KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
Founded in 1787, Marylebone Cricket Club is the most active and famous cricket club in the world and owner of Lord's Cricket Ground - the Home of Cricket.
© Copyright 2015
A fine performance from a star-studded Rest of the World Women team helped them to a 41-run victory in their historic fixture against MCC at Lord's, despite a valiant 70 from Charlotte Edwards.
Set an imposing 284 to win the Lord's Bicentenary Celebration match at the Home of Cricket, MCC - made up entirely of English players - briefly threatened to cause an upset, as openers Edwards and Heather Knight built a fantastic platform, reaching 98/0 after 20 overs.
Knight's dismissal, stumped off a sharply turning ball from Sri Lanka off-spinner Shashikala Siriwardene set the RoW juggernaut in motion though, and the MCC middle order came and went in quick succession.
Edwards, who became only the second female Wisden Cricketer of the Year in April, fought on - reaching her half century. But despite some savage pulls to the fence to keep the run rate required below seven per over, her resistance was ended by Ellyse Perry, when she edged one through to 'keeper Rachel Priest.
Nat Sciver kept MCC in the match with some lusty blows in a knock of 45, but Perry took a stunning diving catch at deep mid-wicket off Sirawardene as the home team's batters struggled against the Sri Lanka spinner and teammate Sana Mir.
Pakistan's Mir, also and off-spinner, was the pick of the RoW bowlers, displaying control and variation in taking 4/36 from 9.4 overs, wrapping up the MCC knock in the final over of the match when Holly Colvin was bowled playing across the line.
MCC Women v RoW Women photos
As befitting arguably the finest women's cricket team ever assembled, there was some magnficent batting from RoW after they won the toss on a scorching morning.
Instructed by team manager Lisa Keightley to express themselves on a grand but relaxed occasion, Susie Bates and Meg Lanning recovered from the loss of the West Indies's Stafanie Taylor for a golden duck to Kate Cross in the first over.
Captain Bates was forceful early in the knock, making 31 of the 41 on the board by the time she became Cross's second victim.
Her dismissal triggered a fine partnership of contrasting brilliance from Lanning and Mithali Raj, which lit up the Home of Cricket.
After a sluggish start, Lanning reacted to the dismissal of her captain with a flurry of boundaries, hitting cleanly back over the bowler and through the point region - particularly off Georgia Elwiss.
Meanwhile, at the other end, Raj was in typically stylish mood, looking excellent through the off side, and scoring at a fine rate despite taking few risks.
The pair put on 90 for the third wicket at a quick rate, entertaining the crowd with a broad range of shots, with Lanning's aggression contrasting wonderfully on the eye to the languid Raj.
Both players fell in quick succession - Manning to a fine catch from Knight on the deep-extra cover boundary and MCC sensed an opportunity to restrict RoW to a reasonable score.
But RoW's number five Perry showed why she's considered arguably the finest all-rounder in the world with a patient knock of 49 from 66 balls to keep the momentum going.
Cross returned to take two more wickets in the final over of the innings - just rewards for a performance in which she extracted sharp bounce from the pitch - but 283 always looked too tough a target for MCC, despite a determined knock from their skipper Edwards.