Sophie Devine delivers New Zealand consolation win after Leigh Kasperek takes five wickets
New Zealand 224 for 6 (Devine 117*) beat England 219 (Jones 78, Beaumont 53, Kasperek 5-39) by four wickets
A brilliant century from Sophie Devine secured New Zealand a consolation victory in the third and final ODI at Grace Road, as England were outgunned in a low-scoring contest, after a five-wicket haul from the spinner Leigh Kasperek had derailed their ambitions of a clean sweep.
Devine made light of the early loss of her new opening partner, Jess Watkin, as well as a steady drip of mid-innings wickets, to steer her side to a four-wicket victory with 117 not out from 116 balls, sealing the deal with a massive six over square leg. Alongside her at the end of an intermittently anxious chase was the 17-year-old Amelia Kerr, whose mature 12 not out completed a memorable campaign that of course had earlier included a world-record 232 not out against Ireland.
After winning the toss and batting first, England might have had ambitions of 300-plus while Tammy Beaumont and Amy Jones were in harness. The pair compiled their second century stand of the summer, inside the first 20 overs, as New Zealand's seamers were once again neutered as they ploughed a wide line and relied on errors that did not materialise.
Pace off the ball, however, would prove to be a different challenge for England, and having reached 104 for no loss, they proceeded to lose all ten of their wickets for a further 115, with no-one outside of the openers managing more than Danni Wyatt's 18 from 22 balls.
The wrecker of the innings was Kasperek, who had Beaumont caught behind, somewhat carelessly, on the reverse sweep for 53, before adding the scalp of Lauren Winfield for 5 soon afterwards. Winfield, back in the side as Sarah Taylor took a break, holed out to deep midwicket where Maddy Green took a fine low catch.
Jones, looking good for her elusive maiden ODI hundred, once again gave her innings away when she charged at Watkin to be stumped for 78, while Hayley Jensen produced a superb spell of full-length inswingers, bowling Heather Knight with a slower ball.
Nat Sciver was then unluckily run out at the non-striker's end, as Kasperek brushed her fingers on a straight drive from Wyatt, and England's usual turbo-charged finish petered out. Kasperek deservedly bagged the final two wickets to complete her maiden five-wicket haul.
In reply, Katherine Brunt pinned Watkin lbw for a duck in her first over to lift England's spirits, but Devine was not to be put off her game. She rattled along at more than a run a ball to break the back of the chase in partnership with the steadfast Green, who rather surprisingly galloped down the track straight after the drinks break to be bowled for 23 from 52 balls.
Suzie Bates, lurking down the order for a change, came and went cheaply for once, as Laura Marsh bowled her for 1. But Devine eased past her fifty from 54 balls, then brought up her hundred from 101 with a drive back past the bowler.
England's spinners lacked their usual impact, but even with Ecclestone off the boil, her team weren't quite finished. When Brunt returned to bowl Amy Satterthwaite for 25 and overtake Jenny Gunn as England's leading wicket-taker in ODIs, there was a chance of a late twist. However, Katey Martin provided sturdy support until she ran herself out for 23, and thereafter Devine would not be denied.