Student Holly Colvin came away with top marks as England easily accounted for title rival India by 10 wickets on the opening day of the ICC Women's World Twenty20 2009 tournament in Taunton on Thursday.
The 19-year-old Colvin, bowling slow left arm, took 3-20 as the World Cup holders restricted India to 112-8 before captain Charlotte Edwards (61 off 53 balls) and fellow-opener Sarah Taylor (50 off 41) cruised home with 26 balls to spare in Group B. Edwards's innings capped a player-of-the-match performance which included two catches and the wicket of Mithali Raj.
"This is our biggest game and hopefully this will clinch our semi-final spot," said Edwards.
"Everyone wanted to see how we'd react to the tag of favourites. Whenever there's a bit of pressure on this team the players come out fighting. I was really, really pleased with Holly -- she bowled so well.
"To come out and play as we have done today in front of such an enthusiastic crowd has been fantastic."
England's other two group games are against outsiders Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Earlier, West Indies beat South Africa by three runs in a Group A thriller, Stafanie Taylor celebrating her 18th birthday with a half-century.
Colvin, who is going to Durham University after getting A grades in all her exams, took three of the Indian top six to set the tone. Fast bowler Nicky Shaw chipped in with 2-28. India, third in the World Cup, opted to bat but never escaped the English stranglehold.
Shaw struck with her second ball, bowling Latika Kumari to make it 10-1 before Colvin, giving the ball air, and Edwards combined to send back Anjum Chopra and Rumeli Dhar, Edwards taking the first catch off her toes at extra cover and the second at head height at short mid-wicket.
That made it 44-3 in the 10th over. India's hopes rested with the elegant Raj but, restricted to tip-and-run singles, she eventually risked an agricultural shot and was bowled by a medium-paced dart from Edwards.
Wicketkeeper Taylor set the pace in England's reply, with a string of textbook boundaries. She hit seven fours -- the same as the Indian side managed in their entire 20 overs. Edwards joined in with a swept six off medium-pacer Amita Sharma's first ball and a chip to the midwicket fence as England reached 66-0 at halfway. Edwards then unleashed the biggest strike of the day into the mid-wicket crowd. She hit two sixes and six fours.
Earlier, Taylor made 50 off 52 balls as West Indies, regarded as the tournament dark horses, made 123-7. South Africa kept in touch before three run-outs derailed its challenge, with Stacy Ann-King producing two direct hits.
"It was a wonderful start but my nerves are still jangling," said relieved West Indies captain Merissa Aguilleira.