Beaumont, Knight sweep New Zealand away in series opener
Fifties from Tammy Beaumont and Heather Knight helped England romp home to an easy eight-wicket win after a collective bowling performance restricted New Zealand at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Tuesday (February 23).
Chasing 179 to win, England started sedately scoring only 12 from the first four overs, but Beaumont opened up with a few boundaries through the off-side. Danielle Wyatt also chipped in with a couple of boundaries. As the pair was looking good for more, England lost Wyatt when she hit Hayley Jensen straight to Amy Satterthwaite at cover.
In the company of Knight, Beaumont continued playing her shots, employing various sweeps and occasionally cutting the New Zealand bowlers to find boundary at regular intervals. At the other end, Knight launched Frances Mackay over long-off for a big six. Beaumont survived two LBW appeals before sweeping debutant Fran Jonas for a couple of boundaries to bring up her fifty from 67 balls.
Post her fifty, Beaumont opened up even further and punished whenever New Zealand erred slightly. She first smashed a Hannah Rowe half-volley over mid-off before scooping her through fine-leg for four. The hosts had no answers as Beaumont moved around the crease to access various areas in the ground.
However, just as it looked like Beaumont and Knight will take England past the target without any further loss as they added 94 runs for the second wicket, Lea Tahuhu returned to nick the opener behind the wicket for a well-made 71 off 86.
That turned out to be just a minor hiccup for the visitors as Knight brought up her fifty from 58 balls with a boundary and a single off Tahuhu. She then slog swept Jonas for back-to-back fours before Sciver smashed Amelia Kerr through cover for a boundary to take England to an easy eight-wicket win. This was New Zealand’s tenth consecutive loss in ODIs starting from 2019.
Earlier, opting to bat, New Zealand openers were off to a contrasting start. While Jensen, promoted to open the batting, smashed a few fours, Natalie Dodd struggled to get a move on. Jensen stayed on the leg-side off the ball and cut Katherine Brunt and Natasha Farrant through point for boundaries. Dodd’s innings eventually came to an end when Brunt bounced her out for a 24-ball eight. New Zealand were reduced to 34 for 2 when they lost Satterthwaite to a soft dismissal when the left-hander chipped Natasha Farrant straight to Sciver at cover.
Jensen, in the company of skipper Sophie Devine, continued playing her shots as she peppered the off-side with a few cuts as England bowlers provided her with some width. But the 39-run partnership was broken when Devine top-edged a pull for 16. Jensen brought up her maiden ODI fifty from 53 balls with a single off Sarah Glenn in the 22nd over.
However, Jensen departed in Glenn’s next over when she chopped it onto the stumps trying to cut the leg-spinner. Soon New Zealand found themselves at 104 for 5 when Amelia Kerr became the first ODI wicket of Freya Davies when she hit one straight to mid-off.
Kerr’s dismissal brought debutant Brooke Halliday to the crease. The southpaw started confidently smashing Sophie Ecclestone for a boundary through long-on and then drove Knight for a four past deep extra-cover. But she lost her senior partner Katey Martin in the same over when the wicket-keeper hit one straight to long-on.
The troubles didn’t end there for New Zealand as Ecclestone struck twice in consecutive balls to leave them scraping the barrel. At the other end, Halliday continued her impressive knock and scored a couple of more boundaries before bringing up her fifty from 54 balls. But she was dismissed in the same delivery when she went for an ill-advised second run and New Zealand were bowled out for 178 from 45.1 overs.
For England, Farrant and Ecclestone finished with figures of 2 for 31 and 2 for 36 respectively, while five other bowlers took one wicket each.
Brief scores: New Zealand: 178/10 in 45.1 overs (Hayley Jensen 53, Brooke Halliday 50; Natasha Farrant 2/31, Sophie Ecclestone 2/36) lost to England: 179/3 in 33.4 overs (Tammy Beaumont 71, Heather Knight 67*) by eight wickets. POTM: Tammy Beaumont