Derby, Sep 24 (IANS) Captain Heather Knight notched the second ODI century of her career as England Women sealed the series against New Zealand, winning the closely-contested fourth match by three wickets at the Country Ground here.
England have taken a 3-1 lead in the five-match series.
Sent in to bat, New Zealand managed 244/8 from their 50 overs, with Amy Satterthwaite (54) and Katey Martin (65 not outboth notching half-centuries alongside an impressive 41 off 48 from White Ferns skipper Sophie Devine.
With the target of 245 being more than England’s women’s team had ever managed to successfully chase in an ODI, it was going to take something special to pull it off and Knight’s 101 off just 107 was just that on Thursday evening.
The captain came out to the middle in the 12th over of the chase with England having enjoyed a positive start thanks to a 52-run stand between Lauren Winfield-Hill and Tammy Beaumont. The bulk of those runs had come from Winfield-Hill, who was the first out, bowled for 33 by a delivery that jagged back in from Hannah Rowe (4/47). England’s position of strength deteriorated quickly from there as Rowe accounted for Beaumont (16) and Nat Sciver (11) in her next two overs to leave the hosts at 71/3.
In the company of Amy Jones, Knight put England back on course, with the duo adding 100 runs for the fourth wicket. Jones perished in the 38th over, holing out to mid-off off the bowling of Rowe with England still 74 adrift of victory.
New Zealand’s hopes were bolstered when Satterthewaite (1/34) trapped Sophia Dunkley (0) in front for a duck in the 40th over, but Knight all but ensured an England victory as she marched to her ton, eventually perishing in a double-wicket over from Devine (2/55) with the hosts just eight runs away from victory. Anya Shrubsole (6 not out) and Sophie Ecclestone (0*) saw England home from there with three balls to spare.
Earlier, New Zealand found themselves in big trouble with the early loss of the top three batters. Suzie Bates was the first to fall in an unfortunate run-out inflicted by Nat Sciver for 17 runs, paying the price for a mix-up with Lauren Down.
Shrubsole wreaked further damage with the wickets of Maddy Green (0) — caught by Freya Davies — and Down (11) — clean bowled. The visitors were reduced to 33/3 in 9.1 overs and needed Satterthwaite alongside Devine to rebuild the innings.
The pair did exactly that with a 56-run partnership for the fourth wicket before Charlotte Dean (3/52) snared the wicket of Devine, trapping her leg-before wicket for a hard-fought 41.
Satterthwaite was joined by Martin in the middle for an important partnership of 84 runs that laid the platform for New Zealand to go big in the final 10 overs.
Satterthwaite made her twenty-fourth ODI fifty, however, fell soon after to Dean. Martin meanwhile brought up her seventh ODI fifty in 65 deliveries.
Martin’s unbeaten 65 in 83 balls with cameos from Brooke Halliday (28 off 19 balls), and Hannah Rowe (15) pushed the New Zealand total to 244/8 in 50 overs which did not prove enough on this occasion.
Brief scores: New Zealand 288/8 in 50 overs (A Satterthwaite 54, S Devine 41, K Martin 65; C Dean 3/52) lost to England 245/7 in in 49.3 overs (H Knight 101, A Jones 40; H Rowe 4/47) by 3 wickets.