With the temperature only managing to reach the low teens and with grey skies, it was no real surprise that Charlotte Edwards elected to field when she won the toss for the 6th time in seven games. There was a hope, nay an expectation, that the ball would swing, and Katherine Brunt did not disappoint as she beat New Zealand openers, Suzie Bates and Rachel Priest, on the outside edge. Meanwhile Kate Cross was working up a good head of steam at the Pavilion End and was bang on the money with length and line. Suzie Bates is not one to be tied down, but her lofted drive at Cross was a rash shot. Had it not been for an extremely nonchalant two-handed catch above her head by Jenny Gunn at mid-off she would have survived. As it was she was again on her way with just 7 runs to her name. Since she made 106 in the first ODI she has had scores of 0,39,3, 33,7 and 7. She is a better player than that.
Cross then accounted for Bates' fellow opener, Rachel Priest, in her next over, bowling her through the gate for 6. New Zealand had made another bad start. They were 15/2. Amy Satterthwaite (27) and Kate Broadmore (24) then put together the best partnership of the New Zealand innings. Satterthwaite in particular looked in good nick. They played sensibly as Cross sent down seven of her 10 overs with Knight, Gunn and Hazell also used without too many alarms. Finally it was the introduction of Grundy that sparked another New Zealand collapse, with the aid of another magnificent effort by a diving Gunn, this time at deep long-on. Satterthwaite must have felt she had hit the ball far enough to the left of Gunn to get away with it. Gunn made good ground and her large mitts had other ideas.
|Kate Cross finished with 5/24 (c) Don Miles|
From 69/2 New Zealand lost six wickets for just 30 runs with Grundy helping herself to two more and Cross three in 14 balls to end with her first (and probably not her last) five-fer. She finished with 5/24, her best return in her eight ODIs to date. Grundy meanwhile had produced her best figures too of 3/36.
It looked as though New Zealand were going to struggle to make a hundred, but Leah Tahuhu, who likes to hit the ball straight, and Morna Nielsen (who her Dad told me cannot bat) added 42 for the 9th wicket before Nielsen called Tahuhu through for a sharp single and she was run out by a Sciver/Taylor combination. Tahuhu's 26 was by far her best ODI innings in 13 visits to the crease. Her previous high had been 11 not out 15 days ago in Mount Maunganui. When 18 year debutant Hannah Rowe managed to smash three 4s in a fine debut knock of 18* at number 11 (she may move up the order quite quickly!), the suspicion was that the wicket was playing quite nicely. New Zealand finished on 168 all out when Jenny Gunn took her fourth catch of the match in the 50th over, this time off Heather Knight's bowling. Only one other player has taken four outfield catches in a Women's ODIs - Zoe Goss of Australia.
The "crowd" of England supporters were confident - ex-England player Patsy Lovell thought England would get home with 10 overs to spare, and the legend that is Enid Bakewell was sure England would get home without losing another wicket, after the early demise of Heather Knight - caught behind off Tahuhu for 5. They were both right. In fact Patsy was a bit conservative.
Charlotte Edwards played like a woman who has batted in 172 ODIs before and Taylor batted like everyone knows she can, without taking any great risks. Both got to their 50s within a few balls of each other - Taylor off 85 balls and Edwards off 73. England had made it to 117/1 by this time and were in the 28th over of their innings. Edwards then told Taylor to enjoy herself, so she hit the returning Rowe for four consecutive 4s to midwicket, over mid-on, through extra cover and then back over the bowler's head. It was harsh on the youngster. Shame on you Sarah!
|Sarah Taylor in full flow (c) Don Miles|
This is the sort of dominance that many had expected England to enjoy from the start of this tour. Had they not had such a cold start then it might have been. Perhaps a lesson for future tours. And so the tour ends on Saturday when the teams will re-emerge from the same pavilion for the last time. England will be mighty disappointed if they don't roll the Kiwis over for third time this week and take the five match ODI series 3-2.