Heather Knight top-scores to lead England to victory over New Zealand in first ODI at Bristol
England Women beat New Zealand Women by 30 runs in the first one-day international at Bristol; captain Heather Knight top-scored with 89 as the hosts posted 241 before the White Ferns were bowled out for 211 in reply
By Sam Drury
Last Updated: 17/09/21 6:08am
Heather Knight made 89 as England claimed a 30-run win over New Zealand in the first ODI of the five-match series at Bristol.
The England captain put on 65 with Tammy Beaumont (44) before a middle-order collapse saw the hosts slip from 109-1 to 140-5, but a stand of 88 with Katherine Brunt (43) rescued the innings and meant New Zealand were left chasing 242 for victory.
Early wickets from Nat Sciver and Kate Cross reduced the White Ferns to 31-3 in reply and when the latter dismissed Sophie Devine (34) to end a 78-run partnership with Amy Satterthwaite (79no), the tourists quickly faded.
- First ODI scorecard: England vs New Zealand
- England vs New Zealand - as it happened
- Live cricket on Sky Sports | @SkyCricket
New Zealand were given some hope when Lea Tahuhu came in at No 10 and thumped 25 from 14 balls and a last-wicket stand between Satterthwaite and Leigh Kasperek (15) might just have had England a little concerned before the No 11 was run out with the visitors still 30 short of their target.
It means England head into Sunday's second ODI at Worcester, live on Sky Sports Cricket, 1-0 up in the series.
Having been put in to bat, England made a solid start through Beaumont and Lauren Winfield-Hill before Hannah Rowe (1-47) had Winfield-Hill (21) caught behind down the legside.
Knight and Beaumont continued to accumulate and laid a good foundation, although New Zealand could be satisfied that they had kept the run-rate in check.
That meant when Beaumont fell lbw to Devine after a good review, the Kiwis were still in a good position and when they ripped through England's dangerous middle-order of Sciver (2), Amy Jones (2) - both bowled by the impressive Tahuhu (2-32) - and Sophia Dunkley (5) they had a real opportunity.
However, Knight had been composure personified throughout her innings, reaching a 22nd ODI fifty from 64 balls, and that remained the case even as the wickets fell at the other end.
With Brunt, who never shies away from a battle, at the other end, England were able to work their way back with a period of rebuilding before beginning to up the ante in the last 10 overs.
England were comfortably past 200 and a score in excess of 250 seemed possible again as the innings entered its climax, but when Knight fell 11 shy of her hundred, chipping a return catch to off-spinner Leigh Kasperek (1-48) in the 47th over, another collapse ensued.
Brunt was bowled by Jess Kerr in the next over and three wickets went down in the space of five balls, a needless run out wrapping up the innings with three balls to spare.
The New Zealand chase began at glacial pace with Brunt and Sciver finding swing with the new ball and giving the openers nothing to work with.
Brunt reeled off four maidens in a row before she was taken out of the attack, while Sciver (2-10) ousted Suzie Bates (1) and added the wicket of Lauren Down (5) with the last ball of the powerplay.
Cross then removed Maddy Green (19) with the first ball of the 13th over, late swing finding the edge and Knight taking a superb catch low to her left at slip.
After a period of stabilisation, Satterthwaite and Devine countered and soon had the away side in a very healthy position to overhaul an under-par England total.
The crucial moment came in the 29th over as Cross (2-37) was brought back into the attack. Devine was keen to keep the runs coming and tried to hit over the top but could not quite get the elevation and picked out Winfield-Hill at mid-on.
A significant blow to New Zealand's chances and it was followed up three overs later by a one-two punch from Sophie Ecclestone (2-39) as the left-arm spinner had Katey Martin (9) caught before bowling Brooke Halliday next ball.
Brunt (1-22) returned to claim her first wicket, Rowe (1) hit plumb in front, and when off-spinner Charlie Dean - the first cricketer born since 2000 to play for England - bowled Jess Kerr (5) to mark her debut with a wicket, New Zealand looked beaten, having slumped from 109-3 to 143-8.
They were not going to go down without a fight but when Tahuhu, having thrashed five boundaries in her 14-ball cameo, was bowled by Freya Davies' (1-40) slower ball, they were still 65 runs short of victory.
The required rate was extremely manageable, Satterthwaite and Kasperek had nothing to lose and on a pitch with absolutely no demons in it, were able to keep playing their shots.
Satterthwaite's class and a little good fortune brought New Zealand to within striking distance but just as England might have been starting to sweat a little, Kasperek called for a quick single and Winfield-Hill's shy at the stumps found its target.
Neither side seeming particularly interested as it went upstairs but the replays showed the batter was short of her ground and England, after a little scare, could celebrate victory.
Watch the second ODI between England and New Zealand live on Sky Sports Cricket and the Sky Sports Cricket YouTube channel from 10.30am on Sunday.