- England (72/3) beat NZ (71/9) by seven wickets
In front of their biggest crowd since the triumphant 2017 World Cup final, England sent out a chilling statement of intent with a resounding seven-wicket victory over New Zealand. By tearing the White Ferns to shreds in Birmingham and destroying their goal of 72 with more than eight overs to go, England qualified for the Commonwealth Games semi-finals. They will already be watching a gold medal clash with Australia on Sunday.
New Zealand captain Sophie Devine won the toss and chose to bat first but would regret that decision. Four balls into the innings, she had her leg stump uprooted by Katherine Brunt, who got one that bounced significantly off the deck with a rip-off cutter. A replica ball in her next to it cramped Amelia Kerr and kissed the center stump. Brunt would finish with two for four from three overs as New Zealand stumbled to 10 for two.
“The older I got, I realized that the faster I come, the faster it goes to the limit,” said Brunt, 37, of her progress in a 17-year career. “[The cutter] is my banker. If I’m right, it’s very hard to play.”
New Zealand was 12 for three and then 21 for four when Suzie Bates shot Izzy Wong to midwicket. Brooke Halliday made the injury worse when she walked away after a disastrous mix-up that ended with her alongside her partner, Maddy Green, at the end of the striker.
The wickets kept falling. Hayley Jensen was Wong’s second victim in the 10th over when she nudged an agile, slower ball to the hand to point. Once Green was bowled by Sophie Ecclestone for a top score of 19, the match was essentially over.
Sarah Glenn’s slipping leg spin was good for two New Zealand batters. Lea Tahuhu was held back for seven at the bottom of her wafting drive and Rosemary Mair missed a full toss and was bowled for a duck. In between those layoffs, the more comical run between the wickets ended with Isabella Gaze sent off for four.
But New Zealand clung on and ended their innings at 71 for nine. That they were avoided being thrown out was little consolation.
Each of the 10,892 in attendance must have expected an early finish. But England’s chase faltered with Danni Wyatt twisting Fran Jones’ left arm finger over in the first. Wicket-keeper Gaze held the skier tight.
That brought 17-year-old Alice Capsey to the fold and a silence descended on the floor. Maybe that’s a touch of romantic throwback, but there’s something special about this teenage sensation who looks like she was born to knock bowlers against the fence. Her first boundary was a fine move from Jonas after she went over her stumps to make room.