England’s Sophie Ecclestone rips into New Zealand for big fightback

first_imgThe tall teenage twirler’s main weapon on the day was her quicker delivery from round the wicket that went through the gate and past the inside edge of right-handers on three occasions. She was also twice helped out by Sarah Taylor stumpings when she beat the outside half of the blade when players tried to take the attack to her. After play, the Lancastrian said she was still “bricking it” every time she walks out for England. That never showed on Saturday.After their record onslaught on Wednesday, England hit only one six in their 40 overs at the crease. It made Sciver’s 59 all the more impressive that she did not need to shift into overdrive to reach the required results. She entered at an almost identical time in the first rubber and threw it away after getting a start. Against New Zealand she took responsibility as the senior pro to insist a healthy total would come. Her placement through point, in particular, was a standout.Knight had a smile on her face after striking within two balls of bringing herself into the attack in a match against New Zealand that had plenty riding on it – as the first of a raft of fixtures the sides play against each other in the coming weeks. That it was from a sharp return catch to see the back of the dangerous Amy Satterthwaite, her teammate in the Women’s Big Bash League, must have added to her glee.England play New Zealand once more at Bristol on Wednesday in their final group game before the final next Sunday. With a vastly superior net run-rate to South Africa, it would take something outlandish for Knight’s side not to reach the decider.This trophy does not mean a lot in isolation, but in a World T20 year everything matters. And if Ecclestone can keep proving her match-winning credentials she will be one of the first on that plane to the Caribbean. 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The Observer Share via Email South Africa beat England in thrilling women’s T20 international Cricket Women’s cricket Share on Pinterest Support The Guardian Share on Twitter match reports Since you’re here… Share on Facebook England women’s cricket team England’s women bounced back with style to split the difference in their T20 double-header, clinically accounting for New Zealand by 54 runs after losing an error-riddled thriller to South Africa earlier in the day to all but secure their progress to the tournament final.Key to the victory was the left-arm finger-spinner Sophie Ecclestone, who ripped the heart out of the White Ferns’ chase of 173, claiming four for 18 in her best display yet as an international cricketer. She was given the nod as player of the match ahead of Nat Sciver, who top-scored with 59 from 37 balls – her best outing of the summer.The England captain, Heather Knight, said that it had been a test of her side’s character how they responded to the chaotic loss against the Proteas. Then, the hosts were unable to defend 160, dropping four catches along the way. Opener Tammy Beaumont propelled them to that middling score after batting first against the side they built a world record score against three days earlier, out in the penultimate over for 71 on the back of three centuries.That they still had nine runs to play with when the final over began flattered the home side but Sune Luus (63 not out) left no doubt about the final result for the resilient visitors by hitting three boundaries to confirm the win with three balls to space, sealed with a six. She finished the work of powerhitter Lizelle Lee, who launched the ball over the leg-side rope six times on the way to a 37-ball 68 that silenced the healthy Taunton crowd.Second time around, England were able to get rid of New Zealand’s equivalent, their powerful opener Sophie Devine holing out in the second over having already belted two sixes. More crucial again was Katherine Brunt’s beautiful bit of seam bowling to trap the talismanic Kiwi captain, Suzie Bates, lbw for 23. She was yet to get in the book herself but Ecclestone was crucial to that wicket having sent down a maiden the over before to build the pressure. Read more Reuse this contentlast_img

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