England cantered to a seven-wicket win in the T20 tri-series final, stamping their dominance in the format before the Women’s World T20 in November.
The 19-year-old Sophie Ecclestone was named player of the series, having chimed in with two wickets as New Zealand were restricted to 137 for nine, while the England openers Danni Wyatt and Tammy Beaumont were clinical in the ensuing run-chase with Wyatt hitting a 35-ball half-century. The win came with 17 balls to spare.
New Zealand had opened the bowling with spin at each end in an attempt to stall the England chase, but the pair picked off the attack with ease, racking up 77 runs in the first 10 overs.
Beaumont’s 35 made her the leading series run-scorer while, in a spectacular return to form, Wyatt dispatched to the boundary five of the eight bowlers used by New Zealand, hitting the only six of the innings and bringing up her half-century with a slog-sweep through midwicket.
For England the only nervous moment came in the 13th over when the 17-year-old leg-spinner Amelia Kerr took two wickets in two balls to see off both Beaumont and Sarah Taylor; but a 39-run partnership between Nat Sciver and Heather Knight saw them over the line without further trouble.
Knight, England’s captain, praised her team for the way they approached the must-win match: “We don’t get to practice finals very often and with the World T20 coming up, the calmness about the group and the way we chased down the total with ease are really good signs for us.”
Once again it was a collapse from the undercooked New Zealand middle order that cost them the chance to reach a par total as, after a 55-run opening partnership between Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine had been broken by Katherine Brunt, New Zealand lost eight wickets for 63 runs in 12.3 overs.
“The bowling has been the highlight,” Knight said. “It was a very good wicket today but the bowlers have been very consistent and we’ve executed our plans this series on different types of pitches.”
On Ecclestone, who bowled the perfect arm ball to take out Bates’s middle stump, Knight said she “gives us something different”, adding: “She’s very tall so gets some extra bounce. She’s matured a lot in the last year and become a lot more savvy with how she goes about her bowling.”