Birmingham, Aug 7 (IANS) New Zealand on Sunday clinched the bronze medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games at Edgbaston after registering a comprehensive eight-wicket victory over hosts England. On Thursday, New Zealand could only make 71-9 in an embarrassing defeat in their final Group B match to England.
But on Sunday, less than 24 hours after both teams were defeated in the semi-finals, New Zealand stepped up, right from the start to finish, to restrict England to 110-9 and went on to chase down the target with eight wickets in hand and 49 balls remaining.
Opting to bat first, England had less than an ideal start as Danni Wyatt and Alice Capsey were dismissed cheaply, with the score at 10-2. Captain Nat Sciver and Sophia Dunkley were on the rebuild job for the remainder of Powerplay with a 34-run stand.
But New Zealand skipper Sophie Devine removed Nat for 27 and it began a slide for England, leaving them with absolutely no room to recover. Sophia, Maia Bouchier and Katherine Brunt fell without contributing much as New Zealand continued their terrific bowling display.
Amy Jones and Sophie Ecclestone would then chip in with some invaluable runs for England, creating a 37-run partnership and ensuring that the hosts' had a total of over 100 on board. Jones scored 26, while Ecclestone chipped in with 18 as England posted 110-9 in 20 overs.
For New Zealand, Hayley Jensen finished with figures of 3-24, taking out Danni, Amy and Issy Wong. Sophie took 2-11 while Amelia Kerr (1-22) and Hannah Rowe (1-13) were the other wicket-takers.
Sophie then combined with her opening partner Suzie Bates to share an opening stand of 54 runs through their big hits, which made the result a foregone conclusion. Suzie would finally depart for 20 off Nat, but she had done her job in the power-play. Debutant Georgia Plimmer couldn't last long, with Freya Kemp getting her out for four.
But Sophie, along with Amelia, ensured that New Zealand didn't face any more hiccups and took the side to a commanding victory and a bronze medal. Sophie would remain unbeaten on 51 off 40 balls and fittingly got the winning single despite her catch being dropped for New Zealand, while England were left to rue their shortcomings as they missed out on a podium finish at home.
Brief Scores: England 110-9 in 20 overs (Nat Sciver 27, Amy Jones 26; Hayley Jensen 3-24, Sophie Devine 2-11) lost to New Zealand 111-2 in 11.5 overs (Sophie Devine 51 not out, Amelia Kerr 21 not out, Nat Sciver 1-8, Freya Kemp 1-17) by eight wickets--IANS
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