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High Drama at Derby – England v New Zealand – 4th ODI

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Teams batting second at Derby don’t win, so England chose to bat second. Did they know something? It certainly brought tension to the closing overs.

Anya Shrubsole took an over to get her bearings after a lengthy absence; thereafter she asked serious questions of the batters. Suzie Bates and Lauren Down weathered the storm well enough till a bad call saw Bates run out by a throw for Nat Sciver at mid-wicket.

With Sciver bowling tightly too, both Down and Maddy Green succumbed in short order to put the White Ferns’ innings in trouble. (33-3)

Amy Satterthwaite (54) and Sophie Devine (41) now put on 56 together, righting the ship as they have done so often. Far more crucial was the excellent innings by Katey Martin (65*) who has been desperately short of runs in recent years.

With Brooke Halliday (28) and Hannah Rowe (15) adding useful runs, England’s attack was kept at bay. A total of 244-8 would take some getting.

England’s reply

Could England’s batters at last revert to their old form and knock off these runs with ease? Lauren Winfield-Hill (in her 50th ODI and with plenty still to prove) and Tammy Beaumont saw up the first fifty. But then LW-H was bowled by Hannah Rowe who bowled quite excellently; once more the Yorkshire skipper couldn’t translate a fine start into heavy runs. Beaumont, more circumspect but selecting the balls to hit decisively, was strangled down the leg side for 16 out of 59.

With Sciver making only 11 it was left to Heather Knight and Amy Jones to provide the bulk of the runs. They added 100 in 22 overs, but with that achievement pocketed Jones (40) skied a catch to long-off. She looked as though she had almost regained her old powers.

Knight was batting so serenely that it was a surprise to realise Sophie Dunkley’s unwelcome duck came after they had added a further 14 runs.

Once more home fans could feel grateful that England had picked seven batters. In strode Danni Wyatt who is well used to such challenges. The target was now 60 off the last 11 overs. The experienced pair ran quick singles and doubles, embellished with the occasional boundary.

On 98* Knight hit square on the off and ran an urgent two. She finished flat on her front as the return came in, but she was home: her second century in ODIs.

And still the job wasn’t done. She flayed a shot to deep mid-wicket where Halliday took a brilliant catch diving forward (101). 237-6, and only 8 balls left. Once again Charlie Dean was spared the drama out in the middle. In came Anya Shrubsole.

Off the last ball of Devine’s last over the tension tightened another notch; Wyatt swung across the line to be trapped in front.

Six needed off six. In comes Sophie Ecclestone who had gone wicketless earlier. Leigh Kasperek was called up to bowl, despite having had an off day till now; (3 overs, 24 runs). Shrubsole hit her first ball over mid-off for four. A dot then a single – scores level.

This is where cricket completely bamboozles the stranger to the game. Ecclestone is stumped by Martin, England have won!

Yes; it was a wide, and the wide happened before the fall of the wicket.

New Zealand 244 (50 overs)
England: 245-7 (49.3 overs)
England won by 3 wickets

England take the series 3-1 with one to play, at Canterbury on Sunday.


Charlie Dean may have signed herself up for England’s next hundred matches. She accounted for Satterthwaite, Devine and Halliday in an resourceful display of off-spin bowling.

Sadly, the reverse may be true for Freya Davies. Though she captured two late wickets as the White Ferns hunted for runs, her early spell highlighted her problems. She falls away on delivery which imperils her accuracy. Now in her mid-twenties, she won’t find it easy adjusting her action. Though her pace is lively, it isn’t sufficient to beat batters if the accuracy isn’t there. Her deadliest option is her slow ball.

With so many seam bowlers lining up to supplant the main Brunt-Shrubsole axis, it’s hard to see her getting another chance. Neither Kate Cross nor Farrant were on show here. The uncapped quicks are milling around outside the door.

So Knight’s decision to bowl first proved correct, but it couldn’t have been much tighter. In the event England achieved their highest ever run-chase. That record tells you more about their past strength in bowling than the current level of their batting.

The White Ferns bowled very straight, allowing the batters little room for extravagance. Hannah Rowe led the way with 4-47, and she came under the hammer only right at the end.