Sciver keeps England alive in nail-biter against New Zealand at Women’s World Cup

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From L to R: Natalie Sciver plays a shot, reacts and bowls during the 2022 Women’s Cricket World Cup match at Eden Park in Auckland on Sunday. AFP

England kept their semi-final hopes alive at the Women’s World Cup Sunday as Nat Sciver set up a dramatic one-wicket victory over hosts New Zealand in Auckland.

Chasing New Zealand’s below par 203, Sciver’s 61 had England cruising to victory at 187 for five before they lost four wickets for nine runs.

The last pair Charlie Dean and Anya Shrubsole took a nervous two overs to pick off the remaining eight runs and seal the win with 16 balls remaining.

“It’s crazy, we just got over the line. We probably shouldn’t have,” a delighted Sciver said after being named player of the match. It made the tournament a lot brighter for defending champions England who have bounced back from early losses to Australia, West Indies and South Africa.

“I’m just relieved to get over the line,” England captain Heather Knight said. “The main thing today was getting the win and luckily we did. “There’s a bit of relief there and I think we’ll take being on the right side of this win and obviously reflect on what we could have done better.”

Frances Mackay (L) reacts as she takes the wicket of Heather Knight at Eden Park in Auckland. AFP

Unbeaten Australia have already qualified for the final four while England, South Africa, West Indies and India are all in contention for the remaining three slots.
Aiding England’s cause is that their remaining matches are against the two bottom-of-the-table sides — Bangladesh and Pakistan.

New Zealand still have a remote chance of advancing to the semi-finals but need several unlikely results to go their way. After New Zealand failed to bat out their 50 overs, England took a relatively risk-free approach to their run chase.

There was a slight wobble when they reached 98 for two when Heather Knight, for 42, and Amy Jones, for one, fell in quick succession.  But Sciver restored order with her well compiled 61 which included a 70-run stand with Sophia Dunkley, who made 33, as they moved to within 17 of their target with 40 balls remaining.

But when she was bowled with the score at 187 it started a nerve-racking period for England until Shrubsole clipped a four and a single off Brooke Halliday to get England home.

New Zealand’s hopes of firming up a top-four placing hit a roadbump when Sophie Devine retired with a back injury and they lost four wickets for 11 runs in the space of 17 deliveries to go from 150-4 to 161-8.

Devine returned but only added four more before being dismissed for 41 while Maddy Green ensured New Zealand passed the 200 mark and was unbeaten on 52 when the innings ended in the 49th over.

Kate Cross accounted for New Zealand’s recognised batters with three for 35 while Sophie Ecclestone mopped up the lower order with three for 41.
Frankie Mackay was New Zealand’s most successful bowler with four for 34.

Agence France-Presse

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