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Jones and Dean flip the script as England win from 79 for 6

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England 209 for 6 (Jones 92*, Dean 42*) beat New Zealand 207 (Bates 50, Bell 3-41, Dean 3-57, Cross 2-24) by four wickets

A record partnership by Amy Jones and Charlie Dean dragged England out of dire trouble and all the way to victory over New Zealand in their ODI series opener in Wellington.

Jones scored an unbeaten 92 and Dean 42 not out as the pair rescued their side from 79 for 6 with an unbroken 130-run stand, the highest for the seventh wicket or lower in women’s ODIs. It came after Kate Cross, Lauren Bell and Dean had combined to bowl New Zealand out for 207 inside 49 overs, despite Suzie Bates’ half-century.

New Zealand’s total looked well below par before the Kerr sisters, Amelia – who was captaining for the injured Sophie Devine – and Jess, joined Lea Tahuhu to run through the England line-up. Jess Kerr bowled Tammy Beaumont for a duck with a full toss on the fifth ball of the run chase and had her second when Heather Knight spooned one straight to Maddy Green at midwicket to make it 37 for 2.

Tahuhu removed in-form England opener Maia Bouchier with her seventh ball of the match, caught by Green at square leg and then Amelia Kerr had Alice Capsey lbw for a duck as she tried to reverse-sweep, putting the tourists at 55 for 4.

Tahuhu made Danni Wyatt jump with a short, sharp ball to begin with and when Nat Sciver-Brunt was run out for just 12 two balls later, England were five wickets down inside 14 overs. Amelia Kerr’s googly went straight through Wyatt to elicit an elated shout of “come on!” from New Zealand’s stand-in skipper, who sensed a win that had looked unlikely after the home side’s innings.

But Jones and Dean built a calm, rock-solid partnership to steady England, Jones bringing up her fifty off 52 balls with a four over deep midwicket off Tahuhu and finishing two runs shy of her best ODI score when Dean struck the winning runs, a four off Fran Jonas.

England had bowled with discipline and authority, sending down 169 dot balls as they kept a lid on New Zealand and took wickets at regular intervals. Bell and Dean claimed three wickets apiece but Cross was particularly impressive.

Cross hadn’t played for England since the December Test against India and only one white-ball game – for England A at Nelson four days ago – since mid-September, having warmed the bench for RCB throughout the WPL. But she showed no signs of rust during her 2 for 24 with an economy rate of 2.40, and two crucial maidens in a six-over spell during the powerplay.

Bates capitalised on a couple of early missed opportunities for England, Sophie Ecclestone appearing to dive over a ball that ultimately dropped just short of her at mid-on from Cross and Sciver-Brunt putting down a more straightforward chance at midwicket off Bell’s first delivery in the next over. Bates dominated a 90-run opening stand with Bernadine Bezuidenhout, having survived another chance on 17 when England failed to review a Bell yorker which replays showed had struck Bates’ toe first and was on track to hit leg stump.

Bezuidenhout faced 12 balls before getting off the mark and had 4 off 25 as New Zealand crawled to the 10-over mark at 30 without loss. Bates brought up her fifty off 73 balls with a single off Ecclestone and it was offspinner Dean who made the breakthrough, drawing Bates down the pitch with a ball that was turned away slightly and found an edge, gathered by Jones behind the stumps. Bezuidenhout gritted her way to 35 off 62 deliveries before she attempted to sweep Ecclestone and was struck on the back thigh to make it 100 for 2 for New Zealand.

Cross bowled exceptional line and length. She struck Georgia Plimmer high on the back pad, New Zealand’s failure to review ensuring she was sent packing for 17, and trapped Amelia Kerr lbw also.

Dean conceded 15 runs off her fifth over, which included three wide deliveries, but she claimed her 50th ODI wicket in her 26th match, the fastest woman to reach the milestone, in an excellent reposte to Brooke Halliday’s crisp four through long off, finding an edge which was snaffled by Jones. When Green looped a simple catch off a Bell slower ball straight back to the bowler, New Zealand had lost four wickets for just 20 runs in the space of eight overs and were now six down.

Hannah Rowe and Izzy Gaze, the latter fresh off a maiden international half-century in the fifth and final T20I, put on a 32-run partnership for the seventh wicket but Sciver-Brunt had Rowe caught by Knight and Bell yorked Gaze for 18, attempting her favoured lap shot.

When Dean claimed her third, Tahuhu holing out to Wyatt running to her right from long-on, the hosts were in danger of being bowled out inside 50 overs and Bell ensured that was the case with another excellent yorker that crashed into Jess Kerr’s middle stump.

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor, women’s cricket, at ESPNcricinfo



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