Putting the loss of the 3rd ODI behind them, England got straight back to winning ways in New Zealand, beating the hosts by 7 wickets with a whopping 4 overs to spare. It’s more than a year now since England’s defeat to South Africa in Perth at the T20 World Cup, and they are unbeaten in the format since, with 9 wins in a row. (We won’t talk about that abandonment on semi-final day in Sydney!)
New Zealand got off to a wobbly start, losing Devine and Satterthwaite for a combined 4 off 12 balls, so although Kerr and Jensen took 18 runs off the last two overs of the powerplay they were already playing catch-up even before a middle-overs slump which saw them go from 33-2 at the end of the powerplay, to 38-4 at the halfway mark – losing two wickets and scoring just 5 runs in 4 overs. That’s 24 balls barely scoring a run – perhaps not entirely uncoincidentally, the exact margin of England’s victory in terms of balls to spare.
Sarah Glenn had a great day with the ball, and was deservedly named Player of the Match. It wasn’t just her figures either, good though those were, taking 2-11 at an Economy Rate of 2.75. I don’t know if someone had had a word with her, but having struggled a tad in the ODIs where she looked to be trying too hard to turn it like Amelia Kerr, she was back to her best today. Keeping it simple, she played to her strengths of line and length. The delivery that bowled Maddy Green was classic Glenn – a bit of overspin turned a straight ball, which looked to be there for the pulling, into a wicket ball which zipped under Green’s bat and into the stumps – job done!
Chasing just 96, England never looked troubled. After 8 overs they were 53-0 – half way there already, with Beaumont and Wyatt making hay. Wyatt wasn’t quite “Classic Wyatt” but 33 off 26 balls was her best T20 outing since her 55 against Pakistan in Kuala Lumpur in December 2019 – a run of 15 matches, including the Indian T20 Challenge, without passing 30, which was starting to become slightly concerning.
The one disappointment is that England were too good for Sophia Dunkley to get a bat, though she will look back happily on a brace of catches on the boundary. Dunkley was carded to come in at 6, but England didn’t need her as Sciver and Jones steered them calmly home – Sciver showing her “Game Management” by happily playing out 5 consecutive dot-balls from Amelia Kerr, because by that point the result was already in the bag.
England’s remaining two games will also both now be played at the Sky Stadium, on the same drop-in pitch which will also be used by the New Zealand men playing Australia, so that could make things interesting against Amelia Kerr in the 2nd and 3rd T20s… or it could not – drop-in pitches can sometimes be a bit too good these days – we’ll find out on Friday!