White Ferns hold off brave Taylor
Sarah Taylor fell agonisingly short in a valiant attempt to deny New Zealand women squaring the NatWest Twenty20 series at the Rose Bowl.
In pursuit of a challenging target of 148 in the first of two Twenty20 matches on this ground today - Hampshire Royals and Glamorgan Dragons follow in the Friends Provident t20 - Taylor received little or no support from her team-mates as England stumbled to 29 for four.
That did not stop the opener, with a brave and innovative 73 from 64 balls, from trying to salvage an unlikely reprieve for the 2009 World Twenty20 winners.
But her run-out to the last ball of the penultimate over by Amy Satterthwaite left the tail too much to do, although Katherine Brunt at least took the issue down to the final delivery.
England would have been delighted to be chasing merely 148, especially when Suzie Bates and Sara McGlashan were sharing in a stand of 105 for the second wicket.
The hosts appeared to have little answer to the two big hitters, who three times cleared the ropes in taking the White Ferns to 115 three quarters of the way through their innings.
It took a fine throw in the deep by Brunt to rid England of McGlashan for 47, and the tourists lost all impetus when Bates was caught by Jenny Gunn off Danielle Hazell in the 17th over.
Hazell and her spin colleagues then swarmed upon the middle-order, Taylor twice completing stumpings to check the scoring rate.
Brunt's second run-out, seeing off Nicola Browne after a solitary six, restricted New Zealand to 147 for eight.
England suffered a shocking start in reply, in part due to an instance of misfortune with which all cricketers will sympathise.
Taylor unleashed a sweet straight drive to Browne's opening delivery of the innings, only for the groping bowler to get a hand to it and run out Charlotte Edwards at the non-striker's end without facing a ball.
Claire Taylor followed to an uncharacteristic heave across the line, with Laura Marsh and Lydia Greenway also failing.
Sarah Taylor finally received support, in the form of the hard-hitting Gunn, who treated Lucy Doolan's looping off-spinners with the requisite disdain.
Gunn helped add 24 in a stand of 80 before Satterthwaite, recalled to the XI today, returned to provide a sting in the tail.
Three wickets went down for 23 runs, but an unchanged England were still in the hunt until Taylor, attempting a necessary heave over square-leg, toe-ended back to Satterthwaite, who threw back for wicketkeeper Rachel Priest to complete the run-out.
Brunt's edged four left England needing what would have been their first six of the innings to win, off the final ball, but she drove direct to cover for a single.
Edwards said: “We didn’t get off to the best start, but fought back well. Sarah played fantastically well, as did Jenny Gunn.
"We just couldn’t quite finish it off. We haven't played our best cricket so I’m looking forward to tomorrow; we’ve got everything to play for.”
The decisive game of Twenty20 series is tomorrow at Hove, starting at 2.10pm, before the FP t20 match between Sussex Sharks and Middlesex Panthers at 7.10pm.