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Commonwealth Games: As Katherine Brunt shines with the ball, England defeats New Zealand to win the group
Commonwealth Games: As Katherine Brunt shines with the ball, England defeats New Zealand to win the group
Commonwealth Games: As Katherine Brunt shines with the ball, England defeats New Zealand to win the group
Cricket Commonwealth Games: As Katherine Brunt shines with the ball, England defeats New...

Commonwealth Games: As Katherine Brunt shines with the ball, England defeats New Zealand to win the group

Commonwealth Games: Following a decisive seven-wicket victory over New Zealand, England advanced to the Commonwealth Games semifinals as group champions thanks to Katherine Brunt’s outstanding opening bowling performance.

Issy Wong (2-10) and Sarah Glenn (2-13) both claimed two dismissals as England’s outstanding bowling effort at Edgbaston restricted New Zealand to just 71-9 from their 20 overs. Brunt took two early wickets to set the tone.

After putting up a quick-fire 39 runs for the second wicket with Sophia Dunkley (19) and Alice Capsey (23), stand-in skipper Nat Sciver (7 no) and Amy Jones (18 no) guided England to victory with more than eight overs remaining.

Before the tournament’s last group stage match, both sides had already advanced to the semifinals, but England’s win means they will face Group A runners-up India on Saturday after New Zealand plays tournament favourites Australia.

The triumph gave England a perfect record in group play. Despite the absence of skipper Heather Knight, who was on Wednesday ruled out of the competition due to a hip injury, England also defeated South Africa and Sri Lanka.

On a warm summer evening in Birmingham, England took command from the first over, with Brunt dismissing Sophie Devine with a resounding bowl as an in-swinging ball sent the New Zealand captain and star batter’s leg stump spinning.

The 37-year-old then dismissed Amelia Kerr in nearly the same way in her second over, while fellow fast Wong then struck in the next over to get rid of Suzie Bates, leaving New Zealand 12-3.

As if things weren’t already bad enough, a disastrous mix-up led to Brooke Halliday being ran out, and Wong then removed Hayley Jensen with a slower ball to thwart New Zealand’s attempts at a counterattack.

After Maddy Green, New Zealand’s leading run-getter was dismissed for 19 by the top-ranked T20I bowler in the world, Sophie Ecclestone, Lea Tahuhu, and Rosemary Mair were also dismissed by England’s Glenn, leaving the White Ferns at 57-9 with five overs remaining in the innings.

The longest and joint-highest partnership of the innings for New Zealand came from Hannah Rowe and Fran Jonas as they persevered to the end of the overs, but 71 was never going to worry England.

New Zealand had some hope when England’s opener Dani Wyatt was dismissed in the first over thanks to a brilliant catch by wicketkeeper Emma Gaze after Jonas’ spin bowling caused the ball to fly high into the air.

To the joy of the Edgbaston crowd, England’s 17-year-old teenage batting prodigy Capsey soon set her side back on track by hitting Tahuhu for four boundaries in a single over.

Capsey, who had scored his first 50 in England’s previous match against South Africa, was quickly dismissed for 23 by Kerr, but there was plenty more proof that he has a very promising future.

When Dunkley joined in on the boundary-hitting, England only needed 27 more runs to win when she was bowled for 19 by Kerr.

Sciver and Jones, the team’s captain, made quick work of it; when Jones advanced to 18 not out from just 10 balls, she displayed some excellent stroke play.

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