Tahuhu, Green star for New Zealand as Brunt’s all-round effort goes in vain

Lea Tahuhu (L), Maddy Green and Katherine Brunt (R) © Getty Images

Maddy Green stood solid in a nervous chase and Lea Tahuhu capped her magnificent day off with a flurry of shots to help New Zealand came back in the five-match ODI series with a win in the third ODI at the Grace Road in Leicester on Tuesday (September 21). Earlier, Tahuhu rocked England’s boat with her lethal bowling as she took her maiden five-wicket haul in international cricket. On the other hand, Katherine Brunt’s valiant effort – she first scored an unbeaten 49 and then took a four-wicket haul – went in vain.

Opting to bowl, although Tahuhu strayed down the leg-side with the first delivery to concede a boundary to Lauren Winfield-Hill, she was immaculate through the England innings with her line and length. She wasn’t her usual fast self as she ditched speed for accuracy and bowled straight, getting the the ball to swing late both ways to trouble the batters.

In her second over, 30-year-old Tahuhu was rewarded with the wicket of Tammy Beaumont early when she got one to come in to trap the England opener in front. New Zealand got the decision in their favour after they chose to review the umpire’s verdict. Soon Tahuhu got another similar wicket as she sent Winfield-Hill back for four.

Heather Knight and Amy Jones started promisingly with early boundaries, but with Tahuhu getting one to go the other way, England skipper nicked it to Katey Martin behind the stumps. The hosts found themselves in further trouble as the New Zealand pacer castled Sophia Dunkley to leave them at 27 for four.

Jones looked in good touch during her stay as she added three more fours to her kitty. But she became Molly Penfold’s maiden international wicket when she played back to a fuller inswinging delivery to be bowled for 21. The debutant struck again to remove Danielle Wyatt with England score reading 59 for six in 17 overs.

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Meanwhile, Tahuhu came back to dismiss Charlotte Taylor for ten to take her maiden five-wicket haul in international cricket. From 78 for seven, it was down to the lower order to rescue England with all the recognised batters back in the hut. Brunt ditched her usual aggressive self and played a patient knock with other bowlers giving her company.

Brunt hit her first boundary off Tahuhu through point and added another one off Penfold as she took England over the three-figure mark in the company of Sophie Ecclestone. But immediately after the drinks break, Leigh Kasperek gave New Zealand the breakthrough when she sent the left-arm spinner back for eight with the score reading 101 for eight. At that stage, it looked like England would fold for a score under 120.

However, Brunt and Kate Cross had other ideas as New Zealand once again found it difficult to dislodge England lower order batters. Cross was the aggressor of the two, hitting Tahuhu for a couple of boundaries in her final over before driving Kasperek for another. The visitors leaked boundaries through the off-side with Cross finding one more four off Hayley Jensen. Brunt joined the action and took England over the 150-run mark as the duo brought up the fifty-run stand in the 42nd over.

Eventually New Zealand managed to break the partnership when Kasperek deflected the ball onto the stumps at the non-striking end with Cross finding herself out of the crease. Natasha Farrant continued from her innings in the second ODI and the last pair added another 24 runs to frustrate the visitors further. England were finally bowled out for 178 in the 49th over with Jensen getting Farrant, leaving Brunt one short of her half-century.

For New Zealand, Tahuhu finished with figures of 37 for five while Penfold took two wickets giving away 42 runs in her impressive spell.

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In the chase, New Zealand had a terrible start losing both openers with only 13 runs on the board. Suzie Bates and Lauren Down found it difficult to get going. Despite a boundary, the former couldn’t rotate the strike and was eventually castled by Brunt for five off 19. In the seventh over, Down was caught at point by Beaumont to become Brunt’s second wicket of the day.

From there, Green and Amy Satterthwaite needed to steady the innings to get the chase back on track. The southpaw started positively with two boundaries against Brunt with her trademark drives through the off-side and Green hit her first four in the next over bowled by Farrant. The duo hit Cross for a boundary each as well to take New Zealand’s score over fifty.

With the spinners bowling in tandem, Satterthwaite took on Ecclestone while Green hit a couple of fours against Dean. Just when it looked like the pair will stay firm, Satterthwaite walked back to the pavilion with a soft dismissal off Dean as she found Eccelstone at mid-off for 33.

With the match in the balance, Knight brought back her strike bowler Brunt in search of the big wicket of Sophie Devine. The right-arm pacer started with a maiden and went on to castle the New Zealand skipper when she played an ill-advised pull off a fuller length ball.

From 94 for four with all the three experienced batters gone, it was down to Green and she found an excellent partner in Brooke Halliday. The left-hander smashed Ecclestone for a couple of boundaries before pulling Farrant for a four. Meanwhile, Green brought up her second fifty – she has one ODI century against Ireland – and her first fifty-plus score in 17 innings from 81 balls.

The pair looked on course to chase down England’s target as they took the score to 146, but yet again New Zealand dug a hole for themselves with Halliday playing around a straighter one from Farrant. Soon they lost out-of-form Martin for just two.

When Brunt returned for her last two overs, she had Jensen adjudged LBW for two with New Zealand still needing 21 runs from 46 balls. But with Brunt finishing her spell – her figures read 10-2-22-4 -, Tahuhu hit a few big blows while Green stayed firm to take New Zealand home. Tahuhu finished her splendid day in style with two boundaries and a match-winning six off Farrant to remain not out on 19 off 15. Green was solid at the other end with an unbeaten 70 off 106 balls.

Brief Scores: England 178/10 in 48.3 overs (Katherine Brunt 49, Kate Cross 29; Lea Tahuhu 5/37, Molly Penfold 2/42) lost to New Zealand (Maddy Green 70*, Amy Satterthwaite 33; Katherine Brunt 4/22) by 3 wickets POTM: Maddy Green