England thrash New Zealand to finish table toppers in Group B

England bowlers Brunt and Wong © Getty Images

Katherine Brunt’s fiery opening spell along with some disciplined bowling from Issy Wong and Sarah Glenn helped England finish as table toppers in Group B at the Commonwealth Games on Thursday (August 4). 

In the last match of the group stage at the Edgbaston Ground, New Zealand captain Sophie Devine won the toss and opted to bat first. England were unchanged from their win against South Africa, while New Zealand included Fran Jonas in place of Eden Carson. Brunt started the proceedings for England with the wicket of Devine for one in her first over. Amelia Kerr joined Suzie Bates early in the innings, but her stay didn’t last long as she became Brunt’s second wicket of the day. 

New Zealand were in desperate need of a partnership, but England captain Natalie Sciver introduced Wong’s pace. It didn’t take long for Wong to make her impact as she dismissed Bates for six. The pair of Maddy Green and Brooke Halliday survived the power play without any hiccups. At the end of it, New Zealand were struggling at 21 for three. It was not enough as they slumped even more when wicket-keeper Amy Jones ran Halliday out. 

Halfway through the first innings, New Zealand had half of their side back in the dugout with 35 runs on the board. Green tried to up the ante with two boundaries in Sciver’s second over of the match, but her patient knock didn’t last long after that. Sophie Ecclestone bowled the right-handed batter in the next over. New Zealand could not get any partnerships going as at one stage they lost four wickets for just 11 runs. Hannah Rowe remained unbeaten on ten and New Zealand posted 71 for nine in the first innings.

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England’s chase got off to a rocky start with the wicket of Danielle Wyatt in the first over. The right-hander missed a slog sweep and ended up giving Jonas her first T20I wicket for New Zealand in the first over. Young sensation and England’s highest run-scorer of the Commonwealth Games, Alice Capsey, joined Dunkley with a singular mission to take the game away from New Zealand. 

Capsey welcomed Lea Tahuhu with four boundaries in her first over as England got closer to the target. Dunkley got inspiration from the other end as she smashed two boundaries against Kerr as well. It looked like the pair would take England home, but Kerr added the twist to the tale with wickets of both Capsey and Dunkley. Those quick shocks came too little too late because, at that time, England only needed 26 runs to win.

The experienced duo of Sciver and Jones took matters into their own hands and took England to their third win of the Commonwealth Games. New Zealand will face Australia in the semi-final, while England will have to lock horns with India for the finals ticket.

Brief Scores: New Zealand 71/9 in 20 overs (Maddy Green 19; Katherine Brunt 2/4) lost to England 72/3 in 11.4 overs (Alice Capsey 23, Sophia Dunkley 19*; Amelia Kerr 2/27) by seven wickets