The idea that someone could play 199 internationals for England, score two Twenty20 international hundreds and yet never hit a one-day international half-century on home soil might seem implausible. But Danni Wyatt was a living embodiment of that statistic.
Brought into the XI after England chose to rest Katherine Brunt, Wyatt finally broke her drought at Worcester on Saturday against New Zealand, on the same day that she celebrated receiving her 200th England cap. She did so in style, dancing down the pitch to drive Hannah Rowe through cover to bring up the milestone before finishing on 63 not out.
Along the way, she shared a record stand of 51 runs with Tash Farrant (22 off 31 balls), England’s highest 10th-wicket partnership in ODIs. England had been 85 for five but the pair lifted their side’s total to 197.
Charlie Dean then raised her hand for World Cup selection this winter, taking four for 36 in only her second international. The 20-year-old helped England seal a 13-run victory and a 2-0 lead in the five-match series, with a little bit of aid from a bizarre DLS calculation.
With New Zealand 111 for four, 24 overs into their chase and 10 runs ahead on DLS, the game was hanging in the balance when both sides were forced off the field due to rain. An hour later, with the players back on, eight overs had been lost but the target had been reduced by just 15 runs.
Within four overs of the resumption two of New Zealand’s best hopes were back in the hutch. Sophie Devine, who had reached 28 courtesy of some sumptuous boundary-striking, was bowled through the gate by Nat Sciver, while Dean spun the ball behind Katey Martin and took out her off stump.
New Zealand’s tail had wagged in the first ODI on Thursday, though, and there was always the risk that might happen again. It was a six-over spell from Dean that shattered those hopes, as she seized three more quick wickets – Rowe and Leigh Kasperek were trapped plumb lbw, while the top scorer Brooke Halliday (29) was deceived into coming down the pitch and Dean had her stumped.
“It looked like they were on top and that rain break helped us a little bit,” Heather Knight, the England captain, said. “I wanted the girls to come out and be aggressive and take wickets, and they did that well.
“It was a bit of a steal. We were well below par with the bat – it was a bit of a tired batting performance with a few soft dismissals. Danni and Tash played a brilliant hand, to get us up to a total that gave us something to defend.”
Earlier, England had wobbled after Rowe took three for 41 – her first ball of the day a beauty which swung away late and surprised Knight into edging behind the stumps. Devine had also bamboozled Tammy Beaumont, who struck three boundaries from Devine’s first five balls but shouldered arms to the sixth, which seamed in gently off the pitch and clipped the top of her off stump.
A procession of tired-looking shots from England’s middle order then ensued. Sciver – who now has scores of 14, four, two, two and one against New Zealand this summer – chipped Rowe to cover, while Amy Jones (also for one) and Sophia Dunkley (11) holed out to midwicket.
A 32-run partnership between Lauren Winfield-Hill and Wyatt looked to be steadying things, but disaster struck in the 28th over when Winfield-Hill went for one quick run too many and both players ended up at the non-striker’s end as the bails were removed at the other. Wyatt tried to sacrifice herself, but the umpires consulted and correctly ruled that, as she had been the first of the pair to reach the safety of the non-striker’s crease, it was Winfield-Hill (having reached 39 off 66 balls) who was out.
Kasperek, who returned three for 31, then saw off Dean and Kate Cross in quick succession – Dean departing thanks to a smart DRS referral by New Zealand, with UltraEdge showing she had indeed nicked it to Martin behind the stumps. But while Farrant ultimately became Kasperek’s third victim, caught at mid-on in the 44th over, her defiance gave Wyatt time to catapult two sixes down the ground and add what proved to be crucial runs for England. The teams next meet at Leicester on Tuesday.