Friday, 20 February 2015

New Zealand level series with 6 wicket win

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.

Martin Davies



  1. Overs 15 to 19 inclusive contained not a single boundary from England - it was like watching the T20 WC all over again. Despite some crass claims from one or two players it is clear whatever they have been practicing isnt bearing fruit yet.
    Knight played the innings we've been missing for so long - a brlliant T20 innings with no nurdling around. Others look and learn.
    England still have not sorted out the batting PP. Lottie's approach works fine IF she stays in but when she doesnt it is poor. Playing out a maiden in the PP tells one everything one needs to know about our T20 batting. At least that was only 2nd equal in terms of balls used in gettting a duck. Beaumont used 8 for one of her ducks in the T20WC but Marsh managed a 10 ball duck against Pakistan in 2012.
    Another disappointing defeat in a disappointing tour so far.

  2. There are some worrying patterns emerging. I called it, that NZ may get over double 60 in this game and got it right! In 5 games, we have not yet produced one clear cut strong batting performance. The wins so far have come off brilliant displays in the field, requiring only modest batting replies. This means, unfortunately, that we can only win when we bowl incredibly well, which is always going to make consistency very difficult.

    It looked like a nice innings from Winfield, the only criticism being that a few more boundaries would have been useful. As a note to the team in general, only 9 boundaries in a whole T20 innings is rather inadequate, and it was only 6 before Knight hit the last 3 right at the end.

    In reply, NZ hit 14.

    That can make a big difference.

    It's not all doom and gloom though. Knight is rapidly turning into an absolutely fantastic player, on a higher level altogether. With that accurate, unpredictable spin, strong mental attitude and determined, powerful batting she's top class. Cross is also a plus, she looks a dangerous bowler when her radar is in order. Why do her and Brunt never seem to play in the same match I wonder?? Shame that Hazell had a slightly bad day at the office, when she was so close to getting that wicket she needs! One more chance here though.

    Going into the last week of the tour we still have a chance at winning both iT20 and ODI series. NZ look vulnerable when they start to lose wickets, and as I stated earlier, we still haven't really batted well yet. Surely, in 8 games, someone will really go beserk and get a big score. Whatever happens, they've put a good effort in, but that alone won't really cut it with the pro contracts these days (at least not for the critics back home). We could really do with 2 wins out of the last 3 games to round off the tour in style.

  3. I'm not a big fan of lottery cricket or T20 but for our women's team it is more important than ever contracts or no. What is happening now does not bode well for an Ashes summer.

    Every cricket team goes through cycles I'm just not so sure that we've managed ours very well. There are a couple of star players nearing international retirement who deserve to go out on their own terms. But others who are not looking strong enough to be the core of the 'new' team and lead them to the success contracts require.

    1. Logically, contracts would only require success if no other teams had them as well. Now most of the other international sides have their own contracts, there's no reason we should be one of the best sides, apart from the fact that we always have been, and that we currently have some of the best players. That may change though. Our domestic setup doesn't help too much, in my view. Different international teams may improve at different rates. This is what has muddied the waters for those looking to put some level of objective analysis into the amount of improvement there has been in the women's game, internationally over the last few years I mean. It's difficult to say with certainty whether England's current struggles are down to lack of confidence since they bottled the iT20 final against Australia (they've not looked the same since), whether the pressure and increased media scrutiny have got to some of them, or whether other sides have just stepped up and taken faster to getting more and better training. In all probability it is, partly al least, all of these factors, and maybe others too.

    2. Yes these are groundbreaking times for women's cricket we still have some of the best players contracted but are no longer the most consistent team. So this breeds uncertainty and raises questions for the new professional set-up. The timing ahead of the highest profile women's cricket event could not be worse.