|Women’s T20 tri-series, Taunton:|
|England 172-8 (20 overs): Sciver 59, Beaumont 23, Kasperek 3-35|
|New Zealand 118 (18.3 overs): Bates 23, Green 23, Ecclestone 4-18|
|England won by 54 runs|
England bounced back from defeat by South Africa with a 54-run win over New Zealand in their second women’s Twenty20 international of the day.
Natalie Sciver’s entertaining 59 helped the home side post 172-8 at Taunton.
New Zealand were well placed on 77-3 but lost their last seven wickets for 41 runs as teenage spinner Sophie Ecclestone captured a career-best 4-18.
England now lead the tri-series group with four points, with one round of games left to play on Thursday.
On that day, at Bristol, it will be New Zealand’s turn to play twice in a day – taking on South Africa (13:00 BST) and then England (17:40), with the top two teams meeting in the final at Chelmsford on 1 July.
Ecclestone helps England spin to win
Often reliant on their new-ball pairing of Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole, it was England’s spinners who made the difference against the Kiwis.
With New Zealand needing 173 to inflict England’s second defeat of the day, left-arm seamer Tash Farrant made the important early breakthrough when the big-hitting Sophie Devine holed out in the second over.
And after captain Suzie Bates – who had added 182 with Devine for the first wicket against South Africa on Wednesday – was trapped lbw by Brunt, it was not only the cue for a triumphant roar from the Yorkshire pace bowler, but also for England to put the squeeze on the middle order.
Ecclestone, who only turned 19 last month, strangled Katey Martin by bowling a maiden over in the powerplay, before returning to shatter the Kiwi keeper’s stumps as she heaved across the line.
With New Zealand’s faint chances ebbing away, Ecclestone then induced more self-destructive batting as she had Leigh Kasperek stumped and Anna Peterson caught in the deep in the space of three deliveries.
Captain Heather Knight (2-17) also struck gold with her bowling changes, introducing her own part-time off-spin to snare the dangerous left-hander Amy Satterthwaite with a return catch with the second ball she bowled, while Sciver’s first ball brought the wicket of the record-breaking Amelia Kerr.
Sciver sets the tone – and Shrubsole the finisher
Sciver’s half-century was particularly welcome for England, as the right-hander had only twice reached 50 with the bat since top-scoring in last summer’s World Cup final success.
“She’s been striking it brilliantly in the nets but hadn’t got a score, so that’s another box ticked and we’ve got a lot of players in form which is good,” Knight said.
Coming to the crease at 42-2 after the unfortunate Sarah Taylor was run out by a Tammy Beaumont straight drive while backing up, Sciver scored off each of the first eight balls she faced, setting the tone for what was to follow.
Dropped on 21 by Lea Tahuhu on the mid-wicket boundary, Sciver took advantage to drag England towards a defendable total.
However, the job was not yet done when she fell at 140-7 with 16 balls to spare and the unlikely batting ‘finisher’ was Somerset’s Shrubsole, who had her home crowd on their feet with a sweetly-struck straight six in the final over – the only time England cleared the ropes in the 40 overs they faced on Saturday.
‘We didn’t help ourselves in the field’ – what they said
England captain Heather Knight on Sky Sports: “Two games in a day is difficult physically and mentally, so our response was great. We didn’t have much time to dwell on the loss to South Africa. We managed to nail our basic skills better and held our catches.
“I’ve not bowled too much lately, but it worked to take pace off the ball and it was almost death by spin in the middle phase. Sophie Ecclestone has matured a lot and she’s a key bowler for us.”
New Zealand skipper Suzie Bates on Sky Sports: “I didn’t think we were on our game with the ball early, we didn’t help ourselves in the field and if we’d kept it under 160 the momentum might have been in our favour. We knew if they bowled tight and we lost early wickets it would be difficult.”
Ex-England batter Lydia Greenway on BBC Test Match Special: “England’s bowling was disciplined, Sophie Ecclestone was particularly impressive, but they weren’t really put under the pump by New Zealand today. When your key players perform, it’s the difference between winning and losing.”