Recent Match Report – NZ Women vs ENG Women 5th T20I 2023/24

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England 138 for 5 (Knight 35, Sciver-Brunt 31, A Kerr 3-30) beat New Zealand 136 for 6 (Gaze 51*, Ecclestone 3-30, Sciver-Brunt 2-24) by five wickets

Nat Sciver-Brunt and Sophie Ecclestone were devastating with the ball as England secured a clinical five-wicket win over New Zealand in their final T20I for a 4-1 series victory. The pair shared five wickets between them, with Sciver-Brunt making the early breakthroughs which had the home side reeling, and Ecclestone claiming three to ensure England faced a modest target.

An unbeaten half-century from 19-year-old Izzy Gaze had earlier rescued New Zealand from 69 for 5. She shared a 56-run stand for the sixth wicket with Brooke Halliday, but in reply, Sciver-Brunt and Heather Knight put on a 57-run stand of their own from 64 for 3 to bring England within touching distance of victory. The sides next meet in a three-match ODI series beginning in Wellington on Monday.

England’s devastating duet

Sciver-Brunt and Ecclestone returned to international duty in the fourth T20I after playing in the WPL. England won that match to take an unassailable 3-1 lead, and the duo made a massive impact in the fifth. Sciver-Brunt claimed a wicket with the fifth ball of the match, and had two in seven deliveries when she removed Bernadine Bezuidenhout and Amelia Kerr, as the hosts stumbled to 10 for 2 inside three overs.

It wasn’t long before Charlie Dean, who finished as the series’ leading wicket-taker with seven, accounted for Suzie Bates. Ecclestone then entered the attack immediately after the powerplay to great effect for England. She had Georgia Plimmer caught by Danielle Gibson with her second delivery to make it 31 for 4, before taking a stunning return catch low to her left to remove Maddy Green just as New Zealand had started to breathe via a 38-run partnership between Green and Halliday.

Star Gaze-ing

Sophie Devine, ruled out of this match with a quad strain, had told ESPNcricinfo’s Powerplay podcast before the series that building depth in this New Zealand side would take time. Gaze, with a previous highest score of 16 in T20Is – and 26 not out from 26 international matches – shone a light on the future as she amassed 51 not out off just 28 balls. It was the first time in 27 innings that a New Zealand Women’s player other than Devine, Bates or Amelia Kerr had reached fifty in T20Is.

Gaze helped herself to 16 runs off Sciver-Brunt in the 18th over via a particularly effective lap shot and a pulled six. Come the final over, Halliday fell for 33 to a strong catch by Alice Capsey, who ran in from long-on to give Ecclestone her third wicket. Ecclestone then dropped a sitter off her own bowling when Jess Kerr looped one high into the air in the swirling Wellington breeze, and Gaze brought up her half-century next ball. She reverse swept Ecclestone to the boundary to walk off unbeaten, her innings giving New Zealand’s bowlers something to defend.

Full report to follow…

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