On Wednesday both these sides broke the World record for the highest T20I total. It was always going to be unlikely that either side were going to do that. England having lost earlier today against South Africa were looking to bounce back and they did that against a big-hitting New Zealand side.
Taunton is always a good venue for the shorter version of the game and England who batted first showed that. It was Nat Sciver that would provide the platform for another good score for England. England scored 172 for 8, which against New Zealand is not always guaranteed to be enough. It was today as England won by 54 runs.
It was Sciver’s first T20 fifty of the summer, her last before this was in Mumbai in March. Before Sciver came to the crease, Danni Wyatt and Tammy Beaumont got off to good starts but could not carry it on. Beaumont was unfortunate to be involved in two wickets. The first she drove Hayley Jensen straight back down the ground, the bowler getting a fingertip to it before hitting the stumps with Sarah Taylor short of her ground.
Her own dismissal had a hint of misfortune again against Jensen as the ball found it’s way under her bat and through her legs to bowl her. Sciver was in no mood to surrender a good start for England and started to accelerate the scoring. In Sciver’s innings of 37 balls, she scored 59 including 7 fours.
Sophie Devine hit back for New Zealand with two wickets in two balls. It did bring Anya Shrubsole to the crease who ensured England passed the par score with ease, with a cameo of 22 from 11 balls. Shrubsole hit the only six of the England innings. Suzie Bates and Devine at the top of the are able to punish any bowling attack. Devine showed that with two early sixes before being dismissed by Tash Farrant. Farrant was the only change from the first game. She came into the side for Jenny Gunn.
New Zealand lost regular wickets which meant they were always struggling to stay in the game. Sophie Ecclestone bowled a maiden over but was then taken off as the left-handed Amy Satterthwaite was at the crease. Heather Knight made sure that Satterthwaite wasn’t around for long as she hit a return catch to the England captain. Ecclestone did come back into the attack and finished with 4 for 18 as New Zealand lost momentum. It was a performance that was good enough to be player of the match.
The action moves on to Bristol on Thursday. With England top of the group with just two games left before the final, there is still all to play for. New Zealand are now level on points with South Africa. Who will play at Chelmsford in the final next Sunday is still up for grabs.