After the animosity and vitriol flowing through cricket Twitter yesterday as the 3rd test between England and India came to a premature end, it was nice to settle in to watch a more enjoyable and friendly game between England and New Zealand.
With England coming off the back of a resounding victory in the first game, it would have been easy for them to become complacent as they took to the University Oval in Dunedin. No such luck for New Zealand as England dominated in all three facets of the game, coasting to a 7-wicket victory and a 2-0 lead in the 3 game series.
Having faltered with the bat in the first game captain Sophie Devine won the toss for New Zealand and elected to bat first, wanting to put some scoreboard pressure on England and exorcise the ghosts of the previous game. Unfortunately for Devine and the rest of the New Zealand batting lineup, they were met at the crease by an inspired bowling performance.
Katherine Brunt and Nat Sciver opened the bowling for England, and instantly found the perfect line and length to trouble the White Fern openers. Both Hayley Jensen and Natalie Dodd fell to Brunt trying to cut balls that weren't there to be cut, Jensen being caught by the excellent Amy Jones behind the stumps before Dodd chopped on to her own stumps.
Tash Farrant and Kate Cross continued to build on the excellent foundation set by the opening bowlers before handing over to the spin twins of Sarah Glenn and Sophie Eccelstone. England showed the depth of their bowling attack which is among the best in the world, especially when you consider they don't have the dangerous Anya Shrubsole touring at the moment.
Katherine Brunt in particular showed her class, control and aggression, serving up swinging deliveries at 70mph while also offering up a couple of bouncers to keep the New Zealand opening pair off the front foot.
England continued to dry up the runs and take wickets at regular intervals, despite an impressive 60 from Brooke Halliday, who was eventually caught behind by Amy Jones who took three catches on the night. The tail for New Zealand wagged, but 192 was never going to be enough to keep England at bay.
England chased down the required runs within 38 overs, thanks in large part to a fluent 72* by the ever-impressive Tammy Beaumont who opened the batting with Danni Wyatt, who survived just 1 delivery before being bowled by Jess Kerr who was excellent in her 6 overs of work.
After one captain run out the other with Devine getting Heather Knight, Nat Sciver was in scintillating form, helping herself to 63 runs as well as 3 wickets to be named player of the match. Sciver may only be ranked as the 8th best all-rounder in the world according to the ICC rankings, but performances like this will see her climb, and climb quickly.
Amy Jones came to the crease to see the game home with Tammy, hitting a stunning 46 that included 8 boundaries, and some absolutely beautiful shots.
England will now head into the final ODI tomorrow at the same venue knowing that the series has already been won. This group is hungry though, they'll be wanting a sweep.