Cricket: England's final warm-up match prior to the ICC Women’s World Cup ended in a narrow defeat at the hands of New Zealand today.
In a rematch of the 2009 final the holders lost by 13 runs to the White Ferns in Mumbai just 24 hours after beating South Africa.
Danielle Hazell was the outstanding performer, claiming five wickets as New Zealand were limited to 223 all out.
But despite resistance from Lydia Greenway (51) and the unbeaten Jenny Gunn (35), Charlotte Edwards’s side could only manage 210 in response.
Tournament favourites England begin their title defence against Group A rivals Sri Lanka in Mumbai on Friday and captain Edwards is confident that her team can push for a fourth world crown.
She said: “Experience of big games, of World Cups, is something we’ve definitely got in our group. We’ve got a lot of strength in depth, which is very important.”
After Sri Lanka, England go on to face hosts India and the West Indies in a bid to reach the Super Six stage and subsequent final on February 17.
And though Edwards boasts a glittering CV of achievements including a record number of international appearances, she believes that victory in India, where the tournament begins tomorrow, would top everything else.
She added: “For me, the ICC Women’s World Cup is the pinnacle of our careers.
“The biggest challenge for any cricketer is to play in India and succeed, so it will be the greatest achievement if we could do so.”