Plays of the day June 21, 2009

New Zealand bear the Brunt

Over of the day
When Laura Marsh took the new ball with her slower-than-slow offspin, she set the agenda for the contest with a teasing, strangling performance. Tossing the ball up at a pace that invited a rash response, he got under the skin of New Zealand's openers, and then into their minds with sharp and biting turn. Suzie Bates, so crucial to their hopes of a defendable total, lost the plot after only five deliveries, galloping down the track to a ball that barely reached her, for Sarah Taylor behind the stumps to whip off the bails with glee.

Wicket of the day
With one big gun gone, the other simply couldn't afford to fail. But New Zealand's captain, Aimee Watkins, wasn't given the chance to script a riposte. Katherine Brunt's extra pace had proven expensive in the semi-final, but this time it was simply deadly. Watkins came into this contest on the back of a crushing 89 not out from 58 balls against India, but before she could get going, Brunt swung a perfect yorker through her loose defences.

Bowler of the day
Sporting an impressive shiner that enhanced her menacing credentials, Brunt bludgeoned New Zealand like a blunt instrument of attack that she's become. Lucy Doolan drilled her through the covers for four from the final ball of her first over, but that was the sum total of the attacking strokes she permitted. From the remaining 18 balls of her spell, Brunt leaked nothing more than a spare of singles, and no runs at all off the bat from back-to-back maidens. Doolan lost the plot and steered a scoop to the wicketkeeper, before Rachel Priest hoicked a short ball and was caught with glee on the crease.

Fielder of the day
Sarah Taylor was a jack-in-the-box behind the stumps, and justified her status as the rising star of England's team with a performance that punished every one of New Zealand's errors. She did for Bates with a quicksilver stumping from wide of the crease, then refused to be distracted by Doolan's contortions at the crease, as she watched the ball take the edge of that attempted scoop, and fly high and hard to her right. Sarah Tsukigawa became her third and finest victim when she took off, again to her right, to snaffle a thick edge off Jenny Gunn. And then, for good measure, she wrapped up the run-out that ensured New Zealand would be bowled out from the final ball of their 20 overs.

Drop of the day
Misfields were a rarity for either side, as both sets of fielders gave impressive support to their hard-working bowlers. But there was one lapse that, in the final analysis, proved very costly indeed. After her 76 not out from 53 balls in the semi-final run-chase, the one player that New Zealand could not afford to reprieve was Claire Taylor. But that's exactly what happened, when Taylor was dropped by the keeper, Priest, before she had a run to her name. It was tough luck on the bowler, Kate Pulford, whose late seam movement had beaten Taylor three times in four balls in her previous over. This time she found the edge, but Priest couldn't cling on as she stretched out her right mitt.

Shot of the day
By the halfway point of the run-chase, Taylor's only boundary was that edge through the wicketkeeper's grasp, and the target, while never challenging, was starting to look more hazardous than anticipated. But then, out of the blue, Taylor unfurled a riotous on-drive against Pulford that soared down the ground and into the boundary boards for four. It was the first real statement of intent of her innings, and the first sign that New Zealand had little hope of recovery.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo