3rd ODI (D/N), Bristol, July 03, 2024, New Zealand Women tour of England
(42/42 ov) 211/8
(38.4/42 ov, T:212) 212/5

ENG Women won by 5 wickets (with 20 balls remaining)

Player Of The Match
Player Of The Series
186 runs

Lauren Bell stars with five wickets as Nat Sciver-Brunt puts seal on 3-0 sweep

New Zealand produce their best batting performance of the series to offer a contest

Valkerie Baynes
Valkerie Baynes
Lauren Bell claimed her first five-wicket haul, England vs New Zealand, 3rd Women's ODI, Bristol, July 3, 2024

Lauren Bell claimed her first five-wicket haul  •  Getty Images

England 212 for 5 (Sciver-Brunt 76*, Jones 50, Capsey 35*) beat New Zealand 211 for 8 (Kerr 59, Devine 43, Bell 5-37) by five wickets
Nat Sciver-Brunt's unbeaten 76 and Lauren Bell's five-wicket haul ensured England's 3-0 sweep of the ODI series against New Zealand despite a vastly more spirited performance by the White Ferns.
Amelia Kerr led the tourists with her half-century and England's batting depth was called upon for the first time in the series as Hannah Rowe and Molly Penfold made early inroads in Bristol. The hosts had lost three wickets across the first two matches but today were 33 for 3 inside the powerplay, reduced to eight overs when rain delayed the start by 95 minutes and cut the match to 42 overs per side.
Player of the series Maia Bouchier couldn't push on from her unbeaten century in Worcester on Sunday but Sciver-Brunt, who had facilitated that milestone, produced a typically cool-headed innings to lead England out of danger and ultimately to victory. She and Amy Jones rescued England from 72 for 4 with a fifth-wicket stand worth 90 off 86 balls, Jones posting a run-a-ball fifty as the duo lifted their side 50 runs shy of the 212 target.
Tammy Beaumont was put down by wicketkeeper Izzy Gaze off the first ball of the run-chase, a full delivery from Rowe, which swung away and caught the edge of Beaumont's attempted drive. But then fortune swung New Zealand's way just four balls later when Beaumont was given out lbw and declined to review with replays showing that the ball would have missed leg stump.
When Heather Knight sent a leading edge straight back to the same bowler, England were 29 for 2 and Bouchier fell on the penultimate ball of the powerplay with an aborted pull shot off Penfold that ballooned to the keeper.
Her dismissal brought Sophia Dunkley to the crease, back in the starting XI for the first time since a disappointing tour of New Zealand earlier this year as England shook up their team for this dead rubber. It was a nervy start for Dunkley, who faced six balls to get off the mark then overturned an lbw decision off Kerr's fourth ball of the innings, a wrong'un which brushed her back leg high up as she lunged forward and was ultimately shown to be going over the stumps.
Two balls later, Dunkley managed to steer Kerr for four past short third and, settling into a rhythm, she then punched down the ground for another, more authoritative, boundary off Kerr's next over when Sciver-Brunt also chimed in through midwicket. But Kerr curtailed Dunkley's comeback via an inside edge as the batter shaped to cut and was caught behind for 15 off 24 balls.
Sciver-Brunt brought up her 21st ODI fifty with a glorious drive down the ground for four off Rowe and Jones raised hers with a chipped single off Kerr towards point. Moments after Jones fell edging Brooke Halliday behind, Sciver-Brunt was dropped on 63 by Georgia Plimmer at cover. By that stage, England needed 49 from 69 balls and Sciver-Brunt and Alice Capsey eased their way home.
Earlier, Bell's five-wicket haul and Kerr's fighting half-century gave a more even complexion to the contest than in the first two games, when New Zealand had struggled to string significant partnerships together and batters made starts without converting them to impactful innings.
Kerr struck 59 and shared partnerships with Sophie Devine and Halliday worth 68 and 65 runs respectively to push the White Ferns to a good total, by far New Zealand's best of the tour after they had been bowled out for 156 and 141 previously. But Bell's 5 for 35 from nine overs kept the target manageable, especially in light of England's current batting form, or so it seemed before the top-order collapse.
In New Zealand's innings, a sublime throw by Charlie Dean, firing the ball in from backward point, removed Plimmer and, though Kate Cross was expensive early, she made it 46 for 2 when Jones took an excellent catch off Suzie Bates.
With Sophie Ecclestone rested for this match, Devine stepped up the rate against the home side's other two spinners. She struck Sarah Glenn for two fours in three balls, through the covers to bring up the fifty stand with Kerr and to deep midwicket, then crunched Dean through the covers for another boundary in the next over.
But Devine's reaction said it all when Bell returned to the attack and struck with her second ball back, one that angled in from a full length as Devine shaped to cut and chopped onto her stumps, dropping her bat and throwing her head back in exasperation as a promising innings ended on 43.
With Maddy Green having fallen to a marginal lbw decision to Cross while the DRS was unavailable, Kerr forged another partnership with Halliday, who made 51 in the series opener and 31 here.
But Kerr and Halliday both fell within three balls of one Bell over, Kerr pinned lbw and Halliday caught behind down the leg side as the White Ferns went from 181 for 4 to 182 for 6. Bell and Sciver-Brunt then teamed up twice to remove Gaze and Lauren Down, Sciver-Brunt's safe hands helping Bell to her maiden international five-for.
Encouragingly for England, Sciver-Brunt sent down eight overs and, even though she went wicketless, it was her heaviest workload so far this series, having been restricted to spells of four and five overs in the previous two games as she manages her recovery from a knee problem.

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor, women's cricket, at ESPNcricinfo

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