Sophie Devine smashed 29 off 20 balls to take the White Ferns to a deserved six wicket victory in the second T20 at Whangerai, and level the three match series at 1-1. Her innings was the decisive one for the Kiwis, but the win had been set up by another good opening partnership between Rachel Priest and Suzie Bates. They set the platform with a controlled 64 run opening partnership in less than 10 overs, despite all that England could throw at them.
England had won the toss and elected to bat first on a wicket which still looked to have plenty of runs in it. After a quiet first over Lauren Winfield took to the bowling of Holly Huddleston, in to replace Lea Tahuhu, with two sweetly-timed 4s. 13 came from the over and England looked to be up and running, but after playing out a maiden over to Erin Bermingham Charlotte Edwards lofted an easy chance to Sara McGlashan at cover to depart for an eight ball duck.
At the end of the powerplay overs England were 30 for 1 and, as the fielders dispersed to the boundary, runs became hard to come by. The pressure told on Sarah Taylor, as she edged through to Priest for 8 attempting a reverse sweep. Nat Sciver looked comfortable but advancing to the flighted off-spin of Georgia Guy she played over the ball and was bowled for 9 and England were struggling at 66 for 3 in the 14th over. Winfield was joined by Lydia Greenway who opened her account with a sumptuous 4 through extra cover off Guy, but it was one of the few boundaries that England could manage. With four overs left Winfield’s determined knock came to an end as she skied Bermingham to Satterthwaite at cover for 48 off 59 balls. England were still below par at 82/4, but Heather Knight took 10 off the 18th over with the first six balls that she faced at the crease and then plundered another 19 runs off the last over from Devine, including a huge six over midwicket, to take her personal tally to 30. She perished run out off the last ball of the game as she tried to get back for a second run, but her 30 off 15 balls took England to a respectable total of 122 for 5.
The Kiwis knew that the first six overs gave them the opportunity to reduce the runs required in the following overs and Priest, later named player of the match, in particular punished anything off a good length. She found the boundary six times in the powerplay overs as New Zealand took control of the game at 39 for 0. The opening pair brought up their 50 partnership in the 8th over and had set the game up for their team when Priest was eventually out for 41 off 33 balls. It was the returning Kate Cross, in the England side in place of the rested Katherine Brunt, that enticed her to drive to long on where Knight safely pouched the catch. In her next over Cross then accounted for an out of sorts Sara McGlashan. When Laura Marsh tempted Amy Satterthwaite out of her crease with a nicely flighted delivery and Sarah Taylor removed the bails, England were back in the game with New Zealand on 77 for 3.
But that was to discount the hard-hitting abilities of Devine. To date she had not made an impact in this series, but she picked up Cross for four through square leg and then hoisted Dani Hazell for 6 over midwicket in the next over to bring the runs required equation back below a run a ball. Despite losing Bates for 33 in the 18th over caught by Winfield off Marsh, Devine continued to dominate the bowlers and find the boundary. England took the game to the last over, but Kate Broadmore finished the match clubbing Marsh’s second ball over wide mid-on for the winning runs.
The teams now move down to Christchurch for the last T20 and two more ODIs to complete the tour.
Full scorecard here.
Full scorecard here.