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England v New Zealand: Sophie Devine's century leads tourists to victory

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Third one-day international, Leicester
England 219 (47.4 overs): Jones 78, Beaumont 53, Kasperek 5-39
New Zealand 224-6 (44.4 overs): Devine 117, Ecclestone 2-39
New Zealand win by four wickets; England win series 2-1
Scorecard

England women wasted a fantastic start to lose the third one-day international against New Zealand by four wickets.

The home side reached 104-0 after winning the toss at Grace Road, but lost all 10 wickets for 115 runs to be bowled out for 219.

Sophie Devine’s unbeaten 117 led New Zealand to victory with more than five overs to spare.

It gives the White Ferns a consolation win in a series that England have taken 2-1.

Perhaps more importantly, New Zealand claim two points in the Women’s Championship, putting them second and ahead of England in the race for qualification for the 2021 World Cup.

For England, it ends an international summer during which they have also won an ODI series against South Africa and a Twenty20 competition involving both the Proteas and New Zealand.

Their players now turn their attention to the domestic T20 Super League, which begins on 22 July, before they bid to add to the World T20 to their 50-over world title in the Caribbean in November.

An innings of two halves

The progress made by England openers Amy Jones and Tammy Beaumont on a bright afternoon suggested New Zealand were on the way to a hammering.

Jones and Beaumont were entirely untroubled in their century stand, punishing some sloppy White Ferns bowling.

However, Beaumont’s departure for 53 – caught behind trying to reverse-sweep off-spinner Leigh Kasperek – was the beginning of England’s struggles against New Zealand’s slower bowlers.

The accurate Kasperek led the way with 5-39, while Jess Watkin chipped in with 2-38, including Jones stumped for 78.

New Zealand’s fielding improved – they took some smart catches and enjoyed some luck – and Nat Sciver was run out backing up after Kasperek dropped a return catch.

England, though, did not adapt to the slowing conditions and were bowled out with 16 deliveries still remaining.

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Devine anchors New Zealand

Even after their collapse, England may have felt confident the target would be beyond a New Zealand side that had been dismissed for 148 and 118 earlier in the series.

In response to their struggles, the tourists separated regular opening pair Devine and Suzie Bates, with Devine ultimately taking responsibility for the chase.

England did have the opportunity to remove her – Jones, keeping wicket in place of the rested Sarah Taylor, dropped a chance standing up to Georgia Elwiss when Devine was on 30.

Reprieved, Devine added 74 for the second wicket with Maddy Green and, after Bates played an awful mow to be bowled by Laura Marsh, followed that with a stand of 58 with Amy Sattherthwaite.

When Satterthwaite and Bernadine Bezuidenhout fell in the space of eight runs, New Zealand still needed 70 with only five wickets in hand.

But Devine found an ally in Katey Martin, completing her fifth ODI century in a partnership of 44.

And though Martin was run out with 24 still required, Devine remained, hitting Katherine Brunt for six to complete victory.

Katherine Brunt celebrates a wicket with teammates

Devine’s ‘most mature innings yet’ – what they said

New Zealand captain Suzie Bates, who dropped down the order for this match: “I was stoked seeing the girls play so well, and Sophie’s innings was just outstanding.

“We had long discussions around the batting order. I thought Sophie was the best player up the order in the powerplay. It’s her most mature innings yet.”

Player of the match Sophie Devine: “We’ve been disappointed with the way we have batted but we have really knuckled down.

“I knew I had to dig in and bat through today, it wasn’t an easy pitch to bat on.”

England captain Heather Knight: “It’s been a brilliant summer for the girls. We have played some exciting cricket, especially ahead of the T20 World Cup.

“We’re delighted to beat a quality New Zealand team over the series. The bowlers have been outstanding, but Sophie played an outstanding innings today.”

Former England batter Lydia Greenway, speaking on Test Match Special: “I was very impressed with Amy Jones.

“She obviously batted very well but she also kept nicely (Sarah Taylor was rested). A sign of a good keeper is that you don’t notice them. She’s did a great job.”

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