England Women were denied an ODI series sweep over New Zealand as Sophie Devine’s superb century steered the tourists to a four-wicket victory in the third and final fixture at Leicester.
Amy Jones (78) and Tammy Beaumont (53) propelled England to 104-0 in the 21st over at Grace Road, only for New Zealand off-spinner Leigh Kasperek to then claim career-best figures of 5-39 and a run out as the hosts tumbled to 219 all out inside 48 overs.
England sniffed victory when they reduced the White Ferns to 84-3 and 150-5 but Devine stroked an unbeaten 117, her fifth ODI hundred and fourth in her last 10 innings, to guide the visitors to their target and to a first win over Heather Knight’s side this summer at the sixth attempt.
England, who beat New Zealand three times en route to the T20 tri-series title earlier this month, came into the game on the back of crushing victories of over 100 runs in the first two ODIs at Headingley and Derby.
Knight’s side were bossing proceedings on Friday, too, after electing to bat for the third time in the series, before Beaumont’s dismissal – the opener reverse-sweeping Kasperek behind, two balls after being dropped attempting the same shot – triggered a collapse.
Kasperek had Lauren Winfield (5) and Katherine Brunt (5) caught out, with those wickets sandwiching the run out of Nat Sciver (11) at the non-striker’s end – Kasperek turning a drive from Danni Wyatt onto the stumps.
The Scotland-born bowler then polished off the innings by trapping Sophie Ecclestone (1) lbw and finally bowling Laura Marsh (9) to better the 4-17 she picked up against Ireland in Dublin last month.
Knight – at the ground where she hit her sole ODI ton against Pakistan last summer during her side’s successful World Cup campaign – was bowled for 16 by Hayley Jensen in the seamer’s first ODI in four years, with Wyatt the top middle-order scorer with 18.
Brunt dismissed Watkin (0) lbw in the first over of the White Ferns’ reply – Watkin having been promoted to opener despite having scored nought and one in the first two ODIs as New Zealand tweaked a batting order skittled for 148 in Leeds and 118 in Derby.
Devine and Maddy Green (23) combined to add 74 for the second wicket before England struck twice with spin shortly after the drinks break, Green bowled by Ecclestone (2-39) from the first ball back and Bates dragging Marsh onto her stumps an over later.
Satterthwaite proved a fine ally for Devine during a partnership of 58 but when Brunt (2-40) bowled the former to overtake Jenny Gunn as England’s leading ODI wicket-taker with 136 scalps and Ecclestone trapped Bernadine Bezuidenhout lbw, the hosts seemed favourites.
Devine kept her nerve, though, bringing up her first hundred against England from 101 balls and guiding her side home with 32 balls in reserve – the run out of Katey Martin (23), who put on 46 with Devine for the sixth wicket before falling with 24 runs required, proving the final breakthrough.
Devine sealed victory with a six off Brunt in the 45th over as New Zealand moved above Australia and top of the ICC Women’s Championship, something England would have achieved had they triumphed.
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