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The Brilliant Hit : Bouchier & Ecclestone star as England defeated NZ

Maia Bouchier struck her maiden international century as England thrashed New Zealand by eight wickets at Worcester.

The 25-year-old opener hit the winning runs in a chase of just 142 which also brought up her hundred from 88 balls.

Bouchier hit 17 fours and added 73 for the first wicket with Tammy Beaumont in another one-sided contest that gave England an unassailable 2-0 series lead.

Another dominant performance from England highlighted the stark gulf in class between the teams, with a New Zealand side who have not played much cricket recently looking even lower in confidence than the first outing.

Their batting line-up boasts world-class talent in Suzie Bates, Amelia Kerr and Devine but the pressure weighing on their shoulders was evident in how they approached the innings.

Earlier, spinner Sophie Ecclestone starred with 5-25 as New Zealand were skittled for 141 in 41.5 overs.

Amelia Kerr, who made 43, and Maddy Green with 30 were steadily building a platform at 114-3, before a woeful collapse of seven wickets for just 27 runs.

After being all out for 156 in the opening game, New Zealand’s batters were visibly short of confidence against slower bowling, with eight wickets falling to spin here to follow the seven at Chester-le-Street.

They played with little intent, crawling to 26-2 from the powerplay before Ecclestone crucially had skipper Sophie Devine stumped for 28 as she was threatening to accelerate.

Amelia Kerr and Green’s stand of 58 followed but then chaos ensued, with Charlie Dean pinning the latter lbw to spark the dramatic collapse which included a passage of four wickets for no runs.

England’s openers then tucked into plenty of loose bowling against a weary attack again tasked with defending a paltry total.

The only real challenge presented by the White Ferns was for Bouchier to reach her century in a race against time with the runs required to win, but Nat Sciver-Brunt calmly guided her to the milestone. It was an emphatic performance in a breakthrough year for the opener.

The three-match series continues at Bristol on Wednesday and is followed by five T20s.

Ecclestone takes five-wicket haul against New Zealand

Bates was caught off the top edge rushed by Lauren Filer’s pace for five from 15 balls, Devine battled for 28 from 34 balls but fell at a crucial moment and Amelia Kerr looked constantly torn between whether to stick or twist as she held the key for their hopes once the experienced duo had departed.

That caution worked in Ecclestone’s favour as Devine was stumped when trying to force the score, Brooke Halliday was bowled for six also trying to sweep aggressively and Izzy Gaze whacked one to mid-off.

Lauren Down and Molly Penfold were both caught on the crease, and Dean had Amelia Kerr brilliantly caught and bowled to end her anchoring stay from 86 balls.

It was a thankless task for their bowlers, and Bouchier capitalised on that with her first century in all forms of cricket since playing for Middlesex Under-13s in 2012.

The bowling was poor and unthreatening throughout but it was a classy knock as she continues to nail her place at the top of the order which started in the series away to the same opponents earlier this year.

After scores of 91 and 95 in both white-ball formats, it looked like the nerves were going to get the better of her again with a tense lbw survival on 92 following a New Zealand review, before she was expertly guided by the calmness of Sciver-Brunt to help her to the landmark.

Player of the match Maia Bouchier: “The relief was there, alot of dilligence and preparation. It turn out to be great result

“It has taken time to get my processes right and not get too ahead of myself. Hundred is just a number, I just kept saying that to myself.”

England captain Heather Knight: “Really pleased. We talked about trying to dominate and have that competitive edge, it is something we are conscious of as a side. I don’t think it could have gone better for us.”

New Zealand captain Sophie Devine: “Some pretty similar trends from the last game. We didn’t bat out our overs, which is a real crime in 50 overs.


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