England kept their impressive record against New Zealand going at Bristol today. It was an impressive performance against a New Zealand side that rested players. From what was a dead rubber, England took to the field with the intensity of a World Cup final. It was the hosts who would eventually win by seven wickets.
Things were never going to be easy for New Zealand when Suzie Bates their inspirational captain was out to the 5th ball of the first over as Amy Jones took a good catch off the bowling of Anya Shrubsole. With Sophie Ecclestone brought in the attack with one over of the powerplay left Katey Martin was adjudged lbw.
A partnership of 59 between Sophie Devine and Amy Satterthwaite ensured that New Zealand were able to set a platform to build on. It wasn’t to work out that way, however, when Katie George took her first international wicket. Satterthwaite was one of four New Zealand batters to be given out lbw in the innings. It was the England catching that was much improved today. It hasn’t been a series when England’s catching has been at its best.
Jones took a diving low catch to see off Maddy Green. It was an overhead catch from Nat Sciver that would end the innings of Devine for 52 and end the New Zealand innings on 129 all out. It was one of only three innings in double figures, Jess Watkins was willing to find the boundary with 4 fours in a row off Ecclestone, but she was stumped smartly off Sarah Taylor from a wide.
Watkin then set about making international cricket look like it was easy as she also took two wickets. First, she had Danni Wyatt caught on the edge of the circle with her first ball. In her next over she had the other England opener Tammy Beaumont out in similar style.
It is one of the many strengths that England have is that they can afford for a couple of players to have an off day and still bat you out of the game. It was Taylor’s turn today and she was well supported by Nat Sciver as they took the game out of New Zealand’s reach.
Taylor’s innings only lasted 37 balls but, in that time, she had scored 51 with 7 fours. With 27 runs left for England to chase Taylor was stumped. In her place stepped Heather Knight who then scored 24 not from 24 balls.
England will expect the final to be a different proposition, although, they have an excellent record at Chelmsford. At that venue, they usually play in front of a full patriotic crowd and don’t expect anything less of Sunday.