Clean sweep completes New Zealand's World Cup preparation
New Zealand completed its preparation for the CricInfo Women's World Cup, starting next week, in Timaru today with its second convincing win of three in its clean sweep over England.
The eight wicket margin fairly demonstrated the difference between the two sides on the day.
England, who batted first, should have made more of the good start they made to their innings. But just when they needed batsmen to build on the positive start, the middle and lower order faltered in the face of some quality New Zealand bowling.
It was as if a tourniquet had been applied to stop the flow of runs. As the runs dried up the panic level in the England batting increased and it was dismissed in the 41st over for only 109, its lowest total of the series.
Katrina Keenan polished off the lower order to finish with 3-15 as the last seven England wickets fell for 29 runs.
Earlier, Rachel Pullar took 2-21 from seven overs while most encouragingly for New Zealand, given her return to the side after nearly two years out of the game, Clare Nicholson bowled eight overs and took 1-12.
Catherine Campbell continued her quest for the world record for most wickets in ODIs. She took two wickets in the series to finish on 71 wickets, two behind Australian slow left-armer Lynette Fullston.
Chasing her for the honour however, are Australia's Cathryn Fitzpatrick and Charmaine Mason with 61, England's Clare Taylor 59, New Zealand's Keenan 58 and Zoe Goss of Australia on 57.
New Zealand made a superb start to its chase and was quickly in front of what had been a lively England assault.
Rebecca Rolls was belligerent at the start and while out for 13, it was in the third over. Anna O'Leary took the chance to play a longer innings than in the first game in Oamaru when she scored eight.
She chanced her arm and got reward as the ball flew at good speed over fieldsmen in the gully area and her six from Laura Harper's bowling was a sweetly-timed shot, the only six of the series.
While offering a chance on 29, she went on to score 40 in an 80-run partnership with skipper Emily Drumm.
Drumm, after the disappointment of her dismissal for 10 on Tuesday, was unbeaten on 43 at the end and had the satisfaction of scoring the winning runs.
"There was no way today they were going to get me," she said. "My downfall is often because I don't value my wicket enough."
But she was in full control and was delighted with the series win.
"Today's game was the best chase out of the eight games we have played against England this year. And we have played better against England in this series than we did earlier in the year," she said.
England captain Clare Connor said that as a stand alone series the 3-0 series loss to New Zealand was very disappointing but as preparation for a big tournament it had been useful.
"There have been several positive things to come out of it. Some of our bowlers are bowling better than they ever have before. It is disappointing the way we are approaching our batting.
"We showed aggressive intent early on.
"It is a case of everyone believing in what we have been practising all year," she said.
She was delighted with the side's effort in the second game when defending 134.
"It was fantastic and showed fantastic spirit and we showed some heart and soul. It took a big commitment and it is that which will pull us through the tournament and into the semi-finals," she said.
Both teams have a few days off now. The New Zealanders are going to their respective homes until reassembling on Sunday while England will be doing some sightseeing.