Adam Collins' match report
So there we go - join us for the aforementioned, and everything else that’s going on in between. Enjoy the rest of your evening. Ta-ra.
That was a fine all-round performance from England. They bowled well enough, caught superbly (at times) and batted with confidence and control. It will take a mighty effort for New Zealand to beat them in Sunday’s final.
ENGLAND BEAT NEW ZEALAND BY SEVEN WICKETS
16th over: England 130-3 (Sciver 39, Knight 24) Target 130 Jensen returns, and her medium drops right into Knight’s slot; she swings freely through the line for a one-bounce four down the ground, then works off her pads for four more and pierces the offside between point and extra cover for yet another four! Two required, and one comes to midwicket, then Sciver drives down the ground, and that has morphed into that!
15th over: England 116-3 (Sciver 38, Knight 11) Target 130 Katie George is in commentary, talking about how she honed her skills in India: deciding which was her best ball, then trying to deliver it six times out of six. She then reveals that Sophie Ecclestone is the most annoying member of the squad, while out in the middle, four singles mean that England are nearly there.
14th over: England 112-3 (Sciver 36, Knight 9) Target 130 Bates comes back and Knight tries a drive then a pull, just about connecting with the latter. But she’s ready when some width arrives, cutting hard to point fence - her feet moved beautifully to set that up - and then the same shot earns four more, but that was all hands. England are going at 8 but need 3.
13th over: England 104-3 (Sciver 36, Knight 1) Target 130 Taylor’s bottom hand really is a thing of beauty but it’s been taken from us, for tonight at least.
WICKET! Taylor st Martin b Kerr 51 (England 103-3)
A minor taste of own medicine; Taylor dances down, misses, and Martin takes well. With the required rate down to 3.62 it’s hard to see how it’ll matter.
12th over: England 100-2 (Taylor 50, Sciver 34) Target 130 You do not want to do that. Broadmore, on for her first spell, gives Taylor one on her legs which she easily turns for four to square leg. So she tries outside off, only to find a big bottom hand waiting for her, arranging four more to midwicket. She’s making this look so easy, and a single then raises her fifty.
11th over: England 90-2 (Taylor 41, Sciver 33) Target 130 This is brilliant from England, and with Kerr returning, Taylor dances down to whack her over the top for four. She responds well, ceding just a single from her next four balls ... but her final one is a full toss, and though Sciver doesn’t get all of it, the placement between cover and mid off, sees is reach the fence.
10th over: England 81-2 (Taylor 36, Sciver 29) Target 130 New Zealand know that they need to act now, so Watkin and her golden arm return. So the batters are circumspect, until Taylor lifts to wide long on and Rowe chases, misfields, dives over the rope, tries to pull the ball back and hits her own leg with it. The umpires go upstairs, and video confirms that it’s four.
9th over: England 74-2 (Taylor 30, Sciver 28) Target 130 Rowe returns for her second spell and after Sciver takes a single, Taylor scoops two over her head - there’s a fielder there, who isn’t somewhere else. Such is Sarah Taylor, who then stays where she is and whacks four over mid on - just over mid on. Then she moves across her stumps to find the gap at deep square, bringing Sciver onto strike, who skips down the track and cracks four more down the ground. New Zealand haven’t looked like getting anything here, and the required rate is now 5.23.
8th over: England 62-2 (Taylor 23, Sciver 23) Target 130 Danni Wyatt is with the commentators and talks about her batting in Australia as giving her the confidence to start whacking it. Meanwhile, out in the middle, England milk Kerr’s first over, scoring off every ball, four ones and two twos the sum of things. New Zealand need something pretty much immediately, because Sciver is finding the middle; if she stays in, expect her to start missing the fielders shortly.
7th over: England 54-2 (Taylor 21, Sciver 17) Target 130 England are making this look pretty easy for the now. A couple of singles and a bye, then Sciver chops one off her stumps for a fine four before, next ball, a leg side full toss is helped around the corner to the fence, and rightly so. The required rate is now 5.84; England are scoring at 7.71.
6th over: England 43-2 (Taylor 20, Sciver 8) Target 130 After two singles, Sciver steps deep into her crease and clumps Watkin through the covers for four; not so easy after all, this international cricket. Two more singles follow, and England are chugging along nicely now.
“I think changing the women’s game away from the men’s (smaller pitches, smaller balls - the women’s balls are, or used to be, lighter in any case) is not productive”, reckons Ravi Nair. “The strength is coming, as it has done in the batting.”
I’m no expert but I’m not sure about this - batting can be helped with kit, and is also a lot about timing. Maybe bowling is about whip more than strength, I’m not sure, but the pace will never be as intense with a 22-yard track.
5th over: England 35-2 (Taylor 18, Sciver 2) Target 130 A single apiece, then Taylor decides it’s time. She top-edges a reverse for two, then flicks one off her legs, misfielded by Amelia Kerr. New Zealand will be desperate to break this partnership because the combined knowhow is enough to power a city.
4th over: England 22-2 (Taylor 11, Sciver 1) Target 130 Taylor pushes to long on and dashes through for a second run. Three singles follow, which will do England, their current run rate 6.75 and the required rate 6.43. But these two will do well to play sensibly - I’m sure they will - because that’ll be enough, despite the temptation to blaze it out of sight. There does not seem to be much prospect of an unplayable delivery.
WICKET! Beaumont c Bates b Watkin 11 (England 22-2)
What a start for Watkin! Again, it’s not a great ball so Beaumont is entitled to go for it, but given the low total, was it necessary? She doesn’t middle her drive, and is easily caught at mid off.
3rd over: England 22-1 (Beaumont11, Taylor 7) Target 130 Jensen into the attack, and Taylor wastes no time in welcoming her, reverse-sweeping her loosener for four. a single then follows before Beaumont cracks down the ground for four. She’s picking length so well, and when she goes, she’s not leaving anything out.
“Ouch,” tweets Ravi Nair. “Wyatt’s relatively poor run with the bat continues. She is so good, or has been over the last year, that I hope she gets over this quickly. We need her at her best.”
Joy of playing in a good team, I guess. You can fail a few times because your mates will sort you out. Fail in a struggling one and you’re out as soon as you’re in.
2nd over: England 12-1 (Beaumont 6, Taylor 2) Target 130 Back on the smaller pitch point, another idea offered is a smaller ball, which will do more off the pitch and be especially helpful for spinners, an activity much aided by large hands - and kids. Anyway, Taylor gets off the mark with a single, Beaumont adds one, Taylor responds, and then Beaumont cracks a cut for the first boundary of the innings. Beaumont is looking so confident, as you’d expect of someone having the summer she’s having.
WICKET! Wyatt c Bates b Watkin 2 (England 5-2)
Watkin gets a wicket with her first ball! It’s not a very good one, right in the slot for Wyatt, but she doesn’t get under it so though she cracks it hard enough, Bates is able to take a very useful high catch at mid off.
1st over: England 5-0 (Wyatt 2, Beaumont 1) Target 130 Rowe will open, and Wyatt immediately drives her for one, then Beaumont slices across one which doesn’t quite carry to Devine at point. Wyatt then drives to mid off and they scramble a single - direct hit and she’s struggling - before consecutive leg-side wides make this a useful start. The required rate is 6.57.
Right, the players are back with us - here we go!
“Huzzah!” returns Ravi Nair. “A stumping, a catch, a run out, an lbw (four actually) and now a bowled. A full hand of the major dismissal methods.”
Aaaaaas I was just about to say, of course. Can’t believe we missed out on a hit ball twice.
“Sorry, this match is too exciting for me to tweet anything clever or insightful at you,” excuses Ravi Nair. “Is the pitch misbehaving? I’d have thought it would be dry and, at most, a touch dusty.”
Yes, it’s a little slow and dry, but the outfield is sharp.
England caught brilliantly there, far better than in much of this series. The bowling was good rather than great, but with Suzie Bates gone in the first over, that was plenty for New Zealand - Sophie Devine batted really well, her partnership with Amy Satterthwaite the only time New Zealand got on top, but once that was done, England did a fine job of keeping her off strike, and would expect to chase down 130 pretty much every time.
WICKET! Devine c Sciver b Shrubsole 52 (New Zealand 129 all out)
Sophie Devine will not be the first women to carry her bat in a T20 international ... but what a catch it takes to ruin it for her! Seeing wickets tumble while she stands at the wrong end, she heaves to square leg and gets a good piece of it, but running around the rope, Sciver floats into a perfectly-timed leap, snaffling the snaffle and that’s that! Three wickets for Shrubsole, not enough runs for New Zealand.
18th over: New Zealand 129-9 (Devine 50, Jensen 0) New Zealand are well short here, failing a monstrous finish.
WICKET! Broadmore b Brunt 0 (New Zealand 129-9)
England have done a fantastic job starving Devine of the strike, such that her partners feel obliged to whack. Broadmore, who has only faced one ball, makes room, misses, and Brunt clatters her off peg with a cross-seamer.
WICKET! Bezeidenhout run out (Wyatt) 6 (New Zealand 128-8)
Devine hit to midwicket and Wyatt gathered, throwing to the bowler’s end where Brunt grabbed very well to break the stumps. Bezeidenhout’s dive was a good one but they went upstairs and gone she was - though Wyatt was rebuked by Brunt for looping in on the full instead of chucking hard on the bounce.
17th over: New Zealand 127-7 (Devine 50, Bezuidenhout 6) Three singles and then Bezuidenhout comes well out of her crease to glance four through third man - that was very nicely done. Two more singles follow, and that’s the nine off the over that New Zealand need to get a par-ish total.
16th over: New Zealand 118-7 (Devine 47, Bezuidenhout 0) Two wickets off the over, and that might prove to be when the match turned irrevocably towards England.
Rowe lbw b Hazell 0 (New Zealand 118-7)
Rowe goes down on one knee to hump across the line but there’s no width to facilitate that. So she misses, Hazell hits, and she’s on her bike. It’s all collapsing around Devine, who desperately needs to get herself on strike.
WICKET! Kerr lbw b Hazell 5 (New Zealand 118-6)
Heather Knight brings cover up so Kerr is forced to sweep when she needed to drive. She misses, takes it on the pad, and there she goes.
16th over: New Zealand 118-5 (Devine 47, Kerr 5) Kerr’s only 19 but she knows how to hit the thing and helps herself to four through midwicket from the first ball of Hazell’s spell.
15th over: New Zealand 114-5 (Devine 47, Kerr 1) Kerr takes a single, then Devine hammers four to square leg. It’s not all on her, but it’s maionly on her.
WICKET! Watkin st Taylor b Sciver 16 (New Zealand 109-5)
Sarah Taylor is a genius, what more do you want to know. Sciver sends down a wide, Watkin chases it, and as she moves Taylor already knows what’s coming next, anticipating the miss and whipping off the bails for the 50th stumping of her career.
15th over: New Zealand 109-4 (Devine 43, Watkin 16) Both sides are nicely set as Nat Sciver has a turn and after Devine adds one, Watkin goes again. She gets two into the off side then looks to go over the top to square leg ... but George is underneath it ... but she misjudges it and finishes short.
14th over: New Zealand 103-4 (Devine 42, Watkin 12) Ecclestone returns and Watkin looks to have a zetz immediately, missing the first ball and almost missing the second. But then she moves right across to leg and gives herself plenty of room to sweep four to deep backward; stands and delivers, whacking through cover for four; twinkles down the ground, lifting four over midwicket! That is a proper showreel of shots and a lesson in how to play SLA.
WICKET! Green c Jones b Shrubsole 2 (New Zealand 91-4)
You can tell a team’s condition by its catching, and this is a ripper! Green goes down the ground, but Jones comes around from long on, sets herself, and dives to take a tumbler! Brilliant!
13th over: New Zealand 91-3 (Devine 42, Green 2) Shrubsole returns and is milked for five singles...
WICKET! Satterthwaite lbw b George 37 (New Zealand 86-3)
Katie George has her first wicket for England! Satterthwaite heaves across the line once too often, misses, and is plumb. Still, 15 off the over and Devine is still in the middle.
12th over: New Zealand 86-2 (Devine 39, Satterthwaite 37) Heather Knight wants a wicket so hands George the ball, who directs fielders around the park then delivers a wide followed by width; her second delivery is duly carted over extra cover for four before a single brings Satterthwaite on strike, also raising the 50 partnership. There’s not that much wrong with what comes next - I guess it’s a bit full - and Devine deals with it, driving four. So George tries a slower ball, into the pitch, and somehow Devine, with one hand, forces it over mid off after which it trickles over the fence. So England put out a deep midwicket and Devine cuts a single...
11th over: New Zealand 71-2 (Devine 30, Satterthwaite 32) Yes they can! Ecclestone is back on. But in the meantime Hazell continues and I wonder if New Zealand might look to make hay; if Devine starts getting involved England have a problem, and there she goes, driving four over the bowler’s head with consummate ease and impeccable technique. Ecclestone then saves three with a dive, another single follows it, and this is nicely set up for both thrash and contest.
10th over: New Zealand 64-2 (Devine 25, Satterthwaite 30) Satterthwaite swipes across the line and gets two to backward square, then cracks Brunt back over her head for a one-bounce four to long on. This is excellent batting, this, is this, this is, considered risks and committing to shots. Two more come to long on, the two singles and a leg bye - England need a wicket, and can’t call upon its likeliest provider.
Stokes will only play as a batsman in that first match.
9th over: New Zealand 53-2 (Devine 25, Satterthwaite 20) In commentary, they’re discussing whether the pitch in women’s cricket should be shortened, and I can see the sense. Women’s reactions are every bit as good as men’s, but they can’t bowl as fast, so such a change would add that element. The problem, though, is practical - where would these pitches be? If they’re shared with men, are there going to be footmarks in strange places? Two twos and two ones from the over, and this is now a partnership. As such, England bring back Brunt...
8th over: New Zealand 43-2 (Devine 22, Satterthwaite 17) Can New Zealand take advantage of the situation? Knight brings herself on and immediately there’s an appeal for lb, but the ball looked to pitch outside. Devine then pinches a single before Satterthwaite pulls two to square leg, reverse-sweeps four, and then gives a full toss what it deserves, helping it around the corner to the fine leg fence. 11 from the over and New Zealand are starting to move.
Ecclestone looks ok but is helped off, and Jenny Gun replaces her.
Gosh, Sophie Ecclestone has gone down and looks in a lot of trouble. She came in to field, threw the ball back, and as she turned to return to her spot, the ankle turned slightly. The physio is on attending to her.
7th over: New Zealand 36-2 (Devine 21, Satterthwaite 7) Hazell’s off breaks arrive, and after Satterthwaite takes a single, Devine drives back at her hard ... Hazell gets down to it, but can’t quite get her hands to it. Tough chance, but a chance nonetheless, as we see that second appeal for lb was out. Four singles from the over.
6th over: New Zealand 32-2 (Devine 19, Satterthwaite 5) Ecclestone nails Satterthwaite first ball with one going on with the arm ... it hits the pad and looks good to me, but the umpire says no. So Satterthwaite opts to attack, dragging the next delivery from outside off to the square leg fence, and adds a single thereafter.
WICKET! Martin lbw b Ecclestone 8 (New Zealand 27-2)
Ecclestone is in the zone. Four wickets last time out, her second delivery is quick and straight, so Martin looks to pull and misses, taking it on the hip. The finger is quickly applied and New Zealand are in a situation.
5th over: New Zealand 26-1 (Devine 18, Martin 8) Shrubsole returns and immediately serves one on the pads, clipped to backward square with minimum effort and maximum prejudice. A dot follows, but then a lovely drive to wide long on adds four more; asingle is all that the final three deliveries of the over yield, but England will already be fancying the back of Devine, who’s seeing it. Nine from the over.
4th over: New Zealand 17-1 (Devine 9, Martin 8) George continues, as Mark Butcher muses on the decent score, settling on the average in women’s internationals, 162. Anyway, Devine swats one to wide mid off, then Martin smears four to square leg - she chucked everything at that and was duly rewarded.
3rd over: New Zealand11-1 (Devine 8, Martin 4) Brunt takes over from Shrubsole - I think we know what she thinks about dead rubbers, i.e. there’s no such thing. Martin takes her first ball for two down the ground, and after adding a single to square leg, cuts beautifully through point - she was cramped but still managed to get the ball away. A single then follows, and that’s much better from New Zealand.
2nd over: New Zealand 4-1 (Devine 3, Martin 1) 19-year-old Katie George opens from the other end, and what’s this?! Sarah Taylor misses another chance and this one was a legit drop! Devine, cramped, tries to hit her way out of trouble, and this one’s a routine edge that somehow doesn’t stick! Even geniuses are fallible! George, meanwhile, is charging in and the left-arm angle is proving hard to get away so far. Two singles are all the over yields, though Beaumont had to make a decent stop on the long on fence to save a boundary.
1st over: New Zealand 2-1 (Devine 1, Martin 0) The batters crossed, so Devine nudges another single.
WICKET! Bates c Jones b Shrubsole 0 (New Zealand 1-1)
England get the biggun right away! Bates is in great nick, so when Shrubsole gives her one on the pads she goes after it, hoisting to deep square leg without quite getting all of it, and after the crowd falls silent, Amy Jones hangs on diving forward. That cannot have been a pleasant experience.
1st over: New Zealand 1-0 (Devine 1, Bates 0) Devine has a fence at Shrubsole’s leg-cutter, imparting an edge ... enough of one to beat even Sarah Taylor. Bates then middles one beautifully, only to pick out Ecclestone at mid off...
Here comes Shrubsole...
The pitch, apparently, is dry, which will help Sophie Ecclestone, England’s left-arm spinner. New Zealand will need to get after her, or at least not give it away against her, if they’re to win. It’s just so hard to look beyond England’s confidence, though, which is why it’s hard to complacency creeping in though this game doesn’t have meaning beyond itself; itself is plenty.
Incidentally - well, not really incidentally - New Zealand’s win earlier today was powered by Suzie Bates, who scored 62, and Sophie Devine who scored 68 not out. The question now is are their eyes in, or are they tired? Strange old thing, these double-headers and not really fair regardless of the answer.
England, meanwhile, make one change from Monday’s hiding of ... New Zealand: George replaces Farrant.
New Zealand make three changes from this afternoon’s match, all of them down the order: out go Petersen, Kasperek and Tahuhu; in come Rowe, Bezuidenhout and Watkin.
New Zealand have won the toss and elected to bat
I doubt England mind too much. They have the firepower to chase down any total, and it’s getting dark so late these days that the dusk is unlikely to be much of a factor.
Earlier today, New Zealand mashed up South Africa, chasing down 148 in 15.2 overs. That took both them and England into Sunday’s final.
Morning everyone. For the best part of a generation, it was tennis with a bit of MMA; until recently it was darts; and now, it might just be women’s cricket. I’m talking, of course, about the most exciting sport in the world, by which I mean played to the highest standard relative to itself and competitive as possible at the top. The best teams are all good enough to beat one another, all are improving rapidly, and all are playing the game with joy and fire ... things are good.
But, for now at least, there is still a hierarchy, and England are just about at its top. These teams will meet in Sunday’s final regardless of what happens today, though do not expect them to ease off; that is not what is done, and there is smack to be laid down. There will be no mucking about.
Play: 5.40pm BST