White Ferns level series


Claire Taylor hit six boundaries in her 66 but England will feel slightly disappointed with their total of 208 for nine at Taunton

England lost their grip on the NatWest Women's ODI Series after Suzie Bates guided New Zealand to a comfortable four-wicket win with 13 balls remaining of the second of five matches.

Chasing 209 to level the series, the 22-year-old New Zealander, more accumulator than her usual blaster, finished unbeaten on 75 not out from 107 balls, an indication of how well she paced her innings.

Bates also took 3-27 earlier in the day, holding her nerve at the death as England threw away a platform for a big total.

At one stage England were in real danger of not even being competitive as they slipped to 59 for three in the 17th over with debutant Erin Bermingham causing most of the early damage.

The home side struggled to negotiate the 22-year-old leg-spinner - quite a rare sight in the women's game - with Heather Knight chipping back a caught and bowled and Sarah Taylor adjudged leg-before attempting a sweep shot when hitting down the ground might have been a better ploy.

Charlotte Edwards, who was introduced to the enthusiastic Taunton crowd as the third-highest run-scorer in ODI cricket following her 70 just 48 hours earlier, added just five to her impressive career tally before she played around a straight ball from Sophie Devine and was lbw.

World number one batsman Claire Taylor found a useful ally in Lydia Greenway, who missed Saturday's series opener which England won with food poisoning, and the pair began the slow rebuilding process.

Initially starved of boundaries, both batsmen finally found their touch with Taylor hitting Bermingham powerfully down the ground for four and Greenway punishing a full-toss from Lucy Doolan.

The left-hander then cracked two fine boundaries down the ground, one over mid-on and the other clearing mid-off as the runs started to come more easily.

But having put on 79 to take England to 138 for three with 15 overs remaining, England were undermined by a combination of poor running and inspired fielding.

Greenway, on 40, unwisely gambled on a second run and was caught short of her ground, soon followed by Taylor who pushed a quick single to Sara McGlashan at midwicket, the fielder picking up and brilliantly throwing down the stumps to dismiss the star batsman for 66. It was her 20th ODI half-century but something more substantial was within her grasp.

Laura Marsh, who made just one, was the last of the three run-out victims as England slumped to 170 for six with just seven overs remaining.

Jenny Gunn hit a spirited 23 while Danielle Hazell and Katherine Brunt swung hard in the late dash for runs but England struggled to hit crucial boundaries as Bates sent in a succession of yorkers.

Suzie Bates

Suzie Bates was the undisputed player of the match after she scored 75 not out to add to her 3-27 earlier in the day

England made an early breakthrough with the ball when Marsh bowled Maria Fahey in the eighth over - a wicket that would have prompted a huge sigh of relief from Gunn who had dropped the opener off Brunt three overs earlier.

The pugnacious Lucy Doolan, long blonde mane poking out from beneath her black helmet, responded by hitting Brunt for two boundaries off the next over.

But just as England might have started to worry, Marsh conjured up another wicket to leave New Zealand 38 for two in the 10th over, the ball looping up off Doolan's bat to wicketkeeper Taylor who took a simple catch.

Bates, whose mammoth 168 against Pakistan last year is the third highest women's ODI score, greeted the introduction of Holly Colvin by cracking her for two boundaries in quick succession, but the left-arm spinner did not have to wait long for a wicket.

Amy Satterthwaite, wanting to make the most of the final bowling powerplay over, mistimed an attempted lofted drive to Brunt at mid-on who took an excellent tumbling catch to reduce the tourists to 57 for three.

Much like England did a few hours earlier, New Zealand's fourth-wicket stand, between Bates and Sara McGlashan, was the mainstay of the innings.

The pair had mustered a watchful 54 when McGlashan unwisely charged at Hazell and was smartly stumped by Taylor.

At 111 for four, much rested on Bates who shunned her aggressive reputation in favour of a more cautious approach which saw her reach 50 from 85 balls.

Finally removing the shackles to pull Brunt for four in the 39th over, Bates decided on all-out attack after Marsh bowled Sophie Devine to leave the score 161 for five at the end of the 41st over.

Calling for the batting powerplay, Bates and the inventive Nicola Browne took the game away from England who were left to rue not scoring around 30 more runs.

Edwards said: "We were 20 or 30 runs short with the bat, despite Claire Taylor and Lydia Greenway’s good performance.

"We bowled well, but missed too many run-outs, which cost us in the end. It’s one apiece, so we will look towards the next game at Derby now."

That match at the County Ground, Derby, takes place on Thursday.