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Bouchier hits first England century to clinch ODI series against New Zealand
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Bouchier hits first England century to clinch ODI series against New Zealand

Maia Bouchier hit a maiden interna­tional hundred on Sunday, simultaneously bringing up the personal milestone and the winning runs for England against New Zealand, as they reached their target of 142 with eight wickets and 153 balls to spare.

Bouchier had been dismissed twice in the 90s, once in an one-day international against Sri Lanka last September and once in a Twenty20 against these same opponents in March, and here she kept the crowd on the edge of their seats once again.

First, she survived a close lbw call on 92 against Jess Kerr, which was adjudged umpire’s call. Then, she relied on the world’s best batter Nat Sciver-Brunt selflessly blocking out 10 dot balls, to ensure there were enough runs remaining for her teammate to seal the deal.

“They call them the nervous 90s for a reason! I was trying not to think too far ahead,” Bouchier said. “My heart rate was going through the roof but Nat really calmed me down.”

On the back of a winter tour of New Zealand during which she sealed the T20 opening spot, it had already proved a statement innings from Bouchier, who took apart the New Zealand attack with impeccable placement and timing. With four runs needed, she pierced the leg-side in-field twice with back‑to-back twos to secure the hundred. Her predominant emotion, she later admitted, was relief.

The passage of play finally brought some jeopardy to a match in which an embarrassing New Zealand batting collapse earlier effectively handed the ODI series to England, with one match left to play. The last seven Kiwi wickets fell for the addition of just 27 runs, as Sophie Ecclestone wreaked havoc with a maiden ODI five-wicket haul on home soil.

If the first ODI at Durham had been a walkover, this was a trampling; and with wickets once again tumbling to spin, the result should raise serious questions about the ability of this New Zealand team to compete at the highest level in the format, ahead of the 50-over World Cup in India next year.

Sophie Ecclestone of England shows the ball as she celebrates after taking five wicketsView image in fullscreen

Their best young hope, the 23‑year‑old all-rounder Melie Kerr, struggled to 43 from 86 balls after being saved by a well-judged DRS review early in her innings, while her sister Jess at least showed a bit of resistance from No 9 with back‑to‑back boundaries against Ecclestone driven down the ground.

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But otherwise a slow start from New Zealand – who took 29 overs to put 100 runs on the board – turned into a masterclass in how not to play spin. Maddy Green played all around one from Charlie Dean, while ­Ecclestone rattled three sets of New Zealand stumps.

There was also a brief off-spin cameo from Alice Capsey, who had been preferred in the XI over Sarah Glenn and took just five balls to wrap up the innings – rounding off a disastrous New Zealand collapse from 114 for three to 141 all out.

Source: theguardian.com