Captain’s knock from Knight takes England to series win

Heather Knight during her match-winning century. © Getty Images

Heather Knight headlined the match with her second ODI century as England pulled off their highest successful chase to win the fourth ODI against New Zealand and clinch the series 3-1 with a match to spare in Derby on Thursday (September 23). The England captain was decisive in her footwork right from the start and guided them out of tough situation as she shared a century partnership with Amy Jones. Even though Knight was dismissed in the penultimate over along with a set Danielle Wyatt, the hosts eventually romped home with three balls to spare.

Chasing 245 to win the series, Lauren Winfield-Hill started slowly scoring only two off 11 before hitting the straps with one boundary each off New Zealand opening bowlers. Tammy Beaumont, who didn’t have much of the strike in early part of the innings, joined Winfield-Hill with a couple of fours off Sophie Devine.

The duo added fifty runs by the 11th over and were looking good for more when Winfield-Hill once again failed to convert yet another start. Hannah Rowe got through her as the right-hander was bowled for 33.

24-year-old Rowe got the ball to come back sharply and had Beaumont strangled down the leg-side in the next over for 16. She attacked the front pad of the batters and was rewarded with the big wicket of Natalie Sciver as the England vice-captain survived one close LBW shout before getting trapped in front of the wicket for 11.

From 71 for three, Knight and Jones played out four quiet overs with New Zealand bowlers keeping it tight. Introduction of Leigh Kasperek into the attack allowed England to open up as both the batters found a boundary each in the off-spinner’s first over. That helped them settle into their innings and then Jones drove Jess Kerr down the ground for another four.

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At the other end, Knight was in her elements as she milked Amy Satterthwaite and then stepped down the wicket to hit her through mid-wicket for a four. She then hit Devine for consecutive boundaries to bring up her fifty from 58 balls. Knight pulled out one of her trademark reverse sweeps against Satterthwaite for another boundary. Even though Jones was unusually subdued at the other end, the pair brought up their century partnership with some smart running in the 38th over.

The wicket-keeper played an ungainly shot in the next ball to become Rowe’s fourth wicket and soon England lost another wicket when Satterthwaite trapped Sophia Dunkley in front for a duck.

With the match hanging in the balance as England needed run-a-ball the last ten overs, Wyatt started with a boundary off Kerr and smashed Rowe for a maximum while Knight scored a couple of fours off Rowe. The pair ran hard between the wicket. It was no surprise when the England skipper got to her century – second in the format – with a couple of back-to-back braces and found herself face down on the ground while completing her 100th run.

It looked all done and dusted at that moment, but with Brooke Halliday pulling off a incredible catch at the boundary and Devine trapping Wyatt in front with her final ball meant, England still needed six runs in the last over. Anya Shrubsole eased the pressure by hitting a boundary in the first ball before a wide from Kasperek brought them home with three balls to spare.

For New Zealand, Rowe was the most successful bowler with four wickets for 47, while Devine picked up two wickets.

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Put into bat, New Zealand opener Suzie Bates looked in her elements when she got two boundaries off Anya Shrubsole – playing her first match of the series – in the second over. Although she hit one more four, Bates unfortunately found herself short of the crease to be run out for 17 off 24 balls after a mix up with Lauren Down.

Once again New Zealand top order failed in the series when they lost Maddy Green and Down in quick succession to reduce themselves to 33 for three in the eighth over. Shrubsole was the destroyer as she got Green to chip one straight to mid-on before getting one to come back in sharply to dismiss Down.

From there, it was up to the experienced duo of Satterthwaite and Devine to get the tourists back on track. They took their time in the first few overs before Devine opened up to hit Sophie Ecclestone for a six and a four in consecutive balls. The New Zealand skipper added two more boundaries off Ecclestone to bring up the fifty partnership and was looking good for more when she played back to a full delivery from Charlotte Dean to be trapped plumb in front for 41.

At this moment with the score reading 89 for four, an out of sorts Martin – with three single digit scores in the series – walked in to join Satterthwaite. While the southpaw didn’t let the dismissal of Devine affect her and looked comfortable at the crease, Martin struggled at the other end and was on four off 18 at one stage.

However, the wicketkeeper-batter eventually found her first boundary through mid-on with some deft footwork against Knight and repeated the feat against Dean after sweeping the off-spinner for another four. Satterthwaite provided solid support as the pair added another fifty-run for the fifth wicket to make sure that New Zealand didn’t lose wickets in clusters.

Couple of boundaries later, Satterthwaite got to her 24th fifty in the format with a single off Ecclestone. At the other end, Martin was growing in confidence and took on the left-arm spinner through mid-wicket for a boundary.

20-year-old Dean provided England with the breakthrough when she had Satterthwaite bowled around her legs for 54. With the score reading 174 for five at the 40-over mark, New Zealand needed a strong finish to challenge the hosts. Halliday pulled Shrubsole through square-leg to get herself going, while Martin hit the pacer for a four in the same over.

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In the 43rd over, Halliday played arguably shot of the innings when she launched Dean against the spin over her head for a maximum. The left-hander then took on Shrubsole for two more boundaries as New Zealand reached the 200-run mark. She played a lofted cover drive before Dean struck again to remove her for 28 off 19 balls.

Meanwhile, Martin reached fifty from 65 balls – her first in last 31 innings – to make sure that New Zealand didn’t fell away at the backend. With Hannah Rowe wielding the long handle in the final few overs, the 36-year-old took them to 244 for eight from the stipulated fifty overs as she remained not out on 65.

For England, Dean was the most successful bowler with figures of three for 52 from her ten overs, while Shrubsole and Davies took two wickets each.

Brief Scores: New Zealand 244/8 in 50 overs (Katey Martin 65*, Amy Satterthwaite 54; Charlotte Dean 3/52) lost to England 245/7 in 49.3 overs (Heather Knight 101, Amy Jones 40; Hannah Rowe 4/47) by 3 wickets. POTM: Heather Knight.