England seal series in style as New Zealand succumb to Sophie Ecclestone and Katie George | Cricket Bats | England
England 241 (Beaumont 67, Sciver 54) beat New Zealand 118 (George 3-36, Ecclestone 3-14) by 123 runs
England’s women sealed their third limited-overs trophy in as many series this summer, as New Zealand were condemned to a 123-run defeat in the second ODI at Derby. A one-sided contest was sealed with 12 overs to spare, as Heather Knight’s team secured an unassailable 2-0 lead going into the final match of the rubber at Grace Road on Friday.
Chasing a target of 242, New Zealand struggled initially against the pace of Katie George and Katherine Brunt, who combined for three wickets inside the first seven overs, before being swept aside by England’s redoubtable spin attack.
For a time, while New Zealand were losing six wickets for 17 runs to slump to 92 for 9, it seemed the match might be done and dusted in time for the start of the World Cup semi-final between France and Belgium – no doubt a target for an England team who had been scrawling “Football’s Coming Home” and “Sir Gareth Southgate” on placards for the cameras earlier in the match. However, a last-wicket stand of 26 in 8.4 overs between Kate Ebrahim and Holly Huddleston forced them to wait for their gratification.
There was no glossing over the final margin of England’s victory, however. Sophie Ecclestone, England’s player of the tournament in last week’s tri-series, was once again the pick of the attack with 3 for 14, as she proved too wily for a New Zealand team that is starting to look in need of a break after a lengthy tour that began with a record-laden stint in Ireland in June.
Ecclestone claimed two wickets for seven runs in an initial six-over spell, and was ably backed up by Laura Marsh, who accounted for the key wicket of Suzie Bates for 24, and Knight, who had Leigh Kasperek caught behind for a first-ball duck. Then, after the tenth-wicket frustration, back came Ecclestone with the decisive lbw, as Huddleston was sent on her way for 12.
England’s other stand-out bowler was George, who enhanced her reputation as the most exciting fast-bowling find in the country with figures of 3 for 36, the best of her fledgling career. Her opening wicket, Sophie Devine, may have been a rank bad ball, but her second was a collector’s item, as Amy Satterthwaite was bowled all ends up by one that straightened on off stump.
After winning the toss and batting first, England were once again indebted to their batsman of the summer so far, Tammy Beaumont, who showcased a fluency that few of her team-mates could match in making 67 from 76 balls at the top of the order.
On a two-paced pitch where no player could ever feel entirely in, Beaumont was the mainstay of the first half of England’s innings. She added 40 for the first wicket with Amy Jones, who once again gave her wicket away too cheaply as she slogged to point for a hard-earned 20, before both Sarah Taylor and Knight also fell to aggressive options – caught at mid-on and behind the stumps respectively.
When Beaumont herself was trapped lbw by Jess Watkin, England were in slight danger of frittering away a hard-earned platform at 149 for 4. Danni Wyatt, back in the side in place of Lauren Winfield, was unable to impose herself either as she cut Tahuhu to point to depart for 8, but Nat Sciver was on hand to shore up the middle order.
Sciver’s knock of 54 from 58 balls ended to the catch of the day from Bates at mid-off, who leapt backwards to intercept a lofted drive in her left hand. But with Brunt (25) and Georgie Elwiss (18) keeping England ticking into the death overs, England were just about able to make light of the loss of their final two wickets in consecutive balls, as they were bowled out with two overs left unused.
That shortcoming, however, was nothing compared to New Zealand’s later in the day. England’s World Cup winners are starting to develop an impressive rhythm as their season develops.