England finally produced the performance we’ve been waiting for all summer, on the last day of the English women’s season in Canterbury – posting over 300 for the first time since the Pakistan series in Kuala Lumpur in December 2019.
Tammy Beaumont led the way with her 9th international century (8 in ODIs and 1 in T20s) after putting on 95 for the first wicket with Lauren Winfield-Hill, who made 43 – her highest score since 2019. Winfield-Hill’s recent record is unspectacular from one perspective – she hasn’t made an international 50 since 2016; but she nonetheless averages 29 in ODIs this summer. To put this in perspective, it is only 10 less than Beaumont, and 7 less than Heather Knight; so the bottom line is that although Winfield-Hill hasn’t made a big score, she has still been pretty consistent since her comeback.
But the key to England’s huge total today was not Beaumont, who played the anchor role and finished with a Strike Rate of “only” 90, but the middle-order, which finally clicked… and clicked biggly.
It started with Nat Sciver, who has struggled for form against New Zealand this month, but came in today with an obvious intent to play positively, and hit 39 off 38 balls – a Strike Rate of just over 100, showing that there were runs to be made here, despite the huge boundaries. Amy Jones followed Sciver to the crease, and upped the ante again, making 60 off 46 balls at a Strike Rate of 130. Then finally with Sophia Dunkley (33* off 25) also going well at the other end, Danni Wyatt turned the volume up to 11 with 43* off 20 balls – a Strike Rate of 215. England added a massive 96 runs in the final 10 overs – by far their most productive 10 over phase of the series – leaving New Zealand with a mountain to climb.
And climb it, they could not. Only Hayley Jensen, coming in at 8 with the game already far gone, was able to hit at over 100, as England’s bowlers just looked to keep it tight and let the massive total do its work, with the White Ferns bowled out for 144, over 200 runs short.
New Zealand will fly home disappointed with their tour, having lost both series against an England side which looked tired at times after a long domestic season. But there are some positives they can take into the lead-up to the World Cup, where they will have the advantage of home soil. Hannah Rowe was the joint leading wicket-taker in the ODI series, with 10 wickets alongside England’s Charlie Dean; and Lea Tahuhu also performed well, including her spectacular 5fer at Leicester. Both could be key players in the World Cup; when they will also of course have Amelia Kerr back in the XI.
For once, it is the batting that will be a worry. Amy Satterthwaite, Sophie Devine and Suzie Bates all showed glimpses on this tour of why they are some of the most revered hitters in the game; and Maddy Green had a good day in Leicester; but overall there simply weren’t enough swallows to make a summer for them with the bat. This doesn’t mean it can’t all come good for them at the World Cup, but it will be a concern.
As for England, they can go out tonight and celebrate the end of a long summer, with their record this calendar year across all formats, including the tour of New Zealand, reading an impressive: Played 21; Won 15; Lost just 5.
Now (finally!) the players can take a holiday and get some sleep, before they regroup in the autumn to prepare to face Australia in the Ashes at the beginning of next year. Next year sounds like a long time away, but there are only 3 months before they’ll need to fly out to quarantine ahead of the series, and that’ll go all too quickly – 2022 is, if anything, going to be an even longer year; and with 3 huge trophies to play for – the Ashes, the World Cup and the Commonwealth Games – England will need to be at their very, very best to challenge for all of them.
Lastly on a personal note, that’s all the live cricket we’ll be covering this year too – and probably for a bit longer than that, as it looks very unlikely we’ll be able to get to Australia or New Zealand due to… The C Word (COVID)! It has been another brilliant summer though, shared with this fantastic crew in the press box (plus a shout out to Rick ‘Cricket Man Wales’ Walton)
… as well as with everyone who follows us on Twitter and reads the site – your interactions, comments and replies are what keeps us going, so a big thanks to YOU for your support, and… we’ll see you back here soon!