Sarah Taylor and captain Charlotte Edwards proved to be the match winners for England's women cricketers in Lincoln, as they levelled their ODI series against New Zealand with a convincing nine-wicket victory today. The much needed success ensured that the final match between the two well-matched sides will become a winner takes all contest.
After clinching the Twenty20 series against the same opposition two days earlier, the Red Rose nation were clearly in buoyant mood as they went into their fourth ODI game against the White Ferns. The two sides will be beginning to know each other extremely well after playing so many times already, over such a short period of time, yet neither side seems to have as of yet managed to completely dominate the other. That sets the final game up into an intriguing encounter on Saturday to see which side plays better on the day.
England may feel that they are wearing the home side down somewhat though after this latest crushing defeat, as they clearly benefited from winning the toss and putting the hosts in to bat first. New Zealand struggled from the outset, losing two early wickets for just 15 runs. A third wicket partnership of 54 brought them back into the contest slightly, but a succession of wickets tumbled thereafter as they lost six key wickets for just 30 runs to stand at a precarious 99-8. Respectability was ensured by a 'wagging' tail that allowed them to reach the modest total of 168 all out from the last bowl of the innings. The bowlers seemed to work well as a combined unit throughout, with Kate Cross (5-24) and Rebecca Grundy (3-36) taking the headlines.
That always looked far too few runs to defend against the rampant English line-up and so it proved. Despite losing opener Heather Knight cheaply and the Kiwis trying all manner of permutations in the bowling attack (eight bowlers were used in all), the visitors cruised to their target without losing another wicket. Taylor (89) and Edwards (64) shared in an unbeaten second wicket partnership of 158 to reach their required total off just 32.1 overs. #Cricket