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New Zealand keep series alive after England’s dramatic collapse

Heather Knight run out

NZ (155/3) beat England (152/8) by three runs

A stunning last over from New Zealand’s Suzie Bates and a dramatic England collapse allowed the hosts to keep the five-match series alive with a three-run victory in the third T20 International at Nelson.

Sophie Devine, having won the toss, led from the front for New Zealand, hitting two sixes and five fours in her 37-ball 60, punishing both the pace of Lauren Bell (none for 40) and left-arm spin of Linsey Smith (none for 39).

England were hampered in the field by the absence of Sarah Glenn who banged her head as she fell heavily at mid-off, having dropped a chance to catch Bernadine Bezuidenhout on 26. Although Glenn bowled the next over and had Bates stumped by Amy Jones, she had to leave the field and was replaced by Hollie Armitage, making her international debut at the age of 26 as a concussion substitute.

Heather Knight shouldered the responsibility of bowling Glenn’s last three overs which she did respectably if non-threateningly but without their leg-spinner, who had gone for less than five runs an over in taking two wickets in the earlier matches, England could not stifle New Zealand’s run rate. Although England have successfully chased more than 155 before, it would have been a record against New Zealand but they made a remarkably good fist of it at first, having lost opener Sophia Dunkley, run out for a duck.

A blistering 47-ball 71 from Maia Bouchier, who put on 92 for the second wicket with Tammy Beaumont, took England within 30 runs of the target with five overs to go before she was winkled out by Devine after hitting 11 fours and a six.

With seven wickets left, it should have been smooth sailing for the touring side even after Knight was run out for 10 and was swiftly followed back to the hutch by Jones, Bess Heath and Armitage, who fell for one with eight needed off five balls. Bates, bowling her first over of the match right at the death, was magnificent with her nagging medium pace and restricted England to two singles and a two, ending the match by having Charlie Dean stumped off the last ball as she tried to find the boundary.

“A lot of good stuff and a quite frustrating end,” said Knight. “We needed to be a bit more smart and show composure at the back end. Maia batted outstandingly. She came out with the intent we wanted and showed her class.

“A frustrating one not to finish off but remembering we are an inexperienced group and are missing a few players. Those girls will learn a hell of a lot.”

The series moves to Wellington for the final two matches on Wednesday and Friday before the sides turn to the 50-over format.

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