Matches (15)
WI vs SA (1)
IPL (1)
County DIV1 (3)
County DIV2 (4)
T20WC Warm-up (3)
CE Cup (3)

Nat Sciver says England's new-ball aggression was key to comfortable win

Allrounder took 3 for 26, opening the bowling for the first time in ODIs since 2018

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
Nat Sciver said that England's aggression with the new ball was crucial to their seven-wicket win against New Zealand in Dunedin, after her fine all-round performance led them to a series-sealing victory.
Both Katherine Brunt and Tash Farrant preferring to bowl from the same end because of the wind direction gave Sciver the chance to open the bowling in an ODI for the first time since April 2018, and she combined with fiancée Brunt to reduce New Zealand to 27 for 4 inside eight overs in an impressive new-ball burst.
Brunt was particularly threatening, regularly passing 70mph (112kph) as she swung the ball appreciably. She was rewarded with the wickets of both openers, and also hit Amelia Kerr on the helmet with a sharp bouncer. Sciver, meanwhile, took the prized wicket of New Zealand captain Sophie Devine, who chipped a simple catch to short midwicket, and bowled Kerr with an offcutter which moved appreciably off the surface to peg back leg stump.
"I think that was a key part of the game for us," Sciver said. "We always want to be really aggressive and take wickets. It doesn't always happen but today it came off. Katherine was really, really aggressive with the ball and making it very difficult for the batters. I managed to come on at the other end and help out.
"I wasn't initially down to open the bowling - Tash [Farrant] was going to go from the other end - but with the wind as it was, they [Farrant and Brunt] both thought that they would be really effective from the same end, so I got the nod. I was very happy to have a go at opening the bowling."
Brunt's two wickets took her past Ellyse Perry in the list of all-time women's ODI wicket takers, moving her into third place behind only Jhulan Goswami and Cathryn Fitzpatrick. while Sciver finished with 3 for 26 after returning to remove New Zealand's top-scorer, Brooke Halliday.
"She's had a couple of net sessions where I would not sign up to be batting," Sciver said. "She's had some great preparation coming into these two games. The other day [in the first ODI] she could have got a lot more wickets that she did as well. She's been brilliant and is getting herself up the leading wicket-takers list.
"We probably had the best of the conditions but obviously that means that seamers need to take wickets and sometimes that can be a pressure and the margin for error might be a bit smaller. We managed to put it in the right area for a long time and kept the pressure on for the first 15 overs or so."
England knocked off their eventual target of 193 with seven wickets in hand and 12.2 overs to spare thanks to half-centuries from Sciver and Tammy Beaumont, sealing the series ahead of the third ODI on Saturday.
"[Beaumont] has been so consistent and that's so important at the top of the order, having that stability," Sciver said. "When things are going right it's brilliant and it's easier to score [for others], and when it's a bit more difficult, she's not fussed to put a few shots away and make sure she's there at the end.
"We've managed to bowl them out twice. Wickets is a real key goal for us, to be able to take ten wickets, and I think the way we've been bowling, we'd get a few wickets from other sides as well. We know that this isn't their best performance, especially with the bat; we know what their players are capable of but at the minute we seem to be one step ahead."
For New Zealand, it was an 11th straight ODI defeat, a run that dates back to February 2019. While Halliday impressed again, backing up her half-century on debut in the first ODI with 60 off 80 balls, there were few positives to take from another difficult defeat.
"[It was] another tough day at the office," Devine said at the post-match presentation. "I thought the way that the tail batted at the end was fantastic, but batting first we just haven't put enough runs on the board, so it's hard work for the bowlers to try and create any pressure.
"Credit has to go to England. They bowled exceptionally well again, and they put us under pressure for extended periods of time and used the wicket well using change-ups and bowling cross-seam as well probably got a little bit out of the wicket. But unfortunately batters didn't do their jobs so we go back to the drawing board and figure out a way forward.
"We know if we put this lot [England] under pressure for extended periods of time, we might see some cracks opening up. But we're just not doing it for long enough. The way Nat Sciver batted was outstanding, Tammy Beaumont too, so we're going to have to work really hard for those wickets."

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets at @mroller98