New Zealand 124 for 8 (Bates 26, Hazell 3-16) beat England 115 for 8 (Devine 3-26, Doolan 3-26) by nine runs
New Zealand wrapped up the Twenty20 series 2-1 with a nine-run win in a low-scoring match at Hove. After the despair of their narrow defeat in the World Twenty20, New Zealand have fought hard in this series to bounce back after losing the first game and looked a jubilant outfit when an accurate final over from the impressive Sophie Devine sealed the result, and the series, for them.
New Zealand knew they would have to scrap to defend a sub-par 124 for 8 after opting to bat first, but England's tactics allowed them to re-group in the field and once Sarah Taylor had been castled by Nicola Browne wickets fell at regular intervals. England had been favourites before the second innings got underway, but without pressure to score quickly from the outset they dug themselves into a defensive hole with some overly-cautious batting.
After the snail-paced start, Charlotte Edwards began to find some fluency but then chipped Devine to Browne at cover for a-run-a-ball 19 in the ninth over. Claire Taylor then fell to an ugly smear that looped gently to the same fielder to leave England struggling at 46 for 3 in the 11th over. Her dismissal triggered a middle-order collapse as two balls later Laura Marsh flashed Devine straight to Kate Broadmore, who then rattled Jenny Gunn's stumps as three wickets fell in the space of seven balls.
England had recovered from a similarly dire position in the second game at the Rose Bowl, but their chase never recovered today. Danielle Wyatt showed some hustle in her 17-ball 16, but with the run-rate climbing too many risks had to be taken and when she and Lydia Greenway fell in the 17th over to offspinner Lucy Doolan England were as good as buried.
Though Doolan and Devine had been in the wickets with the ball, it was a team-effort in the field that sealed the win and it had been a similar story when New Zealand batted. Aimee Watkins and Suzie Bates - who top-scored again today and was named Player of the Series - laid the platform with a patient 50-run opening stand that gradually gained momentum.
Though Danielle Hazell ran through New Zealand's top three in an inspirational display of slow bowling, Browne and Devine picked up the mantle with an aggressive 28-run partnership that took up only 16 balls and seized back the momentum for the visitors. The experienced pair of Nicky Shaw and Katherine Brunt - who topped 75mph with the ball - pegged back New Zealand's charge, but despite the narrowness of the eventual winning margin the visitors were in control for most of the game.