England Women narrowly lost their ICC Women’s World Cup opener against Australia Women in Hamilton despite a brave chase.
Set a record 311 to win, Tammy Beaumont (74) and Nat Sciver (109*) took England to 298-8 but with 16 needed from the final over it wasn’t quite enough, with Heather Knight’s team falling 12 runs short.
Sciver had company on her way to her fourth ODI ton – her third in ICC Women’s World Cups, brought up from just 79 balls – with Heather Knight, Sophia Dunkley and Katherine Brunt adding to the foundations set by Beaumont.
In reaching 74, Beaumont passed 3,000 ODI runs – the fifth English woman to that landmark, the fourth quickest overall and England’s quickest ever.
Australia had earlier been inspired by fine innings from Rachael Haynes (130) and Meg Lanning (86), who put on 196 for the second wicket.
England travel to Dunedin for their second World Cup fixture against West Indies, on Tuesday, March 8.
England Women’s World Cup Fixtures
Saturday, March 5: Australia Women 310-3 beat England Women 298-8 by 12 runs
Tuesday, March 8: England Women v West Indies Women, Dunedin (11 am local, 10 pm UK time March 7)
Monday, March 14: England Women v South Africa Women, Mount Maunganui (11 am local, 10 pm UK time March 13)
Wednesday, March 16: England Women v India Women, Mount Maunganui (2 pm local, 1 am UK time)
Saturday, March 19: England Women v New Zealand Women, Auckland (11 am local, 10 pm UK time March 18)
Thursday, March 24: England Women v Pakistan Women, Christchurch (2 pm local, 1 am UK time)
Saturday, March 26: England Women v Bangladesh Women, Wellington (11 am local, 10 pm UK time March 25)