England outclass New Zealand to take tri-series title
England Women 141 for 3 (Wyatt 50) beat New Zealand Women 137 for 9 by seven wickets
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Danni Wyatt blasted a half-century as England cruised to an emphatic seven-wicket victory over New Zealand in the Vitality Tri-Series final at Chelmsford. It was England's third win of the series against New Zealand and, with the Women's World T20 just five months away, it was an encouraging result as they aim to add that trophy to their World Cup title.
Batting first, New Zealand started their innings aggressively before collapsing to lose six wickets for 39 runs. After restricting New Zealand to just 137, England reach the target with 17 balls remaining, making hay with the bat on a sweltering afternoon, Wyatt and Tammy Beaumont in particular taking advantage of a favourable pitch and a fast outfield.
Beaumont, who was the leading run-scorer for the tournament looked supremely confident in the early overs, whether reverse-sweeping with precision or driving with power and timing.
But Wyatt accelerated towards the end of the Powerplay. She displayed her range and innovation nicely against Hayley Jensen in the space of four balls in the sixth over; firstly with a no-look ramp shot, then a lovely cover drive and finally a delicate dab to third man. All three shots went for four runs.
Wyatt brought up her 50 in 34 balls but was out on the next delivery, a thick outside edge off Suzie Bates ballooning to short third man where Leigh Kasperek juggled the ball three times before safely taking the catch.
But Amelia Kerr ensured it wasn't all smooth sailing for England. The precociously talented 17-year-old took two wickets in two balls. Beaumont danced down the pitch to the legspinner and lofted the ball straight to long-on for the first but it was the next ball that had the crowd sitting up, Sarah Taylor unable to pick the googly that spun back and shattered the stumps.
But it was always going to be a difficult target to defend in such conditions and Heather Knight and Nat Sciver completed the chase in the 18th over.
Earlier, Bates and Sophie Devine ensured a sprightly start for New Zealand. Devine was especially destructive, smashing 31 off 18 balls, at one point scoring 16 off an Anya Shrubsole over that included a glorious straight drive for four and two sixes over deep square leg.
But Knight brought Katherine Brunt back into the attack in the sixth over with immediate results, England taking three wickets and conceding just 16 runs off five overs. Devine was trapped lbw when Brunt's good length ball nipped back in and struck her on the back pad and two balls later Katey Martin was also out lbw with a delivery that squared her up.
Sophie Ecclestone, the series' leading wicket-taker, claimed the scalp of Bates with an arm ball as Bates backed away to give herself some room but could only watch as the ball clattered into the stumps.
Amy Satterthwaite was the third New Zealand batter to be trapped on the pads when she made a seemingly half-hearted attempt to paddle-sweep Hazell but was through the shot too early.
Shrubsole struck with the next ball off the innings when she snared Maddy Green with a slower ball that looped to Knight at cover while Jess Watkin pulled Katie George straight down the throat of Amy Jones at deep square leg.
The following ball Kerr survived a run out chance by the tiniest of margins. An outstanding return from Ecclestone was taken in front of the stumps by Sarah Taylor, who had removed her right glove. Without turning her head to look, Taylor broke the stumps with customary lightning speed.
It wasn't the only starring moment for Taylor, who has been outstanding with the gloves throughout the series. Keeping up to the stumps to Ecclestone, Taylor took a sharp catch when Kasperek attempted to cut a shorter ball.
There was more impressive fielding by England when, on the penultimate ball of New Zealand's innings, Sciver fired the ball in from deep midwicket to the bowler's end, where Brunt showed her own sharp reaction in breaking the stumps to remove Hayley Jensen.
After three straight losses to England New Zealand will now look to regroup before the two sides face each other in a three-match ODI series, starting on Saturday in Headingley.
Melinda Farrell is a presenter with ESPNcricinfo