Patchy New Zealand aim to come back strong against dominant England

Sophie Devine celebrates with her New Zealand team-mates. © Getty Images

The last time New Zealand won a match in the ODI format, they ended an 11-match losing streak in the third ODI against England at home. Amelia Kerr took four wickets to bowl England out for 220. Amy Satterthwaite scored her seventh ODI century to deny the visitors a whitewash. 

However, they could not stop Australia’s winning run in the home series and went down 0-3 against the number one ranked side. Now, with a home World Cup scheduled in less than six months, New Zealand has to find a way to gain some momentum going into the global event.

As Satterthwaite admitted in the post-match press conference after their 36-run defeat in the first ODI, New Zealand were good in patches throughout the match. They were able to break the solid opening partnership of 44 runs between Tammy Beaumont and Lauren Winfield-Hill. Pacers Lea Tahuhu and Jess Kerr dismantled the consistent English middle order. 

New Zealand had reduced England to 140 for five. However, their tactics against England skipper Heather Knight and Katherine Brunt did not bear fruit as the pair added 88 runs for the sixth wicket, taking England to a competitive total. 

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Reflecting on tactics against the pair, Katey Martin said that they were defensive with the ball in the final stages of the innings. “We probably bowled a little bit soft to both (Knight and Brunt) of them. For us, if we can continue to take wickets throughout, that will give us the best chance of restricting the score and gave us a good chance with the bat,” she said in the pre-match press conference on Saturday (September 18).

New Zealand would be keen to execute their plans with the balls to perfection in the second ODI as they would not want to go into the third fixture with the series on the line. 

In the batting department, they struggled to score against Brunt and Natalie Sciver in the powerplay. The first ten overs yielded only 17 runs as Brunt bowled four maidens on the trot. Though Satterthwaite stretched their innings till the 47th over, it just delayed the inevitable for the visitors. 

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Martin felt that losing wickets in clusters is a problem they need to address, adding, “for us, we do have a specific game plan around setting the game up. We did that reasonably well (in the first ODI), but the (required) run rate was at 6 (runs per over) odd. We do have that depth, but we do want to be able to set up the game to do that.”

For England, Knight’s return to the team would have been a big confidence booster after missing the first two T20Is. She was able to rescue the innings but had very little support from the middle-order. As many as six batters couldn’t cross double-digit scores. 

England’s middle-order has been consistent over the last year or so. However, slip-ups like these could help the opposition to restrict them for a below-par score. They will head into ODI World Cup as the defending champions and would want to find a way to put up 250+ scores consistently while batting first. 

Sciver and Brunt were brilliant with the new ball in the absence of Anya Shrubsole. Sophie Ecclestone was excellent in the middle overs as she removed the hard-hitting Martin and Brooke Halliday off consecutive deliveries. With a debutant Charlotte Dean in the mix, England will have to deal with the problem of plenty in the bowling attack.

Will England continue their dominance over struggling New Zealand, or can the visitors bounce back to register their first win in the series?

Squads:

England: Heather Knight (c), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Kate Cross, Freya Davies, Charlie Dean, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Natasha Farrant, Sarah Glenn, Amy Jones, Natalie Sciver, Anya Shrubsole, Lauren Winfield-Hill, Danielle Wyatt

New Zealand: Sophie Devine (c), Amy Satterthwaite, Suzie Bates, Lauren Down, Claudia Green, Maddy Green, Brooke Halliday, Hayley Jensen, Jess Kerr, Katey Martin (wk), Leigh Kasperek, Molly Penfold, Jessica McFadyen (wk), Thamsyn Newton, Hannah Rowe, Lea Tahuhu