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3rd ODI (D/N), Chelmsford, May 29, 2024, Pakistan Women tour of England
(29.1/50 ov, T:303) 124

ENG Women won by 178 runs

Player Of The Match
124* (117) & 2/11
Player Of The Series
6 wkts

Nat Sciver-Brunt century drives England to imposing 178-run victory

Ecclestone reaches 100 ODI wickets to cap dominant display from England in 2-0 series win

Andrew Miller
Andrew Miller
Nat-Sciver Brunt ticked along nicely at the start, England vs Pakistan, 3rd Women's ODI, Chelmsford, May 29, 2024

Nat-Sciver Brunt brought up her fourth ODI hundred in her last nine innings  •  PA Photos/Getty Images

England 302 for 5 (Sciver-Brunt 124*, Wyatt 44, Capsey 39*) beat Pakistan 124 (Muneeba 47, Ecclestone 3-15) by 178 runs
Nat Sciver-Brunt once again proved herself to be the gold standard of England's batting with a mighty 117-ball 124 not out, then followed up with two game-breaking wickets in her first bowl of the summer, as England powered to an emphatic 178-run victory in the third and final ODI against Pakistan at Chelmsford.
The result, achieved under mercifully rain-free skies after the sodden mess that engulfed Sunday's second match at Taunton, condemned Pakistan to a 2-0 series loss in the 50-over leg of their tour, to go along with their 3-0 whitewashing in the T20Is. And, in a welcome sign of progress for the hosts after last week's "scrappy" 37-run victory at Derby, this was England's most complete display of their five completed matches, with Pakistan's innings this time mopped up with more than 20 overs to spare.
With England's imposing 302 for 5 on the board, Pakistan were reduced to 35 for 3 in the powerplay by the returning Lauren Bell, who bagged both openers in the space of ten balls including Sidra Amin to a sharp take from Maia Bouchier at cover, and Kate Cross, who induced Ayesha Zafar into a flat flick to midwicket for 13. Then, after Sciver-Brunt had signalled her return to bowling fitness with the scalps of Najiha Alvi for 6 and Muneeba, caught off a top-edge for a battling 47 from 55 balls off the final ball of her designated five-over spell, it was over to Sophie Ecclestone with a slice of history of her own.
The world's No.1 spin bowler is a handy operator to be able to introduce at 96 for 6 after 21 overs, after Charlie Dean had been rewarded for her own perseverance by picking off Fatima Sana for a third-ball duck. She duly mopped up the resistance with three wickets in 25 balls, including two in two to march through to 100 ODI wickets in her 64th match - the quickest in women's ODI history - with her captain Heather Knight grabbing Nashra Sandhu at slip for the landmark wicket.
With Nida Dar unable to bat after tweaking her hamstring in the field, it was left to England's substitute fielder Sophia Dunkley to wrap up the contest with more than 20 overs remaining, with a sharp tumbling take at long-off that ended Aliya Riaz's doughty innings of 36 from 41.
For all of England's pre-eminence, it might not have been quite such a one-sided contest had Sciver-Brunt not emerged head and shoulders above the rest of the field, however. When she's in her groove, no team in the world can live with her, as Australia discovered in the white-ball leg of last year's Ashes, and here was another situation in which she simply stamped her class on the contest.
Her ninth ODI hundred was her fourth in nine innings and tenth in all formats for England, and also took her past 3,500 ODI runs in her 94th innings, at a faster rate than any female batter in history. Her only genuine let-off came on 86, when Najiha Alvi spilled a thin edge off Nashra that could also have been a stumping chance but, unfazed, she banked her century from 110 balls with back-to-back scoops for four off Sana, before truly cutting loose to apply a gloss finish to the innings. Diana Baig's final over was clattered for consecutive straight sixes and another lofted four through the covers, as England ransacked 47 runs from the final three overs.
It hadn't started with quite such poise, however. After winning the toss and batting first, England once again endured a mixed powerplay against some probing new-ball bowling and were three-down for 70 inside the 14th over. In particular, Tammy Beaumont's dismissal to an ill-conceived ramp shot epitomised a team that is determined to dial up their aggression with the T20 World Cup looming, but has struggled to "read the situations" of a 50-over innings that Knight had identified as their key challenge in the lead-up to the series.
Bouchier impressed with her poise initially, picking off six fours to provide the bulk of England's early progress, but her 34 from 33 balls still ended up being her highest score of a series that had promised more. But after Knight had come and gone cheaply, Danni Wyatt took over the initiative in a fourth-wicket stand of 79 with a 42-ball 44, before Amy Jones capitalised on a let-off at midwicket on 6 to keep the innings ticking with a run-a-ball 27.
Alice Capsey then kept Sciver-Brunt company into the death overs with 39 not out from 42 balls, including a one-bounce four down the ground moments after overturning an lbw appeal that was shown to be going over the stumps. Thereafter she was limited to just one more boundary in her first 37 balls until a late brace in the final over, as Pakistan tightened their lines to briefly raise the prospect of limiting England to a total closer to 250 than 300.
But by the time England's premier performer had trotted out her A-game in the closing moments, there was no way back for Pakistan.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket

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