Starting the summer on 97 one-day international wickets, Jenny Gunn targeted reaching 100 soon but did not dare to dream she would achieve that with a five-for in her next game.
However, that is exactly what the 27-year-old seamer, playing her 108th ODI, did as England thrashed Pakistan by 111 runs yesterday at Louth in Lincolnshire.
The hosts’ 227 for seven was a decent total on a pitch favouring seam bowling, but Pakistan openers Nahida Khan and Javeria Khan reached 58 without loss in the 16th over to lay the foundations for the chase.
Gunn, whose five wicketless overs at the top of the innings cost just 17 runs, returned for the 32nd at 100 for two and took four wickets in 12 balls.
Another breakthrough in her penultimate over aided eventual figures of 5-22 from 10 overs, including a maiden, as the tourists slipped to 116 all out in the 42nd.
Speaking exclusively to ecb.co.uk, Gunn said: “I knew I was close. It was definitely a target I wanted to reach. I thought it would take me a few games rather than three quick wickets really.
“I didn’t think it would happen so quickly though. I opened the bowling in the end and bowled more overs than I had done previously. So a great day and a great achievement.”
Gunn had Javeria Khan caught and Nida Dar stumped in the space of three deliveries. Then having Bismah Maroof caught behind and Batool Fatima lbw book-ended her next over. Her last wicket, like her first, came via a catch from captain Charlotte Edwards.
“I bowled a five-over spell up front and then not a lot happened,” Gunn explained. “Their openers, fair play to them, they batted well.
“Going into the middle overs Charlotte just said ‘you should bowl now’ and chucked me the ball. That was when it all happened. I went from not knowing I was opening the bowling to having the ball in my hand again. And the pitch did it for me as well, which was quite nice. It was a nice pitch to bowl on for me.”
Gunn and the England squad celebrated the win and her second international five-wicket haul with a barbecue at team-mate Arran Brindle’s nearby house.
“It’s just brilliant to get five wickets really. It doesn’t happen too often, definitely not in an international match. It makes it a pretty special day,” she said.
The sides meet again tomorrow in a second ODI at Loughborough ahead of two Twenty20 internationals on Friday at the same venue.
Following those games and a month’s international break is the Women’s Ashes, a multi-format competition for the first time, that Gunn believes England will be well-prepared for.
“Pakistan have improved massively so it’s always a challenge,” she added. “It’s nice to be in the England team again with everyone together, getting ready for what’s going to be a busy summer.”