England Women beat New Zealand in thriller to win T20I series 2-1; Sophia Dunkley hits match-winning four as Heather Knight’s side triumph with one ball to spare; Knight scores 42 in her 200th England game after returning from hamstring injury
Last Updated: 09/09/21 10:38pm
Sophia Dunkley hit the match-winning four as England beat New Zealand with one ball to spare in a thrilling T20 series decider at Taunton.
England appeared to be easing to victory as Dunkley (22no off 21 balls) and fit-again skipper Heather Knight (42 off 36) reduced the requirement to eight from eight balls in their chase of 145.
However, Knight was out at the backend of the 19th over before Maia Bouchier (1) fell at the start of the 20th and the task went on to become four from two deliveries.
Dunkley, though, then dispatched a full toss from Amy Satterthwaite to the midwicket fence as England sealed a four-wicket win in Knight’s 200th international appearance and completed a 2-1 series success.
Knight, who missed the first two matches of the series due to a hamstring injury, rallied England from 42-3 in their chase, sharing stands of 55 and 40 with Amy Jones (32 off 19) and Dunkley respectively.
The England captain tasted victory in her landmark match but New Zealand’s Suzie Bates suffered defeat in hers, with her 34 off 30 balls in her 250th game for the White Ferns coming in a losing cause.
Bates had fired six boundaries early on before New Zealand’s mid-innings lull was rectified by 50 runs from the final four overs through Maddy Green (16), Katey Martin (13no off 6) and Brook Halliday (25no off 16).
The tourists – who won the second T20 at Hove by four wickets after losing the first at Chelmsford by 46 runs – were then buoyed by spinner Leigh Kasperek dismissing Nat Sciver (2) and Danni Wyatt (35 off 23) from successive balls in the seventh over.
But Knight, Jones and Dunkley’s knocks thwarted New Zealand, who will now be looking for revenge in the five-match one-day international series, which begins in Bristol next Thursday.
England vs New Zealand
September 16, 2021, 12:30pm
The first ODI will be Bates’ 251st international and she sparkled in her 250th after being dropped on seven by England left-arm seamer Tash Farrant.
Bates helped New Zealand to 45-0 before she was bowled by Farrant (1-34), who had reacted to seeing Bates swat her previous delivery, an errant knuckleball, to the fence by coming around the wicket and knocking back middle and leg stumps.
That wicket would have made Farrant feel a lot better with the seamer also having fluffed the chance to run out New Zealand skipper Sophie Devine (35), who had played second fiddle to Bates, on four at the bowler’s end.
Bates’ exit triggered a drop in the run rate, with New Zealand only able to muster two boundaries off the bat – both from Devine – between overs eight and 16, during which time leg-spinner Sarah Glenn reeled off four overs for 20 runs and there was a brief floodlight failure.
Glenn had Satterthwaite (13) caught in the deep by the returning Katherine Brunt, while Sophie Ecclestone (1-30) bowled Devine through the gate as the visiting captain looked to whip leg-side.
New Zealand were 94-3 with four overs remaining but Green then struck back-to-back boundaries off Farrant in the 17th and when she was out in the 18th – caught brilliantly up close to the stumps by England wicketkeeper Jones as she tried to uppercut a Sciver bouncer – Martin and Halliday added 36 runs from the final 14 balls.
Wyatt’s three boundaries in row off Jess Kerr in the sixth over of the chase had England at 40-1 after the powerplay – Tammy Beaumont having departed for a sluggish three from 11 balls – but two wickets in as many balls in the seventh rocked the home side.
First, Sciver (2) holed out off Kasperek at deep midwicket, before Wyatt then hacked the next delivery – a drag down, in truth – to deep square as her innings, which featured six fours and six, was cut off 23rd ball.
Knight rallied England, firstly alongside Jones and then, when Jones dragged Kasperek onto her stumps with 48 runs required, with Dunkley.
The game was in England’s grasp and despite New Zealand coming back into it as Knight drilled Devine to Bates at mid-off and Satterthwaite bowled Bouchier and then limited the hosts to three runs from the next three balls, Dunkley delivered the decisive blow.
Watch the first one-day international between England and New Zealand live on Sky Sports Cricket from 12.30pm on Thursday, September 16.