Read Raf Nicholson's match report
So, there we go - thanks very much for your company and comments. Ta-ra.
New Zealand, meanwhile, need to resolve some issues. Their middle-order need a plan against the spinners, a plan in general,and they need more penetration in the bowling too, else they’ll only win when Bates or Devine are on one.
England have been near-perfect once again. New Zealand have quality players and started like they meant it, but England found something when they needed it, applied hobnail boot to trachea, and never released the pressure even for a moment. They are very, very good, with fantastic players in every department, a lovely mix of serenity and hyperactivity, and it’ll take a very good side to beat them when the world T20 gets going in November.
ENGLAND BEAT NEW ZEALAND BY SEVEN WICKETS WITH 2.5 OVERS TO SPARE! THEY WIN THE TRI-NATIONS SERIES!
Sciver seizes on a short one, off it goes to the midwicket fence, and what a performance this has been!
16th over: England 137-3 (Sciver 17, Knight 17) Target 138 Six needed to win - will England look to add them in one zetz? Sciver and Knight pilfer a single apiece to long on and third man respectively, then both do likewise to midwicket. This is so easy for them, and the final ball of the over, turned to deep backward square, levels the scores.
16th over: England 132-3 (Sciver 14, Knight 15) Target 138 Jensen returns for milking, to the tune of four singles.
15th over: England 126-3 (Sciver 11, Knight 13) Target 138 Hat-trick ball for Kerr... knocked into the off side by Knight for a single. A full toss follows and Sciver is having no such thing, pulling to deep backward square for four. Four more follow from the remaining three balls, and England need just 11 to win.
“Knight can be such a reassuring presence in the middle overs,” says Ravi Nair. “Not under run pressure - we need Sciver and Brunt for that - but in a situation like this, she makes us feel as though there’s oodles in reserve.”
Yes, there’s a beautiful serenity to her batting - though the same is so of Taylor and Sciver.
14th over: England 117-3 (Sciver 5, Knight 9) Target 138 Tahuhu into the attack with two new batters to get after. She opens with a wide, but then when Sciver misses with a pull has an appeal for lb ... declined. Next, a single forced into the off side brings Knight onto strike for the first time, and she helps a short, wide lump of dross around the corner for four. So in races Tahuhu again, straighter this time, but Knight simply uses the pace to flick off the pad for four more. England are racing to the end now, and after Knight bunts an effort ball to third man for one, Sciver backs away and opens the face, sending four more racing to finest third man. This is the height of did.
13th over: England 100-3 (Sciver 0, Knight 0) Target 138 Surely not....
WICKET! Taylor b Kerr 12 (England 102-3)
Well! An 17-year-old’s google totally cons one of the greatest players in the world! Taylor looks to drive, leaves a huge gate open, and Kerr storms right through!
WICKET! Beaumont c Satterthwaite b Kerr 35 (England 102-2)
Well bowled Amelia Kerr! Beaumont comes down the track looking to score and can’t get to the pitch so has to reach. She still gives the ball a decent knuck but picks out the fielder at long on.
13th over: England 100-1 (Beaumont 35, Taylor 12) Target 138 Kerr has tied England down a bit, and is spinning the ball harder than the others. I guess you’d expect that from a leggy, and at 17 what a chance she has to become something special...
12th over: England 100-1 (Beaumont 34, Taylor 11) Target 138 Bates continues ... oh. Taylor moves right across to off showing all three stumps, then gets down on one knee to toe four to square leg. She really does know. And next, she comes down the track to flip four over midwicket! What can you do? Two more singles follow, and this is very nearly over - don’t be surprised to see England step things up presently. The required rare is 4.85; the current rate is 8.21.
11th over: England 90-1 (Beaumont 33, Taylor 2) Target 138 Kerr puts the breaks on with three dots, then a leg side wide nutmegs Martin for five. A single over the top follows - Taylor doesn’t get all of this, but there’s no one there to catch.
10th over: England 84-1 (Beaumont 33, Taylor 1) Target 138 Like nothing happened, England add three fro the three remaining balls of the over.
WICKET! Wyatt c Kasperek b Bates 50 (England 81-1)
Wyatt chucks the bat at a wideish one, imparting a thick edge to backward point, and after a brief juggle the catch is taken. Suzie Bates looks well chuffed with that - I don’t know.
10th over: England 81-0 (Wyatt 50, Beaumont 31) Target 138 Bates has seen enough, bringing herself on; with the rate at 8.40 and the required rare at 5.63, in other words when the match is gone, that’s, well, I don’t know. So Wyatt has a look at her first ball, then gets down on one knee to pull to midwicket, the fielder stationed there running past the ball! That’s 50 for Wyatt, and what an innings this is!
9th over: England 77-0 (Wyatt 46, Beaumont 31) Target 138 Bates introduces Kerr and she keeps it tight(er); NZ’s problem in this innings has been an inability to threaten wickets and prevent boundaries – so nothing much really – and she at least manages the second element of that. Four from the over.
8th over: England 73-0 (Wyatt 44, Beaumont 30) Target 138 Kasperek into the attack and Wyatt defends her first ball, edging a single sideways. But all that does is bring Beaumont into strike, and she reverse-sweeps four that backward point would probably have cut off had she not sold herself a dummy and gone the wrong way. Anyway, single to Beaumont and then Kasperek sends a half-volley right into Wyatt’s slot; she gets down low and backs herself to deposit a slog-sweep over the fence! Shot! The confidence and joy of these two is leaking though the screen; drink it in, people!
7th over: England 61-0 (Wyatt 37, Beaumont 24) Target 138 Oh gosh, this is brutal. After another single to Beaumont, Wyatt again opens the face, just about beating Martin’s drive, and then Devine tries a short one, immediately dismissed from countenance via pull. New Zealand are not long for this match.
“Beaumont and Wyatt are the opening partners England have needed for so long,” tweets Ravi Nair. “In the WI, with slightly slower pitches, Wyatt’s going to be even more scary. Bodes well, this stand.”
Yes - both have a lovely mix of touch and power.
6th over: England 49-0 (Wyatt 26, Beaumont 23) Target 138 Jensen returns, and it occurs to me that in the five overs bowled so far, NZ haven’t got close to taking a wicket. Anyway, Beaumont takes a single, then Wyatt steps to off and flips four over her shoulder, as she falls, eyes looking away from the ball! This is great stuff, and have a look! There’s four more, through extra cover, and four more more, run down to third man!
5th over: England 33-0 (Wyatt 13, Beaumont 10) Target 138 Devine into the attack, and England take a couple of singles - they’re just finding things so easy at the moment. But this is still a better over for NZ, ceding just three. The required rate is not 6.80, the current rate 7.20.
4th over: England 33-0 (Wyatt 13, Beaumont 10) Target 138 Here come England! Wyatt drives four down the ground then gets down the other end with a single. Beaumont then reverses a four - Devine should stop that at backward point but dives over the top of it - before more dancing feet allow a whipcrack of a drive over midwicket for four more! This is brilliant from England.
3rd over: England 19-0 (Wyatt 8, Beaumont 11) Target 138 Medium pace now, Jensen with it, and Wyatt has a look because she can, looking to force the ball away at the same time, then backs away to leg and drags two to midwicket. A single is next, then Beaumont ruins a previously tight over with a confident sweep for four. The required rate is now 6.73, well beneath the current rate.
2nd over: England 12-0 (Wyatt 5, Beaumont 7) Target 138 Peterson makes it spin from both ends, and Beaumont gets her reverse-sweep out immediately, adding two. Two singles follow, then Beaumont twinkles down the track and lofts a flighted one over mid off for four. That’s beautifully done; she is so confident at the moment.
1st over: England 4-0 (Wyatt 4, Beaumont 0) Target 138 New Zealand opt to open with Watkin’s off breaks, and four dots makes that a sound choice. But then Wyatt gets down the pitch to carve four over mid off, the only runs from the over.
Here come the batters...
“Do the New Zealand batters have a plan B?” asks Paul Oxenbury. “It seems plan A is to hope Bates and Devine batter the opposition bowling attack into submission and that’s not a great plan against the best bowling attacks like England and Australia.”
I actually think they’ve got some decent batters in the middle order - the problem isn’t lack of plan B, it’s lack of a plan. How did they intend to get the spinners away? I really don’t know.
My guess is that England will go about this chase as they did on Thursday: Beaumont and Wyatt will go hardish in the powerplay, comfortable in the knowledge that Taylor and Sciver can manipulate things thereafter. New Zealand will have to make things happen, because if England bat 20 overs they’ll win.
That was brilliant from England on a flat track with a lightening outfield. New Zealand just couldn’t reverse the momentum once they lost it, and Katherine Brunt explains that they planned to bowl straight which is why there were so many bowleds and lbs.
20 overs: New Zealand 137-9 (Kerr 12 Tahuhu 0)
England need 138 to win the tri-series, and it’s exceedingly hard to how that doesn’t happen.
WICKET! Jensen run out (Sciver) 9 (New Zealand 136-9)
Kerr lamps to midwicket and they try for a second, but Sciver skids a return in, on the bounce, and Brunt is in front of the stumps to do the rest. England are so well drilled it’s ridiculous.
20th over: New Zealand 136-8 (Kerr 10, Jensen 9) Brunt will send down the final over and its second delivery is a slower one, which loops out of the back of the hand, so is swatted to square leg for four. Two leg side leg-byes follows, then a single nurdled to midwicket. After that opening partnership ended, NZ just haven’t managed to up the tempo, not even for an over never mind a few of them.
19th over: New Zealand 128-8 (Kerr 10, Jensen 4) Shrubsole returns, just what you need. The batters take a single each, then Kerr stamps a big foot down and gives it everything, driving over mid off for four. A big over and half and and you never know, but two ones and a two are all NZ find and even if they now manufacture a monster, England will fancy themselves to resolve this. Their spinners have just been too accurate and cunning here.
WICKET! Kasperek c Taylor b Ecclestone 5 (New Zealand 118-8)
I was just about to say “...and Sarah Taylor hasn’t even done anything brilliant yet”, and there it is! A loose arm-ball tempts Kaperek to over-swing, she top-edges, and Taylor snatches with alarming indifference.
18th over: New Zealand 118-7 (Kerr 4, Kasperek 5) New Zealand won’t even get near a competitive total, and this is why they might be better chasing - England will be able to get whatever they need just by batting sensibly. Kasperek bottom-edges Ecclestone four but can’t get her away thereafter, so...
17th over: New Zealand 114-7 (Kerr 4, Kasperek 1)
“THAT’s what makes Taylor the world’s best keeper,” says Ravi Nair of that run out attempt. “Of course her lightning-hands leg-side stumpings are magic, but cannot be emulated. What all other keepers should try to copy is the work and thought she puts into every aspect of the game, including taking returns.”
Yes, certainly to an extent. Capacity for work and thought are part of her genius, though - in mine.
WICKET! Petersen b Hazell 7 (New Zealand 113-7)
Oh, well bowled! Hazell sets Peterson up with a few darts, then tosses one up up a bit slower. Down comes the batter, down comes the bat ... nowhere near the ball ... and that is the neck: crop interface right there.
16th over: New Zealand 110-6 (Kerr 2, Peterson 6) Peterson isn’t hanging about, cracking Brunt over midwicket for four. A pull then adds two more, Wyatt losing the ball in the sun, bur six off the over isn’t close to enough.
“Wasn’t it @RafNicholson who suggested that the NZ middle order was a tad undercooked throughout this series, because of having little time in the middle?” asks Ravi Nair. To continue your metaphor: they’re trying to dance, but there’s too much gapping. #YesIWatchStrictly.”
I’ve never seen Strictly, not even once - nor Friends. Yes, I was woke ahead of my time, what can I say.
15th over: New Zealand 104-6 (Kerr 2, Peterson 0) New Zealand are 47-6 since the opening stand scored its last run and nearly lose a seventh when Kerr drives, Ecclestone returns brilliantly, and Taylor, gloveless, pulls into the stumps from in front. It looked out to me, but the umpires interpreted the replay differently and New Zealand go again.
WICKET! Watkin c Jones b George 5 (New Zealand 102-6)
New Zealand are in all sorts! Watkin swats across the line - it wasn’t a great ball, far too short - but doesn’t get enough of it and picks out the fielder on the fence at deep square as though doing so deliberately. Suddenly it’s not about posting a competitive total, it’s about batting out the overs.
15th over: New Zealand 103-5 (Kerr 0, Watkin 5) George is back to finish her spell and Watkin opens the face to run four down to the fence at backward point.
14th over: New Zealand 98-5 (Kerr 0, Watkin 1) Just a single from the over - Devine says her team want 150, 160 minimum; I’m not sure even 160 would be enough on this track.
“Excellent ‘boring middle overs’ stuff from England,” tweets Ravi Nair. “Some hope remains. (Given our propensity for boom or bust when chasing, I’d rather the target weren’t too big).”
Yes - and the beauty for England has been the wickets accompanying the stodge.
WICKET! Green c Knight b Shrubsole 8 (New Zealand 97-5)
Shrubsole opens her spell with a slower ball, Green is through her swipe far too quickly, and it’s an easy catch for cover. The rate is now down to seven.
13th over: New Zealand 97-4 ( Green 8, Kerr 0) All of a sudden, New Zealand need something; not even a dancer, a plodder would do.
WICKET! Satterthwaite lbw b Hazell 19 (New Zealand 97-4)
Ah. Satterthwaite looks to sweep, down on one leg, but gets too far over - awkwardly so - misses - and that might be too much for New Zealand.
13th over: New Zealand 97-3 (Satterthwaite 19, Green 8) After a dodgy first over Hazell is enjoying herself, bowling around. After a single and a dot, Satterthwaite tries to force things, looking to pull and missing; there’s an appeal, but it was probably going down. Sophie Devine arrives in commentary and says she’s disappointed not to be out there but hopefully they’ve set things up...
12th over: New Zealand 94-3 (Satterthwaite 18, Green 6) The run rate is down below eight now; New Zealand can’t really have that. But Ecclestone is into her rhythm now, and though the batters try to attack they can’t get her away; the variations in pace and length mean they can’t premeditate, and that’s just four from the over, 10 from the last three.
11th over: New Zealand 89-3 (Satterthwaite 15, Green 1) England sneak Hazell back in, and she twirls through the quietest over of the innings, three singles from it. Both sides will take that as they pause for the crux of things.
10th over: New Zealand 85-3 (Satterthwaite 15, Green 1) Ten more overs of batting is asking a lot from Satterthwaite, but you get the feeling she’ll need to hang about if New Zealand are to set a competitive target.
WICKET! Bates b Ecclestone 31 (New Zealand 84-3)
Ecclestone does it again! That is a monstrous scalp! She tries an arm-ball, Bates plays back, swings, misses, and that’s the end of her middle stump. New Zealand have a platform, but do they have anyone to dance on it?
9th over: New Zealand 84-2 (Bates 31, Satterthwaite 15) In commentary they reckon Brunt should’ve had another over; I guess the problem is if nothing happens, you don’t have her at the end. Anyway, Ecclestone has the ball and her first two ball cost a single apiece before Bates misses with a gigantic sweep! The appeal is loud, but it was probably going down, just.
9th over: New Zealand 80-2 (Bates 30, Satterthwaite 14) George continues, and her third ball is short but, lacking any lift, allows Bates to pull it for four. A fuller length might help her, because there’s not much help in the pitch or through the air. The run rate is now 9.11, which NZ would for sure have taken at the start. England will not want to be chasing in excess of 180.
8th over: New Zealand 74-2 (Bates 25, Satterthwaite 11) Danii Hazell into the attack and Bates forces two to the cover fence. She’ll know that she needs to bat most of these overs now, and after five from the first four balls, Satterthwaite gets involved again, smashing a revolting full toss over wide long on for four. It deserved six, really - it deserved 66. Once again, England could use a wicket.
7th over: New Zealand 64-2 (Bates 21, Satterthwaite 5) Powerplay done, George returns, and NZ opt to consolidate. The run rate is still closer to 9 than to 8, and after three singles Satterthwaite shows it some lovingkindness, misjudging a drive and sending an inside edge just past off stump, just past the diving Taylor, and all the way to the fence. Perfectly judged.
6th over: New Zealand 57-2 (Bates 19, Satterthwaite 0) Satterthwaite batted really well the other day; she’ll need to do so again. I wonder if England will give Brunt one more to try and tear the heart out of it, or, more likely, keep her for the end and rush through a few turns of spin.
WICKET! Martin lbw b Brunt 2 (New Zealand 57-2)
What a competitor! Brunt came on with her team desperate, and has delivered double the ask! Martin looks to turn her across the line, jumping in the process, but she’s not especially tall so when the ball cracks the pad it doesn’t matter. That one was plumb, and in three balls everything has changed.
WICKET! Devine lbw b Brint 31 (New Zealand 55-1)
And Brunt delivers! She pins Devine, who backs away, rapping her on the back pad. That might just’ve been going down, but that was a lekker ball nonetheless.
6th over: New Zealand 55-0 (Devine 31, Bates 19) Brunt will have another shy, her team ganting on a wicket. Bates comes down the ground to hammer her second ball to long off as they run one.
5th over: New Zealand 54-0 (Devine 31, Bates 18) Perceiving a situation, Knight beings Shrubsole back; Devine is good with that, cracking her first ball over square leg for six! Ooh yeah! But Shrubsole comes back with two dots, then beats the bat with a straight one. The appeal is loud but futile ... and beautifully rubbed in, first via four down the ground, then via six over midwicket! 16 off the over and New Zealand are bousting!
4th over: New Zealand 38-0 (Devine 15, Bates 18) England are looking for something so bring on Ecclestone. Her first ball is flicked away by Devine – that’ll be fo mo – and after a single, her fourth is cut away by Bates. New Zealand are motoring, but look at that! Bates goes back and plays down into her boot! The ball passes the stumps, just, England’s frustration compounded when Bates jumps to leg and creams a cut for another boundary. This is excellent batting.
3rd over: New Zealand 25-0 (Devine 10, Bates 10) Here comes George, finding a hint of movement through the air, and the batters take a single each before Bates moves to off to turn four to backward point. George doesn’t respond well, banging in leg side, and Bates is having no such thing, the pull dismissing her in short order.
2nd over: New Zealand 15-0 (Devine 9, Bates 1) How long til Katie George has the new ball? Er, not while Katherine Brunt exits. In she comes, ceding a single from her first two balls, before Devine bottom edges just past her stumps; guess how much Brunt loves that one. She responds well too, moving one away from the bat, before a lovely pick-up drive sees her hoisted down the ground for a one-bounce four. New Zealand are going well.
1st over: New Zealand 5-0 (Devine 0, Bates 0) Shrubsole is on the money right away but her second ball is leg side and Devine took to pull. She misses but it flicks off the pad and Hazell makes a decent stop to save a boundary. This brings Bates onto strike and she’s looking to get on with it, driving and pushing but finding fielders, before she misses with a pull and adds four leg byes. A maiden, but a decent start for New Zealand; odd.
Anya Shrubsole – soon to be the great Anya Shrubsole – has the ball.
England huddle. Oh.
New Zealand are going to need a lot of runs here, I reckon. 170 minimum.
The players are making their way out.
That New Zealand selection appears to contain three changes: Kerr, Bezeidenhout and Broadmore out out, Petersen, Kasparek and Tahuhu are in.
Charlotte Edwards says if New Zealand can win today they’ll start believing that they can win World Cups, but then we see a graphic showing that Bates and Devine have scored more than half of their runs recently. That can work here and there, but not in a tournament, I don’t think – the others will need to resolve that.
Haidee Tiffen, New Zealand’s coach, is on Sky. She says her team will have to play better to win and all that stuff, but not really anything substantive. Her team can do it, they’re improving, it’s a final, but nothing about how this is going to happen.
Nat Sciver is quietly confident, in that menacing way of the talent who knows. She batted so well on Thursday, whacking it down the ground while Sarah Taylor cut, carved and scooped. they’re a brilliant partnership, making bowlers bowl different lines and lengths like Pietersen and Collingwood used to.
Today I’m looking forward to seeing: Katie George. Nineteen years old, fast, lefty – get out the way of that!
Charlotte Edwards reckons New Zealand will do well to use the sweep against Anya Shrubsole, currently the best bowler in the world. The problem any team that plays England finds is a wicket-keeper who stands up; miss a heave, and it’s ta-ra.
England are unchanged, as you’d expect; New Zealand bring in two off spinners, Kasperek and Peterson, but we’ve not yet been told who for.
New Zealand win the toss and will bat!
Suzie Bates reckons it’s a “really good cricket wicket,” so they’re looking to put England under pressure. Heather Knight says England would’ve batted, but given the speed of the outfield she’s not unhappy to chase, saying that it’ll be hard to defend a total.
Time for the toss...
It’s possible, of course, that success, and recent success, will make England complacent. Well, it would be possible, if England didn’t have Katherine Brunt in their side, and the various other nutters who make them so formidably competitive. They are 8/13 to win this, which looks pretty generous to me.
The weather in Chelmsford is hot but not baking – it’s four degrees less youmid than in north London. The track, presumably, will be dry – that should help England, who have the better spinners.
On the other hand, England’s best bowlers – Shrubsole, Brunt and Ecclestone – all took some tap the other day. New Zealand will fancy that happening again, and would also be within their rights to assume the catching will be less devastating. They will expect themselves to win, and with reasonable reason.
On Thursday, New Zealand won the toss and opted to bat; I wonder if that was an error. Their bowlers aren’t as good as England’s, so perhaps they’d be better chasing, in the hope that England were under par, and/or one of their lot got in. Anything they score can be chased down; they have the firepower to chase almost anything down.
Sport is like life. Deep, eh? Bet that’s got you thinking! Ooh yeah!
The two share all manner of aspects: tedium, despair, predictability, despair – the works. But the aspect they really share is the eternal, futile search for perfection ... Well, ok, that’s just sport, so maybe it’s not really like life after all.
When these two teams met on Thursday, England’s performance was almost perfect. They decapitated New Zealand in the first over, dismissing Suzie Bates – their captain and best batter – and when Sophie Devine got loose, they kept her off strike while binning her mates at the other end.
Then, chasing a moderate total, England thrashed early on to reduce the required rate, losing two wickets in the process ... after which two experts guided them to within a stagger of home, sorted.
But there is no guarantee the same thing will happen again today. Perfection is an elusive expletive, and T20 is a fickle format: if someone good starts seeing it, that’s the match; New Zealand have various players liable to do just that; and in finals, strange things happen. Just like in life, really.
Play: 3pm BST