takers - it all shows how much the game has progressed in four years.
"Now you have got the likes of Lea Tahuhu, Katherine Brunt, Ellyse Perry and Holly Ferling who can get it through at a good clip. Then you have got Meg Lanning, Sarah Taylor, Deandra Dottin who can hit it further than most boys, or some boys, that they play. It is just awesome that we have now got players like that, that promotes and makes the game exciting."
Sri Lanka captain Shashikala Siriwardena returned to action to lead her side to a convincing 88-run win over South Africa to seal the fifth place in the ICC Women's World Cup India 2013.
In the play-off match at Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on Friday, Sri Lanka posted 244 for seven in its 50 overs. In reply, South Africa was bowled out for 156 in 40.1 overs.
Earlier, Sri Lanka's total of 244 for seven was built around Chamari Atapattu's knock (52: 107b, 5x4). The other contributors to the total were Deepika Rasangika (43), Eshani Lokasuriya (43), apart from skipper Siriwardena (44).
For South Africa, Chloe Tryon (2-46) and Marcia Letsoalo (2-36) were the key wicekt-takers.
In its reply South Africa slipped to 49 for four by the 16th over and barring a 52-run fifth wicket stand between Shandre Fritz (54: 74b, 7x4) and Dan van Niekerk, there was no worthwhile contribution to the batting.
For Sri Lanka, skipper Siriwardena (4-32) was the chief wicket-taker while former captain Chamni Seneviratna (2-35) and Sripali Weerakkody (2-15) were the other key wicket-takers for Sri Lanka.
A delighted Siriwardena hailed her team for coming back strongly after losing in the final Super Sixes match against the same side on Wednesday.
"Myself, Deepika, Atapattu and Kaushalya did well to come back in this game after the loss against South Africa. We showed that we could perform when it mattered,"´ said Siriwardena.
Despite being down with fever Siriwardena battled hard in her knock on Friday as she was keen to prove a point. "It was a chance for us to prove we could be fifth in the World rankings, so I was very keen to play despite being sick and the players backed me.
"There are a few seniors who have been playing since 1997 and 2002. They were all waiting for a moment like this. It is a proud moment for us to have finished fifth, we are all really happy."
Loss of early wickets did not force Siriwardena to panic. "I was nervous when we lost two early wickets. We included a specialist opener today to strengthen our batting but it didn't work. Thankfully for us Deepika and Atapattu did well, and when I went to the crease, I just wanted to rotate the strike. I struggled initially but once I got myself in, I could play shots."
Siriwardena credited her side for finishing the tournament on a high. "I think our bowling and fielding is well equipped, we may not have pace, but I'm sure they have been competent enough. Our main problem has been our batting, they haven't given us a platform most times, so it would be unfair to blame the bowlers.
"Today our plan was to keep wickets in the end and not lose wickets in the power-play, even if we got just 25-30 runs. Also, we had to look at the situation and keep wickets in hand till the 40th over. Plan was for Attapattu to stay till the end because she is a lot fitter," added Siriwardena.
The Sri Lanka captain said the performance of the side will inspire a new generation of cricketers in her country.
"After seeing the performance of the side, especially that of Kaushalya, Deepika, Atapattu and myself, we´ve heard a lot of people are encouraging their daughters to start playing cricket. I think we're really happy to have done our bit on that front, it is very good for the development of the team," said Siriwardena.
South Africa captain du Preez was obviously disappointed with the result. "It is very frustrating, we know we've done a lot of hard work. Nothing seems to be coming together when it needs to. Sometimes when the pressure is off we've brought our best game forward, and at crucial times we've struggled. We're richer from the experience and hopefully we will be a stronger side four years later."
Du Preez felt the absence of Marizanne Kapp hurt the side's chances: "Marizanne Kapp's absence was a big loss, but she was sick and so couldn't play. At the end of the day the others had to step up. We have girls capable of stepping up but it didn´t happen today.
"It is obviously something we've to sit together and introspect. Our batting has been one of the biggest problems for us. All our batters need to learn to prepare differently and adapt to different conditions, which is important, we've been scoring 220-230. I think 240 was a good total, we had the batters to do the job. We can't always blame the bowlers, they´ve done well."
The South Africa captain felt her own personal form and that of the openers was a huge cause of concern for the side.
"I think from a personal point of view, I've had a disappointing World Cup. I've struggled a bit early on against the new ball and I'll have to work on it back home. But we'll have a bit of a rest and then get back to training and build on the momentum gained from this tournament.
"I think opening is an area we need to work on. It is hard to change things midway through the tournament, it didn't go according to plan but we can hopefully find a good combination upfront."
Overall, du Preez felt that the side could gain from the experience of the tournament: "There is a lot of experience we can take from here. Ideally we would have liked to be fifth but we can learn a lot from this and come back a lot stronger. Now we know what to expect from the top teams and work on those areas," she concluded.
Scores in Brief
Third/Fourth Play-Off at CCI
New Zealand 220-8, 50 overs (Satterthwaite 85; Colvin 3-31)
England 222-6, 47overs (Edwards 106 not out; Doolan 3-50)
England won by four wickets
Fifth/Sixth Play-Off at Barabati Stadium
Sri Lanka 244-7, 50 overs (Atapattu 52, Rasangika 43, Siriwardena 44, Kaushalya 43; Letsoalo 2-36)
South Africa 156 all out, 40.1 overs (Fritz 54; Siriwardena 4-31)
Sri Lanka won by 88 runs