Heather Knight struck a magnificent century in the fourth ODI at Derby, as England overcame New Zealand’s total of 244 with three wickets left – their highest ever successful run chase in one-day internationals – to seal a 3-1 series win with one game to play.
A career-best four for 47 from the seamer Hannah Rowe ensured the chase was not without nerves. Rowe’s first six-over spell reduced England from 52 without loss to 71 for three. Lauren Winfield-Hill (33) was bowled by a ball that jagged back off the pitch, while Tammy Beaumont (16) edged behind and Nat Sciver (11) tangled herself up playing around a straight one and was trapped lbw.
The England captain, Knight (101), shared a century partnership with Amy Jones to calm English nerves, but Rowe then struck again in the 38th over – Jones (40) toeing to mid-off with 74 runs still needed. Amy Satterthwaite then trapped Sophia Dunkley lbw for a duck, to leave England 185 for 5 in the 40th over.
Rowe’s final over, though, cost 13 runs – including a six smashed over the legside by the unflappable Danni Wyatt – to put England back on course. Knight eventually brought up three figures with a drive through backward point in the 47th over.
But Knight holed out to deep midwicket in the 49th over, and three balls later Sophie Devine also saw off Wyatt (27 off 27 balls) who heaved across the line and was trapped lbw.
However Anya Shrubsole walloped Leigh Kasperek down the ground, for four before biffing a single – and despite Katey Martin whipping off the bails to stump Sophie Ecclestone, Kasperek’s delivery was wide, sealing the deal with three balls to spare.
Earlier New Zealand had been reduced to 33 for three in the powerplay after Knight won the toss and inserted the visitors. Suzie Bates (17) had sent Shrubsole’s first two balls of the series crashing to the boundary, but in the sixth over she hit the ball to Sciver at midwicket, dashed down the pitch, was sent back and dived too early. The wicketkeeper, Jones, ran Bates out an inch short of her crease.
Shrubsole, who had sat on the sidelines for the first three ODIs after spraining her ankle in training a fortnight ago, then took wickets in successive overs: Tuesday’s heroine Maddy Green gently plonked one into the hands of Freya Davies at mid-on for a duck, before Lauren Down (41) was deceived by a beauty that swung in and straightened to take out her off stump.
Devine took on Ecclestone, slogging her over deep backward square for six, but was trapped lbw by Charlie Dean nine runs short of her half-century. Devine’s appeal to the third umpire was more in hope in expectation: ball tracking indicated the impact would have been halfway down middle stump.
Half-centuries from Satterthwaite (54) and Martin (65 not out), and some hefty ball-striking from Brooke Halliday (28 from 19) at the back end of the innings, though, helped New Zealand recover to 244 for eight.
Both fifty-makers were the beneficiaries of early let-offs by England, and made the hosts pay, sharing an 84-run partnership. With Satterthwaite on 13, Ecclestone fell attempting a tough caught-and-bowled chance that disappeared through her hands. Martin was rapped on the pad by Dean when still in single figures, and was fortunate that England chose not to review it – replays showed that the ball would have hit leg stump.
Dean, who returned three for 52, eventually bowled Satterthwaite around her legs in the 39th over, and – after being smashed over her head for six by Halliday – saw off the left-hander in the 45th over, inducing a leading edge to Sciver at cover. Davies then chimed in with a couple of quick wickets at the death, bowling Hayley Jensen and Rowe, and though Martin – whose half-century was her first since March 2017 – remained defiant until the end, the New Zealand total proved not quite enough.