England wrapped up the women's ODI series against New Zealand over the weekend, showing the men how to do it over the 50-over format. Their 3-2 success was clinched with victory in the final game, which topped off a successful limited overs performance in New Zealand, after also taking the Twenty20 series. Sadly for them, the last two ODI matches did not count towards the ICC Championship that determines qualification for the 2017 World Cup, with the White Ferns leading 2-1 in the three matches that did count. The player of the series award went to Sarah Taylor, whose innings in the final match probably tipped the scales England's way, as they ran out winners by 5 wickets.
New Zealand batted first in Lincoln in the fifth and decisive ODI match, after being put in by the visitors, and posted a decent total of 230-8 off their fifty overs. The major contributors to their score were Katie Perkins with 70 not out and Sophie Devine with 58, both women scoring five boundaries apiece. Unfortunately for them, none of the other batters could go on to score sizeable innings, despite several of them getting good starts.
The pick of the England bowlers was probably Rebecca Grundy with 3-36 from her ten overs, although Laura Marsh (2-32) and Kate Cross (2-42) supported her well.
Chasing 231 for the victory, England achieved their target with five overs remaining of their innings. Wicketkeeper Taylor top scored with a timely 93 off 99 deliveries, supported admirably by Natalie Sciver's 65 not out, as England reached 232-5 to take the match and with it the series. Sciver and Katherine Brunt shared an unbeaten 65-run stand for the sixth wicket to see England over the line.
The final words on their performance were reserved for their outstanding captain Charlotte Edwards, who passed the landmark of 200 appearances as skipper during the series in New Zealand. She said: "I am delighted that we have ultimately been able to finish positively, with series victories in both the ODIs and T20Is." Acknowledging their slow start to the matches in the southern hemisphere, she was pleased with their response and ultimate success.
It has been an exciting tour for England, with the result of both series going right down to the wire, as the teams traded victories throughout. Only winning one game that actually qualified towards World Cup qualification (the 2017 event being held in England) was a bit of a blow to the confidence and hopes of the side, but they have shown grit and determination to not allow that to prevent that from their ultimate triumph in the series overall. #Cricket