An all-round performance from captain Sophie Devine has helped New Zealand level the T20I series against England in Hove.
Leading from the front in her 100th T20I, Devine claimed 2/28 from four overs bowling at first change, before compiling an even 50 from 41 balls in the tourists' successful chase of 128.
Becoming the third White Fern to reach the milestone, Devine began on the front foot at the County Ground, winning the coin toss and sending England in. Into the fourth over, New Zealand made inroads, with Jess Kerr beating the defences of Tammy Beaumont (13), who had been a thorn in the side of the tourists in match one.
Danni Wyatt at the other end began strongly, opening her account with a boundary, though lost partners Nat Sciver (4) and Amy Jones (0) in consecutive balls to Devine, in the first glimpse of what turned out to be a dream night for the travelling skipper.
Wyatt was joined by Sophia Dunkley who, after looking dangerous moving into the twenties, was caught and bowled for 21 by Leigh Kasperek, who also claimed Sophie Ecclestone (5) to finish with figures of 2/20 (4)
England hit the 100 runs mark only four wickets down before the end of the 14th over, though New Zealand took the upper hand thanks to a smart 16th over bowled by Hannah Rowe. Claiming Wyatt (35) and Maia Bouchier on debut (25), the quick finished with figures of 2/12 off two overs, as New Zealand pressed on to level the series. After a much-improved effort in the field by New Zealand, England ended on 127/7.
New Zealand came out strong to reach 30 inside five overs, though the early pressure with the bat was relieved after Suzie Bates was run out (8) after a flat throw from Mady Villiers from mid-on.
Devine looked powerful at the crease, smashing a six off Tash Farrant (2/32), quickly followed by a four. Devine was dropped by Sarah Glenn, and needed no extra opportunity, hitting a total of four sixes on her way to her 15th T20I half-century, her highest T20I score since the T20 World Cup last year.
Fifty for Devine from 39 balls! 💪— ICC (@ICC) September 4, 2021
Done in style with four sixes. This is her highest score in T20I since the T20 World Cup last year.
New Zealand now need just 29 runs.#ENGvNZ | https://t.co/ZF7Ggx9P4y pic.twitter.com/6fIf27YwbI
England claimed Devine as Farrant returned to bowl, caught by Villiers who needed to work before clutching with a smart dive.
Villiers was in the thick of the action, claiming the wicket of Maddy Green (21) and taking the catch of Brooke Halliday (3) off the bowling of Sarah Glenn (1/24), and after the fall of Jensen (7), New Zealand, whilst still favourites, need four to win from ten balls in a nervy finish.
The 93 matches of T20I experience for Katey Martin came through at a crucial time, as the 'keeper and Newton calmly negotiated the final stages. After the fall of Jensen, Newton and Martin both avoided wide deliveries down the leg-side from Tarrant, and the pair scampered through to complete the chase.
Unsurprisingly, Devine in her 100th T20I match was adjudged player of the match.
The series is now level at 1-1 with the final match being played on Thursday at Taunton.
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