A much sharper batting performance saw the New Zealand White Ferns turn the tables on England today at Whangarei’s Cobham Oval in the second of three Twenty20 Internationals.
After being invited to bowl in overcast, humid conditions, the Ferns restricted England to 122/5. Left-arm spinner Morna Nielsen made twin key early breakthroughs, enticing a leading edge from Charlotte Edwards to have the in-form England captain caught for an eight-ball duck, then accounting for struggling first drop Sarah Taylor cheaply four overs later.
At the halfway mark, England were 51/ 2 and under pressure to lift their strike rate, but Erin Bermingham crucially stopped opener Lauren Winfield on 48 in the 17th over, after Winfield skied a straightforward catch to Amy Satterthwaite. The wicket prevented England’s sole ‘set’ batter from a chance to cash in at the death, leaving Heather Knight to blitz a quick 30 off 15 balls before she was run out going for a tight second run on the final ball of the innings after Kate Broadmore rocketed the ball to the keeper’s end.
New Zealand then stepped up to the plate as if yesterday’s shock loss had never happened, getting off to a flier thanks to Rachel Priest and Suzie Bates. Priest was the chief aggressor, quickly finding the legside boundary as she swept and drove for seven fours and a six (off Anya Shrubsole) in her 33-ball knock of 41, before lofting a catch to the long-on boundary.
Priest helped put on 64 for the first wicket to keep the Ferns in control of a run-a-ball chase, Sophie Devine stepping up in her wake and lofting a six off Danielle Hazell to the mid-wicket boundary — this time over the head of Lydia Greenway, who plucked the ball out of the air in the same spot yesterday.
The moment was symptomatic of a dramatic reversal of fortune in the rapid-fire start to the Series. Commented Bates, “The good thing about batting with Priesty is some days it’s her that gets off to that flier, some days it’s me and we balance each other nicely. Then Sophie came in and scored at over a run a ball. That’s the way we want to play Twenty20s. Rachel and Sophie are such big hitters that if we can bat around them and let them play like that, we’re going to be successful.”
Listen to Suzie Bates' full post-match interview
The White Ferns clinched the match with four balls to spare when Kate Broadmore punched a boundary to cow corner, levelling the Twenty20 International Series 1-1. The teams now move to Lincoln for the final Twenty20 International on Tuesday, before a further two ODIs complete England’s tour.