England v New Zealand: Heather Knight inspires hosts to ODI series victory

Fourth women’s one-day international, The Incora County Ground, Derby:
New Zealand 244-8 (50 overs): Martin 65*, Satterthwaite 54, Dean 3-52
England 245-7 (49.3 overs): Knight 101, Rowe 4-47
England won by three wickets; lead series 3-1

Heather Knight’s century inspired England to their highest successful run chase in a one-day international as they beat New Zealand by three wickets to clinch the five-match series with a game to spare in Derby.

Captain Knight’s brilliant 101 helped England recover from 71-3 as they chased 245 for victory under the lights.

Her 100-run partnership with Amy Jones (40) went some way to securing the game for England, but the skipper was frustrated to fall with her side still needing eight runs from the final 10 balls.

The hosts went into the final over still needing a run a ball to win, but Anya Shrubsole hit five runs from the first three balls, before a Leigh Kasperek wide handed the win to England.

New Zealand earlier reached 244-8 from their 50 overs, anchored by 65 not out from Katey Martin and Amy Satterthwaite’s 54.

Off-spinner Charlie Dean again impressed with 3-52 before Knight produced an innings of real maturity to make only the seventh England century in a women’s ODI run chase.

The hosts were bolstered by the return of Shrubsole from an ankle injury, as she and Freya Davies took two wickets apiece in what has been a successful series for the hosts’ seamers.

The White Ferns were lacking an extra pace dimension in their bowling after opting to rest Lea Tahuhu, who took five wickets in Leicester on Tuesday, and Molly Penfold.

The final match of the series takes place at Canterbury on Sunday at 11:00 BST.

Knight leads England (almost) home

There had been no century in a women’s international this summer until Knight’s superb knock on Thursday evening.

She arrived at the crease with England in what is becoming a worryingly familiar position. Lauren Winfield-Hill again looked good in making 33 before she was bowled by Hannah Rowe, and Tammy Beaumont fell to another cheap dismissal as she fiddled at a legside Rowe delivery.

When Sciver was pinned lbw by Rowe (4-47), England were struggling. But Knight is the most reassuring figure in this England side – a calm head which has been honed by the captaincy and the rise of her limited-overs batting in the past few years.

There was no celebration when she reached her half-century. Knight knew that England were still not fully out of the trouble they had found themselves in.

Despite losing Jones, who found her best form of the series in the century stand, and Sophia Dunkley for a duck to Rowe, Knight simply kept going. Her manipulation of the field was excellent, as were her sweep shots that often found the boundary.

She and Wyatt hit 13 runs off the 44th over – including a six from Wyatt that flew over the legside boundary – to put England within touching distance.

It was only when Knight reached her century, having to dive to make her ground, that she allowed herself to celebrate – albeit with a slightly sheepish look as she picked herself up off the floor.

While the match went closer than Knight may have liked, it was testament to her skill that England were able to get over the line.

More to follow.

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