New Zealand's Sophie Devine hits half-century against England to seal win in her 100th T20I match
Sophie Devine top-scored with 50 from 41 balls as New Zealand beat England by four wickets at Hove to square their T20I series; watch the deciding match at Taunton on Thursday, live on Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event from 6pm.
By Ben Kosky
Last Updated: 04/09/21 10:13pm
New Zealand captain Sophie Devine celebrated her 100th T20I appearance with a bristling half-century to secure a four-wicket success against England and level the series at 1-1.
The 32-year-old picked up two early wickets to restrict the home side to a below-par 127-7 at Hove, despite Danni Wyatt's 35 and a debut knock of 25 from Maia Bouchier.
Devine then led the way in the run chase, slamming 50 from 41 balls and, despite faltering after the skipper's departure, the White Ferns scrambled home with 10 deliveries unused.
🔥DEVINE INSPIRATION!🔥— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) September 4, 2021
It's Sophie Devine's 100th T20I - and the Black Ferns skipper is enjoying the occasion as she hoists Davies for a huge six!👏
NZ 17-0, chasing 128#ENGvNZ
📰Scorecard: https://t.co/HmsZ22eHZf pic.twitter.com/duNJC25qpL
Having won the toss, Devine sent England in for the second time in the series - a decision that paid early dividends as the skipper dismissed Nat Sciver and Amy Jones with successive deliveries to reduce them to 25-3.
Sophia Dunkley responded with some aggressive strokeplay in her 21 from 20 balls before Wyatt and Bouchier continued the recovery, putting together a fifth-wicket partnership of 44 from 37.
While Wyatt played the anchor role, Bouchier looked confident on both the front and back foot and produced some classy shots in her 24-ball innings - the most eye-catching a drive to dispatch Hayley Jensen over mid-off for four.
However, the pair departed in the same Hannah Rowe over and England lost momentum during the closing stages, with White Ferns spinner Leigh Kasperek returning figures of 2-20 and Devine 2-28.
England desperately needed early inroads with the ball, but their only powerplay success came in the form of Mady Villiers' pinpoint throw to run out Suzie Bates with a direct hit from mid-on.
Devine looked resolute, though, slamming sixes off both Freya Davies and Tash Farrant as she shared a stand of 37 from 30 with Amy Satterthwaite - and survived an ill-judged sweep that Sarah Glenn inexplicably spilled at backward square.
😲OH NO!😲— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) September 4, 2021
What a chance for England - and it goes begging!
Devine sweeps Ecclestone to Glenn at backward square and she somehow puts it down...🏏
NZ 54-1, needing 74 more from 12 overs#ENGvNZ
📰Scorecard: https://t.co/HmsZ22eHZf pic.twitter.com/J18AgtXhUK
Although Davies broke the partnership, bowling Satterthwaite as she attempted to scoop, Devine motored on to reach her half-century with spirited support from Maddy Green (21 from 19).
Villiers did her best to claw the game back, taking two catches in the deep as well as ending Green's innings with a sharp caught and bowled - but New Zealand clinched victory after a wide from Farrant, one of 19 conceded by the home side.
Watch the third England vs New Zealand T20I at Taunton on Thursday, live on Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event from 6pm.