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Nat Sciver-Brunt hits ton as England seal 2-0 series win over Pakistan
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Nat Sciver-Brunt hits ton as England seal 2-0 series win over Pakistan

Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives have been keen to stress that national service can come in all shapes and sizes. Could it perhaps include ­scoring runs for your country? If so, then Nat Sciver-Brunt has surely already completed hers, and then some.

At Chelmsford against Pakistan on Wednesday, the 31-year-old became the fastest Englishwoman to achieve the milestone of 3,500 runs in ODIs: it has taken her 94 innings. Shortly afterwards, she brought up her ninth ODI hundred in perhaps the most audacious way possible, with back-to-back ramps, as England concluded their ODI series against Pakistan with a 178-run win – their most convincing performance of the series.

“It’s a great way to finish,” Sciver-Brunt said. “I did a lot of thinking about my innings while I was out there, trying to be really present. At times, I didn’t feel very free-­flowing, but I wanted to try to put pressure on the bowlers as much as I could.”

As if that was not enough, Sciver-Brunt also bowled her first overs of the summer and though she was restricted to an allocation of five due to her rehab from a knee injury, she made them count, finishing with two for 11.

It was left to Sophie Ecclestone to wrap up the Pakistan innings, her three wickets in four balls ensuring she reached 100 ODI career wickets in the space of 63 innings, breaking the record set by Australian legend Cathryn Fitzpatrick.

The England coach, Jon Lewis, said: “I can’t remember a day when I’ve seen Sophie bowl poorly. To have someone who is so consistent when they take to the field – she’s an incredible talent.”

The 2-0 series win means England have risen to second place in the ICC Women’s Championship, a point clear of South Africa, trailing Australia by four points.

Pakistan had their moments, at one point reducing England to 70 for three after Heather Knight concluded another unconvincing cameo of 12 from 17 balls, falling lbw to off-spinner Umm-e-Hani in the 27th over.

Tammy Beaumont had earlier had to trudge off to embarrassed silence, bowled after failing to execute the ramp shot against Fatima Sana, while Danni Wyatt holed out six runs short of a half-century, slogging a catch into the deep.

Alice CapseyView image in fullscreen

“You will always get inconsistency in a group of young cricketers,” Lewis said. “[But] I would like more consistent performances from our more senior players.”

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As has been the theme of the tour, Pakistan were unable to sustain the pressure or to back it up with a solid batting performance. First, a fumble from their wicketkeeper, Najiha Alvi, cost them the chance to see off Sciver-Brunt on 86, after Nashra Sandhu spun it past the edge of her bat. Then, they let England score 47 runs from the final three overs of their innings, as Sciver-Brunt ­suddenly dialled things up to 11 with back-to-back sixes slammed down the ground. Alice Capsey took a leaf out of her partner’s book and hammered an unbeaten 39 from 42 balls from her new position at number seven.

Finally, Pakistan fell over themselves in a scramble to get off the pitch and back on to the plane home. They were already three down by the end of the powerplay – Sadaf Shamas chopped on to her own stumps, Sidra Amin was well held by a diving Maia Bouchier at cover and Ayesha Zafar chipped up a simple catch to ­midwicket. For once, the services of Ecclestone were not required until the 22nd over.

She initially sent down a ­tantalising three wicketless overs, bringing up her milestone in the fourth, with a beautifully flighted ball to take the edge of Sandhu through to Knight at slip.

Pakistan’s collapse from 95 for four to 124 all out within 30 overs, with their captain, Nida Dar, unable to take the field due to a hamstring injury, typified a difficult tour for them, with only the washout at Taunton on Sunday preventing a clean sweep.

Source: theguardian.com