Although they won an ODI against India in February 2019 before this string of losses, that came in a dead-rubber after losing the first two ODIs. Going back even further the last ODI series they won was against Ireland in 2018. Since then they have lost six consecutive series in the format – two to England, two against Australia, one each against India, and South Africa.
At this point, they need to have some structural changes in the way they play because, for most of these losses, they seem to follow a pattern of not being able to find enough runs on the board and eventually losing by big margins. The only time they came close to a win was when they went down by five runs against their Trans-Tasman neighbours Australia in Perth during the first ODI of their 2019 tour.
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The bigger issues will have to wait as they won’t be solved in a day, but come Sunday (February 28) New Zealand will be hoping for a consolation win to get their confidence back ahead of the T20I series. It won’t be easy since England have made it clear that they will be looking for a 3-0 whitewash when they take the field for the third ODI on Sunday.
“I think we are really in a good shape and will be able to wrap up the ODI part of the series in two days’ time,” England allrounder Natalie Sciver, player of the match from the second ODI, said at the post-match conference on Friday.
It will be an understatement to say New Zealand batters and bowlers had a disappointing series, but the numbers of both teams present a stark contrasting story. New Zealand were bowled out in both the matches and were able to pick up only five England wickets.
Danielle Wyatt is the only batter who missed out on feasting on New Zealand bowlers with Tammy Beaumont being imperious with her performance, while Sciver and skipper Heather Knight took their T20 form to the format. Amy Jones also chipped in with the bat in the second ODI.
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As for the hosts, only newcomer Brooke Halliday could hold her own with back-to-back fifties. Even though Hayley Jensen scored a fifty in her first outing as an opener in the first ODI, the way she got out in the second match didn’t inspire any confidence. Their senior-most players Amy Satterthwaite and Sophie Devine have been the most disappointing of all the batters.
In the bowling department, both England pacers and spinners out-bowled their Kiwi counterparts. All the England bowlers, who turned their arm over, walked away with at least a wicket in the series so far even as someone like Amelia Kerr struggled to pick up a single wicket with the lack of runs on the board not allowing the bowling unit to build any pressure. Pacer Jess Kerr was one of the lone bright spots with an impressive opening spell in the second ODI.
Come Sunday, New Zealand will be hoping the trio of Satterthwaite, Devine, and Amelia to come good in both the departments if they are to come close to finding the way back to their winning ways. Natalie Dodd looked out of sorts at the top, with Frances Mackay being the only other option in the 13-member squad, it remains to be seen if Devine will come up the order to take the opening mantle while allowing others to find their bearings in the middle-order.
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Maddy Green looked good during her short stay at the crease and they will be hoping more from her and wicket-keeper Katey Martin.
With no visible issues in hand, England will be hoping to give the others like Fran Wilson an opportunity to bat without weakening the line-up. Despite having made it clear that they will be going for the whitewash England vice-captain Sciver has the eyes on the bigger things and added they will be looking to give some players in the squad a run in the third ODI.
“It’s possible. We had one change from the first game in the second. Obviously with the World Cup in mind next year, working towards that in terms of getting people in the squad time to play 50 overs as well,” she said.
England: Heather Knight (c), Natalie Sciver, Katherine Brunt, Tammy Beaumont, Kate Cross, Freya Davies, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Georgia Elwiss, Natasha Farrant, Sarah Glenn, Amy Jones, Mady Villiers, Fran Wilson, Lauren Winfield-Hill, Danielle Wyatt.
New Zealand: Sophie Devine (c), Natalie Dodd, Maddy Green, Brooke Halliday, Hayley Jensen, Fran Jonas, Amelia Kerr, Jess Kerr, Frances Mackay, Katey Martin (wk), Hannah Rowe, Amy Satterthwaite, Gaby Sullivan.