England may not have played a single ODI in the 437 days prior to this series, but New Zealand had suffered an even longer drought: their last win in ODI cricket came over two years ago, on 1 February 2019.
That drought finally ended earlier today, after New Zealand inflicted a seven-wicket defeat on England. Dead rubber it may have been, but this was an important statement by New Zealand: they have not forgotten how to win games of 50-over cricket.
Importantly, too, Amy Satterthwaite has not forgotten how to score big runs. This may have been her seventh ODI hundred, but it is her first since February 2017. It is also her first since an 18-month absence from cricket brought about by pregnancy, childbirth and maternity leave. While Sattherthwaite is following in a long line of female cricketers to return to cricket after pushing babies out of their bodies (Enid Bakewell did it three times in five years), she is the first to do so in the professional era, and we shouldn’t underestimate how important that is.
Amelia Kerr’s unbeaten 72 was important for a different reason. Since her 232* against Ireland in 2017 catapulted her into the headlines, she has barely troubled the scorers in 50-over cricket. Prior to this series, her average in ODIs against all opposition except Ireland was under 10, and her highest score was 28. There comes a time when you have to stop living off past glories and prove you are capable of batting at 5 against the reigning world champions. Offered the chance to do that today, Kerr took it and ran with it.
The successful run chase came after New Zealand had dismissed England for 220 – at least 40 runs short of a par score, as Heather Knight admitted after the match. This was a full-strength England batting line-up, plus bonus Lauren Winfield-Hill (brought in after Katherine Brunt was “rested”), so to bowl them out was an impressive effort from the hosts. In fact it could have been far worse for England. The cricketing gods, particularly the one that controls the DRS ball-tracker, really did seem to smile on them for the duration – giving Knight a life on 26* and Beaumont one on 33*.
Amelia Kerr finished with 4 wickets, but it was her sister Jess Kerr who really bogged England down in the middle overs, forcing repeated errors from both Knight and Beaumont. Kerr senior, who opened the bowling for the first time today, is becoming a formidable threat with ball in hand, showing her ability to swing the ball in a fashion worthy of Anya Shrubsole herself. She could be key in home conditions in next year’s World Cup.
In fact, for the first time in a while it’s possible to look beyond the inevitable retirements of Suzie Bates, Sophie Devine, Satterthwaite and Lea Tahuhu in the next couple of years, and see a chink of light. Devine never came to the party this series (scoring 16, 6 and 15) and Bates wasn’t even INVITED to the party (Ed: How far are you going to extend this terrible metaphor?) but Brooke Halliday, Hayley Jensen and the Kerr sisters went a long way to making up for it.
There’s something of an unfavourable contrast to be made with England’s selection policy. Even in a dead rubber situation, they failed to give younger batters like Sophia Dunkley an opportunity, presumably on the basis of Lisa Keightley’s belief that “I don’t want to give away caps, I think people need to earn it”. And they still lost the match.
It may be a cliche, but winning IS a habit – and with a year to go until the next World Cup, this dead rubber mattered more than most.
Apologies for changing the topic, but I believe this match shows why England has not challenged Australia since the World Cup. We have reasonable talent but that’s all. Australia have not just (un)reasonable talent, but the ability to rise to the occasion. Bates, Devine, Satterthwaite and Kerr are formidable, yes. But so are Raj, Mandhana, Bisht and Yadav. As are Kapp, Ishmael, van Niekerk and Wolvardt.
But Australia manage to make formidable their watchword. England aren’t really there.
I’m happy for New Zealand, particularly for their younger talent, who are proving their worth.
But for England the question has to be: you’ve stayed the same for the last four years; how do you expect to step up to Australia’s level?
At the moment everyone’s waiting for Australia’s level to come down, I think, and it sometimes does, and may in the future when the current greats call it a day. Whether that dip co-incides with a big world cup knock-out match, who knows.
From an NZ point of view, this win was a big relief – and as you say, less experienced players like Jess Kerr and Brooke Halliday showed through during this series, which was very encouraging.
Tammy Beaumont impressed me – having mainly watched her struggle in T20 cricket, I can now see why England rate her so highly in ODIs.
Overall, though, batting second seemed to be the single biggest factor in winning these matches. But the most important thing was that the games were played!
This is harsh (and I’m happy for others to argue the point against me) but I think Beaumont must take a bit of criticism for her role in the latter stages of England’s innings. It kind of felt as though everything happened around her while she picked up singles oblivious to the disarray – no, that’s the wrong word, deflation is more like it. The innings just faded away like someone slowly letting the air out of a balloon. She needed to take things be the scruff of the neck a bit more, as the senior batsman and the only one other than Knight who managed to “get herself in”.
England were 140/2 in the 29th over when Sciver got out. We’d just taken the previous four overs fof 38, and it felt like we were pacing things just right. From there it really fell away, and TB to me didnt quite show enough nous through the remainder of the innings. As I say, harsh, but I would be disappointed if this wasnt a major element of whatever debrief goes on after the game.
That said, credit to NZ. They did to England almost exactly what we had done to them in the first two games. Tight bowling and fielding, followed by largely composed batting. There was a time where Kerr in particular had virtually ground to a halt, but the moment she released those shackles we had no answer. Davies and Sciver were very good up front, thereafter nobody could really rein it in. Satterthwaite and Kerr batted brilliantly, though.
This is a learning curve. We can’t complain about younger bowlers not getting a look-in, and then moan when they do and it doesn’t quite work. Davies is still inexperienced at this level, Cross has hardly played in a year or more, Glenn is probably going through her first (inevitable) rough patch. Days like this will happen from time to time.
On the whole, a good series. But I do wish Dunkley had been given at least one game, and in the top 5. She will probably play in some of the T20s but I bet it’s at 6 and that’s a bum deal in the shortest form.
Just to expand on the Beaumont point, she faced 113 balls out of the 288 (not including wides) in England’s innings. That’s less than 40%. Not necessarily an issue if, say, Knight or Sciver are scoring well at the other end, but quickly became one once the procession began. It felt like she was getting off strike a lot, and then watching too many balls tick by. That’s an element of game management that she should have been more pro-active about.
A combination of a much improved New Zealand bowling and attacking field placement performance, combined with a few lazy shots and a bit of bad luck meant that England posted a sub-par score, where 250+ looked the order of the day. Beaumont and Knight were sublime, yet again. Although I do take Richard’s point that Beaumont could have managed the new batters at the other end a bit better. I think the collapse took her by surprise as well.
For NZ Jess Kerr bowled brilliantly and her swing is fantastic to watch, as well. I went to sleep after the England innings thinking that they had largely messed up the last 10 or 15 overs, and NZ had a decent chance but would have to bat well (much better than they had done so far) – so it should have been close.
The fact that NZ chased down those runs fairly easily raised a slight eyebrow for me. Again, in a reflection of the 2018 series between these 2 sides, NZ won the final game, already being 2-0 down, having one of their batsmen score a hundred.
England might have hoped to get it closer in the middle overs, especially following a decent start from the pace attack. This augurs well seeing as we were without Shrubsole or Brunt. But it was unusual for neither Ecclestone nor Glenn (or Knight for that matter) to take a wicket between them, and indeed Glenn was taken apart to the extent that she didn’t get near completing her overs. I’m yet to see the highlights of the NZ innings but understand that NZ played the spin well, milking runs and putting the few bad balls away. Obviously Glenn came into the side on the back of her T20 performances, and I think T20 is the better side of her game – what are people’s thoughts on her long term place in the England ODI side?
For NZ, they need to work on the consistency of their game, to be able to perform like this from the off, and find a way to win when the hundreds from their big players don’t materialise.
This T20 series could be a real treat.
So Satterthwaite was dropped 3 times by England (Winfield-Hill, Ecclestone, Beaumont) all before her ton came up! They were tough-ish chances, but at least one should have been taken. I still think it was a bit of an average bowling display by England overall.
Yes, I agree with this article. Now, in answer to the Twitter question: if I were going to the Moon, I’d be trusting Neil Armstrong. As the Eagle was coming in to land on the Sea of Tranquillity in 1969, he noticed that the DRS was steering it towards a patch of boulders. So he overrode the DRS, flew manually over the boulder patch, and then landed the Eagle safely on the other side, with about 10 seconds of fuel remaining. It was one small DRS override for a human, but one giant leap for humankind, especially by comparison with the DRS.