Jamie Ramage from Leeds
There is a feel-good mood in England at the moment. It may be partly down to the England football team doing so well in the FIFA World Cup. At Headingley, there was a World Cup winning side taking on New Zealand in the first Royal London ODI.
There were none of the usual first game jitters from England. After all, this is their third series in a month as it showed. New Zealand have now lost five of their last six ODIs against England and they never looked like winning this one.
England won the toss and chose to bat. There had been cheeky suggestions that England would field first so the players could keep an eye on the events in Russia. This is a team that means business and can still draw a good crowd.
England stuck with the opening pair of Tammy Beaumont and Amy Jones. It was Jones who started the brighter. The Warwickshire player soon found her rhythm. She hit six fours in the powerplay to Beaumont’s 2. The two have started to forge a good partnership and they added 111 between them before Nelson struck. Beaumont was the wicket to fall edging behind to the third ball of a new Lea Tahuhu spell.
On a used pitch the middle overs started to become difficult to bat on. What England did well was to form partnerships throughout the innings. 67 was added for the fourth wicket and 44 for the fifth. While the spinners of Amelia Kerr, Leigh Kasperek and Jess Watkin slowed the scoring down, England were able to improvise and fin ways of rotating the strike.
Kerr in her second spell took two wickets for 8 runs in four overs. Knight was in fine form and judged her innings to perfection and equalled Jones for the highest score of the innings with 63. As New Zealand came out to bat the crowd of 2106 started to turn their attention to the football. When England scored in Russia the crowd cheered just as Katherine Brunt the local hero was hit for four.
With half-time bringing back attention to the events more local New Zealand lost four quick wickets. Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine were looking in good touch with an opening partnership of 70 from the first 14 overs.
Georgia Elwiss got the ball rolling getting rid of the dangerous Devine for 33. Nat Sciver who had earlier scored 37 produced a spell of bowling that New Zealand would never recover from. Sciver too the wicket of Bates with her first ball and then Katey Martin with the final ball of her first over. New Zealand were in danger of collapsing quickly.
Elwiss made sure that wickets were falling at the other end as well and New Zealand had lost four wickets in the space of fifteen minutes. Sciver finished with figures of 3 for 18, which made up for an early dropped catch in Katie George’s first ODI over. The young Hampshire fast bowler would finally bag her first wicket and with it seal the victory for England by 142 runs.
The series now moves on to Derby on Tuesday where England will be looking forward to wrapping up the series with a game to spare.