England’s Katherine Brunt a local hero in ruthless ODI defeat of New Zealand

• First ODI: England 290-5; New Zealand 148
• Brunt’s hit gets biggest cheer as England win by 142 runs

England got the three-match series against New Zealand off to the perfect start with a 142-run win on Saturday, in the first women’s ODI to be staged at Headingley.

Half-centuries from Amy Jones and Heather Knight at both ends of the England innings took the home side to 290 for five – their highest ODI total against New Zealand – after they won the toss and chose to bat first. In reply New Zealand slumped to 148 in 33.5 overs, Nat Sciver and Laura Marsh chiming in with three wickets apiece.

Sciver, who was the player of the match for her contribution, which included 37 runs, said: “It was a pretty good performance all round. We knew we needed to get through that middle order and make sure we were always on top. We wanted to be clinical and ruthless and we were.”

For New Zealand it was the same old story, the loss of Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine in consecutive overs sparking a collapse after the pair had taken the score to 50 without loss after the first 10.

Both were lucky to last as long as they did, Bates surviving a big appeal for caught behind when on 13 and Sciver putting down an easy Devine catch at midwicket, both off the bowling of the unlucky Katie George on her ODI debut.

George, though, got her name in the scorebook with a wonderful diving catch at mid-off from the bowling of Sciver to send Bates back to the pavilion, only six balls after an equally brilliant snaffle by Sophie Ecclestone in the same position to see off Devine. George also wrapped up England’s clinical bowling display, trapping Holly Huddleston lbw – the last wicket to go after New Zealand lost seven wickets for only 45 runs.

England’s innings had got off to a flier as Jones and Tammy Beaumont put on 111 for the first wicket, the pair punishing some short, wayward bowling from the New Zealand pace attack. Of the two, Jones was dominant, reaching her first international half-century on home soil in 56 balls while Beaumont, playing second fiddle at the other end, still had only 25 to her name.

Beaumont never looked quite at home at the crease, lucky to survive an lbw shout to the 17-year-old leg-spinner Amelia Kerr which would have been hitting middle stump when on 23, and her stay was ended when she top-edged a Lea Tahuhu bouncer to Katey Martin behind the stumps on 40.

Kerr, whose figures of two for 36 from 10 overs were the pick of a bowling attack that otherwise leaked runs, then worked her magic to get rid of Jones, who had looked comfortably on course for a big score, as she was stumped coming down the pitch. Four overs later Sarah Taylor departed, bamboozled by Kerr’s googly for the second time in six days, leaving England on 148 for three. Kerr followed up by bowling the only maiden of the England innings.

New Zealand failed to sustain the pressure, allowing Sciver and Katherine Brunt to score at a run-a-ball as both shared half-century stands with the captain Knight – 76 runs coming from the last 10 overs. Ultimately it was Brunt’s innings which received the heartiest cheers from the 2,100-strong crowd as the Barnsley bowler-turned-all rounder slogged her way to an unbeaten 30.

“It was about building partnerships and making sure that we were there for a period of time, and still remaining positive with our intent to score,” Sciver said. “The wicket got a bit slow in the middle overs so we needed to manoeuvre the ball and test the field a little bit. It’s something we work on in the nets, so why not play it in the game?”

The series continues at Derby on Tuesday.


Raf Nicholson at Headingley

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