Sophie Devine scored an unbeaten 117 in a White Ferns win. ©England Cricket
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Jamie Ramage from Leicester

The Royal London One-Day series finally saw its most competitive match. New Zealand had been beaten with such ease that they could have been forgiven for thinking of the flight home. They did far from that as they won by 4 wickets. It included a fine unbeaten 117 not out from Sophie Devine.

It looked like the same old story as England’s openers started with a partnership of 103. Amy Jones and Tammy Beaumont are starting to develop an understanding that bodes well for the future.

Jones was named the player of the series and it is clear to see why. She took her chance to impress on the tour of India in April and hasn’t looked back. To dislodge someone like Danni Wyatt shows just how much the England set-up believe in the Warwickshire player.

The pair looked to be coasting before Leigh Kasperek was introduced into the attack. Kasperek who has been playing county cricket for Yorkshire recaptured that early season form here as she caused a collapse that hadn’t been seen since the first ODI of the summer.

After she had seen off Beaumont trying to sweep finely past Martin was caught by the New Zealand keeper. She then had her Yorkshire teammate Lauren Winfield dismissed. Winfield returned to the side because Sarah Taylor was rested.

After the good work of the opening pair, no batter could pass 18. That was Danni Wyatt who had smashed Jess Watkin only to see Sophie Devine hold on. It was it so hard that had Devine been a cartoon character she would have travelled over the boundary. No mean feat from mid-on.

At 156 for 3 England looked in control with some of their power hitters still left to bat, however, they collapsed to 219 all out.

Kasperek with 5 for 39 was the pick of the bowlers but was ably backed up by Hayley Jensen who returned to the side in place of Lea Tahuhu. Jensen while not as quick as Tahuhu offers more control and it told. She finished with 2 for 26 and that included 41 dot balls.

There was a rejigged batting order for New Zealand as they promoted Jess Watkin up the order. It didn’t work as Watkin was lbw.

With Bates down at three it would require Devine to kick on and produce top quality innings. that is just what she did.

The same is usually said of Bates as well but she lasted only 8 balls before being bowled my Laura Marsh as she dragged on.

Amy Satterthwaite joined Devine and the pair were on the same wavelength from the begging and they started to take the game away from England. They added 58 for the fourth wicket. Brunt was brought back into the attack and got the wicket of the Satterthwaite clipping the top of her off stump. In the process, Brunt became England’s leading wicket-taker.

Devine stayed there and along with Martin, they started to once again take the game away from England. Martin was run out for 25 but it made little difference to the result.

Amelia Kerr joined Devine and ensured victory was secured with 32 balls to spare. It is a defeat that will hurt England who could have gone top of the ICC Championship standing, albeit, having played more games.

The next stop for both these teams is the World T20 later this year in the Caribbean.