England strolled to another comfortable victory in the 3rd T20 by 32 runs, to take the rubber 3-0. Tammy Beaumont pocketed the Player of the Series cheque for $1,000, and Katherine Brunt drank up the Player of the Match champagne, after taking 2 wickets in the first over of New Zealand’s reply to England’s 128; but for me, “Sergeant” Fran Wilson was the key that unlocked England’s win today.
The home commentators described England as having “limped” to their total – but although they did lose 9 wickets, that really wasn’t the case at all, as the upwards trend line on England’s Manhattan shows.
Wilson, who came to the crease with 8 overs remaining, made 31 off 23 balls – the highest score, at by far the highest strike rate, of the match. Perhaps the only criticism you could lay on Wilson was that, like Tammy Beaumont in the 3rd ODI, she trusted England’s tail a little too much, and didn’t farm the strike as much as she might have done, facing under half of the 48 balls she spent in the middle.
That’s picking nits though. In order to understand Wilson’s contribution, just imagine what might have happened if she’d gotten out early – her 31 runs were almost exactly England’s margin of victory; and without them, England probably would have been bowled out too, which would have put the momentum squarely with New Zealand to win this match in very-much the fashion they did the 3rd ODI.
Indeed, at one stage it looked like they would win it in exactly the fashion they won the 3rd ODI – with Satterthwaite and Kerr set at the crease and going at pretty-much a run a ball, a repeat performance was on the cards, with the White Ferns ahead of the worm.
But neither Kerr nor Satterthwaite were able to stick around this time, and New Zealand fell away to 96 all out.
Fran Wilson wasn’t even supposed to play today – she only came in because Heather Knight sat out with a “minor” hamstring injury; and all the fuss in this series has been about getting an opportunity for Sophia Dunkley, who did indeed get her shot today, having not faced a ball in the first two T20s.
Dunkley didn’t disappoint either, making 26 off 29 balls, including the only six of the match; but it was Wilson’s contribution – just calmly getting on with it, running the singles hard, on a day when boundaries were the exception rather than the rule – which allowed England to build a winning total, which the White Ferns just didn’t have the batting to match.