New Zealand bare Barnsley's Brunt
Home-town heroine Katherine Brunt inspired England women to a series victory as her three scalps set up a nine-wicket win at Shaw Lane, Barnsley, in the fourth NatWest Women’s Series one-day international.
Playing at the ground where she learned her trade, which hosted its first international game today, Brunt led a disciplined display from England’s seam trio.
They strangled New Zealand’s batting to set up victory and an unassailable 3-1 series lead ahead of the final game at Lord’s on Tuesday.
A painstaking 84-ball 22 from opener Natalie Dodd typified the White Ferns’ slow-going as captain Aimee Watkins top-scored with 42, from two fewer deliveries than Dodd faced, out of 136 for nine in 50 overs.
Brunt returned 3-31 from 10 overs, while there were two wickets apiece for fellow seamer Jenny Gunn and left-arm spinner Holly Colvin.
Isa Guha, only recalled on the eve of the series, and Laura Marsh proved England’s most economical bowlers, sharing seven maidens en route to 1-11 and 0-17 respectively.
In reply, openers Sarah Taylor and Heather Knight knew they could afford to play circumspectly to avoid the loss of early wickets.
Although Knight departed to Sophie Devine, Claire Taylor showed her class in becoming the first player on either side to regularly find the boundary as she registered the game’s sole half-century.
She and Sarah Taylor added 98 to complete a comfortable win with 3.5 overs remaining, finishing unbeaten on 51 from 99 balls and 49 from 130 deliveries respectively.
Watkins fatefully opted to bat first, but Lucy Doolan made an encouraging start. However, she fell for 14 from 17 balls courtesy of Sarah Taylor’s stumping off Brunt.
England slowed the scoring to a crawl and the pressure told as Suzie Bates perished in the same fashion as Doolan.
Dodd inched along following a rain delay, seeing Sara McGlashan and Liz Perry bowled by Guha and Gunn respectively in quick succession.
The opener was put out of her misery in the 30th over, caught off Gunn, and Devine was held soon after off Colvin.
England’s star fielder Lydia Greenway ran out Nicola Browne in the 40th over with New Zealand’s score still in double figures.
Brunt returned to clean up Erin Bermingham and Watkins’ resistance ended with only a ball of the innings remaining when Greenway took her second catch off Colvin.
Despite the relatively low target, England took no chances as Sarah Taylor reined in her attacking instincts.
She and Knight saw their way through the opening powerplay to avoid early jitters.
Medium-pacer Devine gave New Zealand faint hope when broke through in the 18th over, bowling Knight for 18 from 48 deliveries.
However, Claire Taylor used all her experience to keep England well ahead of the required rate, striking six fours and the game’s only maximum.
She reached 50 from 92 balls before Sarah Taylor completed the resounding triumph with a four off Bates.
Player of the match Sarah Taylor said: “It was great batting with Claire Taylor, she kept me going.
“The Kiwi’s bowled well, but we were patient and the runs just came.”
Brunt said: “I never thought we would play here, it has been a dream come true for me.
“The conditions haven’t suited me in recent matches, but today it was a nice little seaming wicket.
“It meant the world to me to pick up a few wickets in front of my family.”