England keen put forth a clinical performance as New Zealand aim end on high

New Zealand and England Teams © Getty Images

England’s extended summer of international cricket, which started with a one-off Test against India at Bristol, will come to an end with the final ODI against New Zealand at St Lawrence Ground in Canterbury. England have emerged victorious in nine out of 13 limited over matches, but going into the final match of the season on Sunday (September 26), the hosts would like to be more clinical against a depleted New Zealand side.

The host’s highest successful ODI run chase came in the last over of the fourth ODI, as captain Heather Knight and Amy Jones rebuilt the innings after losing openers early. After scoring four back-to-back half-centuries, Tammy Beaumont was not able to give England the start they need at the top. It might not be the immediate cause of concern for them, but as of now, their next big assignment is the multi-format series against Australia, who are still maintaining their winning streak.

Their batting woes are not limited to Beaumont, as the England captain admitted in the post-match press conference that her team is far from their best in the batting department. “We haven’t been our best as a batting group the last couple of games, so I was desperate to be that one to try and score a big score for the team and get us over the line,” Knight said.

Also Read: Captain’s knock from Knight takes England to series win

England have stuck to their rotation policy for bowlers as they rested Kate Cross, Katherine Brunt and Natasha Farrant in the fourth ODI as Anya Shrubsole came in after missing out in the T20I series and the first three matches of the ODI series. New Zealand struggled against the new ball attack of Shrubsole and Natalie Sciver, losing three wickets inside the powerplay. England could not keep up with the early pressure as the visitors ended up scoring 244 in the first innings.

New Zealand skipper Sophie Devine has batted at five throughout the series to give provide them with an anchor in the middle overs. Devine explained the reason behind this shift in the post-match press conference. “We have spoken about the lengthening the (batting) order and giving us the best chance of winning games,” she said. She was initially promoted to the top order where she has an impressive average and strike rate to give New Zealand the quick start. With a home World Cup in less than five months, New Zealand don’t want the unsettled batting line-up.

In the absence of Lea Tahuhu and Molly Penfold, who took seven out of England’s 10 wickets in the third ODI, Hannah Rowe and Hayley Jensen were able to control the flow of runs throughout the innings. Devine praised her bowlers for their efforts. “We have shown a couple of times that we are able to peg teams back. The partnership bowling between Rowe and Jensen was outstanding. The fight we showed to peg the game back is really pleasing.”

New Zealand bowlers have been good in the patches during this entire tour. They looked struggled in the 4th ODI as Knight and Jones put a partnership of 100 runs. They have troubled the entire English batting line-up without much success but would want to end the series on a positive note.

Also Read: Injury, milestones and a home World Cup: a sit-down with Suzie Bates

These two sides will face each other at the picturesque Eden Park in Aukland on Sunday (March 20, 2022) in the World Cup. A lot can change in the next 176 days, but before that, these two sides have a series to finish in Canterbury.

Squads:

England: Heather Knight (c), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Kate Cross, Freya Davies, Charlie Dean, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Natasha Farrant, Sarah Glenn, Amy Jones, Natalie Sciver, Anya Shrubsole, Lauren Winfield-Hill, Danielle Wyatt

New Zealand: Sophie Devine (c), Amy Satterthwaite, Suzie Bates, Lauren Down, Claudia Green, Maddy Green, Brooke Halliday, Hayley Jensen, Jess Kerr, Katey Martin (wk), Leigh Kasperek, Molly Penfold, Jessica McFadyen (wk), Thamsyn Newton, Hannah Rowe, Lea Tahuhu