Sophie Ecclestone seals the deal as England skittle New Zealand in first ODI

England skittled New Zealand for 211 in 46.3 overs at Bristol to take first blood in the ODI series, winning by 30 runs despite being bowled out for an under-par 241 earlier in the day.

Put in to bat, England had sunk to 140 for five in the 32nd over but the captain Heather Knight’s calm, controlled 89 marshalled a recovery for the second time in as many matches, this time assisted by a streaky but quickfire 43 in 51 balls from Katherine Brunt. Knight plopped the ball back into the hands of bowler Leigh Kasperek in the 47th over, falling 11 runs short of a second ODI hundred, but went on to snaffle two crucial catches at first slip as what should have been a straightforward run chase for the Kiwis proved anything but.

The stage was set in New Zealand’s first 10 overs, in which they scored just 17 runs for the loss of two wickets. At that point Brunt’s bowling figures read, astoundingly, 4-4-0-0. Meanwhile her fiancée Nat Sciver picked up the key wicket of Suzie Bates, edging to first slip, before inducing Lauren Down to drive into the hands of Amy Jones behind the stumps.

Maddy Green had scored the lone boundary of the New Zealand powerplay, thrashing Kate Cross through the covers, but she fell for 19, handing Knight her second slip catch of the day. While Amy Satterthwaite and Sophie Devine shared a 78-run partnership in 16 overs for the fourth wicket, England continued to bowl disciplined lines, and Cross eventually made the key breakthrough in the 29th over – Devine (34 off 59) pulling to mid-on.

Satterthwaite progressed to her 23rd ODI fifty, finishing unbeaten on 79, but it proved to be in vain as wickets fell continually at the other end. It was Sophie Ecclestone’s two in two balls in the 32nd over that in effect sealed the deal: Katey Martin top-edging to Freya Davies at short fine leg before Brooke Halliday was bowled for a duck, deceived by the left-armer’s flight.

A brilliant piece of fielding from Lauren Winfield-Hill, throwing in from mid-on, wrapped things up in the 47th over as Kasperek was run out for 15 with a direct hit. Amongst the carnage, the off-spinner Charlie Dean finished with one for 53 on her international debut, bowling Jess Kerr with a beauty of a ball that turned to hit the top of her off stump.

Vroeër, England had got off to a solid enough start with the bat, with openers Winfield-Hill and Tammy Beaumont putting on 43 in the first eight overs, but Winfield-Hill (21 off 24) then snicked Hannah Rowe’s second ball of the day down the leg side and was caught behind. Beaumont (44 off 75) survived an early scare, put down by a diving Green at first slip when still in single figures, and went on to share a 65-run partnership with Knight, lofting Kasperek over long-off in a move that appeared to signal intent.

It was not to be: in die heel volgende boulbeurt, the 24th, she was sent packing by Devine, with a little help from DRS. Rapped on the pad but given not out, Devine rightly sent the decision upstairs and Beaumont had to go.

Lea Tahuhu, returning to international action for the first time since undergoing three surgeries to remove a pre-cancerous mole on her right foot, then inspired a mid-innings collapse, rattling the stumps of both Sciver and Amy Jones She finished with figures of two for 32 at an impressive economy of just a touch above three, as England lost four wickets for 31 runs.

But an appeal to DRS by Brunt on 12* prevented Tahuhu from celebrating a third scalp – Ultra Edge showing Brunt, adjudged lbw, had got bat on ball – and she readily capitalised on the reprieve. While Kerr (three for 42) struck twice in the closing overs, yorking Brunt before seeing off the debutant Dean lbw, a strong last 10 proved enough to see England home.

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