Sophie Ecclestone spins England to fourth successive win over Pakistan

Sophie Ecclestone spins England to fourth successive win over Pakistan
Sophie Ecclestone took 3-26 and moved to 98 wickets in ODIs - Getty Images/Matthew Lewis

The brilliance of Sophie Ecclestone meant England made it four wins from four over Pakistan this month, with the change of format from T20 to ODI having no effect on the result.

On a wintry day at Derby, this was a scrappy performance from England. But Ecclestone, as so often, was too good for Pakistan, picking up three for 24 from her 10 overs.

Ecclestone’s efforts ensured England defended a middling target of 244 with ease, to win by 37 runs. After Lauren Bell, who was also dangerous, picked up Sidra Amin, Ecclestone bowled Sadaf Shamas with a ball that was too close to cut, then castled Ayesha Zafar through the gate with her quicker ball.

With an eye on next year’s World Cup in India, England selected their three spinners – Ecclestone, Charlie Dean and Sarah Glenn – together for the first time in an ODI. Dean also bowled well, picking up the key wickets of Nida Dar and Aliya Riaz before Ecclestone trapped Fatima Sana. Two more wickets at Taunton on Sunday would make her the fastest women’s bowler to 100 ODI wickets, in her 63rd match (Australia’s Catherine Fitzpatrick got there in 64).

Ecclestone masked an untidy performance. England’s bowling was marred by the steady stream of wides that studded the innings – 31 in all. The extras tally was an England record of 40, the highest score of the innings. There were also a few misfields on an outfield recovering from heavy rain, but perhaps most uncharacteristically, the usually brilliant wicketkeeper Amy Jones dropped a pair of sitters, standing back to Bell and standing up to Dean later.

In setting the target, all of England’s top seven made it to 17, but the highest score was Alice Capsey’s ODI career-best 44, as players got in, then got out. Capsey was possibly only playing because Danni Wyatt woke up feeling unwell, and the 19-year-old is learning on the job in 50-over cricket, but she batted steadily through the second half of the innings before falling just as she would have entered all-out attack mode.

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