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White Ferns keep England series alive

Sophie Devine
Sophie Devine bludgeoned 60 runs from 37 balls in the third T20 against England. PHOTO: DAVE LINTOTT PHOTOGRAPHY

Standout performances from their star players has seen the White Ferns remain in contention in their T20 series against England.

Chasing a record T20 run chase in New Zealand, England appeared to be cruising to victory before a brilliant runout by Melie Kerr turned the tide, eventually coming up four runs short in the third match at Nelson's Saxton Oval on Sunday.

After Heather Knight departed in the 17th over, two more wickets fell in quick succession, with England requiring eight runs from the final over.

Opening batter Suzie Bates was handed the ball for her only over of the innings, taking two wickets and allowing just four runs to complete a dramatic three-run win.

“The last game I think we felt we were in winning positions in both innings and let it slip, and today we probably weren’t in a winning position ... [but] once we managed to get into a winning position we took it," said Bates.

“That’s massive confidence for this group, who has struggled to beat England in recent times.”

Thanks to a classy top-order of Maia Bouchier and Tammy Beaumont, England were in control, needing just 29 runs off the last five overs, with eight wickets in hand.

Bouchier was the White Ferns’ tormentor, smashing 11 fours and a six on her way to 71 from 47 deliveries. Along with Beaumont (37 from 34), they put on 92 runs for the second wicket.

However, captain Sophie Devine finally dismissed Bouchier, then took another wicket for figures of 2-23 from three overs, while Kerr sent Knight back to the pavilion, then chipped in with a wicket.

After failing to respond under pressure in the first two encounters, New Zealand made their highest T20I score against England in reaching 155-3 from their 20 overs.

Earlier, Devine bludgeoned a half-century to give the hosts hope of staying alive in the five-match series, which now shifts to Wellington's Basin Reserve for the fourth and fifth matches on Wednesday and Friday.

Devine, who missed the series-opener, was at her brutal best as the White Ferns scored 55 runs from the final five overs in partnership with Kerr.

Devine smacked five fours and two sixes in making 60 from 37 balls, while Kerr was not far behind in their 99-run partnership for the third wicket with an unbeaten 44 from 35 deliveries.

Opener Bernadine Bezuidenhout set the pace in the power play for the hosts, looking to take the game to England with an array of shots. She helped New Zealand reach 40-0 after six overs, but was dropped twice before eventually perishing for 34 from 27 balls.

New Zealand 155-3 (Sophie Devine 60, Melie Kerr 44 not out, Bernadine Bezuidenhout 34) beat England 152-8 (Maia Bouchier, Tammy Beaumont 37, Sophie Devine 2-23, Suzie Bates 2-4) by three runs


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