Katherine Brunt, Issy Wong set tone as England brush past New Zealand

England 72 for 3 (Capsey 23, Dunkley 19, Jones 18*) beat New Zealand 71 for 9 (Green 19, Brunt 2-4, Wong 2-10, Glenn 2-13) by seven wickets

England will play India in the Commonwealth Games semi-finals after a fiery start from Katherine Brunt spurred them to a thumping win over New Zealand in their final group stage match at Edgbaston.

New Zealand will face gold-medal favourites Australia in Saturday’s other semi-final after crumbling to their third-lowest T20I total as Brunt, Issy Wong and Sarah Glenn claimed economical hauls of two wickets each.

Playing without Heather Knight, their captain who was ruled out of the entire tournament with a hip injury that is expected to take some months to heal, Alice Capsey top-scored for England for the third straight match as the hosts overhauled a tiny target with 50 balls to spare, treating the 10,892-strong crowd to a stirring home victory.

NZ bear the Brunt

Brunt set England off to the perfect start when she sent Sophie Devine’s leg stump cartwheeling with a brilliant offcutter as the batter tried to defend on just the fourth ball of the match.

In Brunt’s second over, she removed Amelia Kerr with an equally impressive delivery that beat the bottom edge as Kerr tried to heave over the leg side and clipped the top of middle stump in what turned out to be a wicket maiden, leaving Brunt with 2 for 2 from as many overs at that point. She ended the match with 2 for 4 from three overs.

No let-up from England

When Wong entered the fray soon after, she struck with her fourth ball as Suzie Bates – by now New Zealand’s great hope – picked out Nat Sciver at midwicket. All of a sudden, the White Ferns were 12 for 3, and they only managed to stretch their score to 21 for 3 by the end of the powerplay.

Their woes deepened when Brooke Halliday ran herself out, charging down the pitch after Maddy Green had worked Sciver to the leg side but not taken more than a half step before holding her hand up. By the time Green screamed, “no, no!” her team-mate was virtually standing next to her and had to keep walking on to the dugout as Sciver gathered wicketkeeper Amy Jones’ throw and whipped off the bails at the non-striker’s end.

Wong claimed her second when Hayley Jensen chipped to Danni Wyatt at point to leave New Zealand 35 for 5 at the halfway point of their innings. Spinners Sophie Ecclestone and Sarah Glenn – the latter taking two wickets in two balls – put England on the brink of bowling their opposition out before 10th-wicket pair Hannah Rowe and Fran Jonas managed to bat out the 20 overs.

Runs reeled in

England’s run-chase stuttered when Wyatt skied the last ball of the opening over, bowled by Jonas, towards midwicket and keeper Isabella Gaze ran into the gap to take the catch.

Capsey, the 17-year-old England have thrown into the No. 3 position whenever they lose a wicket in powerplay – she is their leading scorer of the Games with 117 runs and second only to Bates overall – set out to marshall the pursuit once more. Fresh off her maiden international half-century in the previous match against South Africa, Capsey sent highly experienced White Ferns seamer Lea Tahuhu to the boundary four times in one over, thrice with authority through the off side before swinging her through square leg.

Compounding New Zealand’s problems, captain Devine brought herself into the attack but was found to have overstepped when she had Capsey well caught on the ramp by Rowe. The damage was limited, however, when Capsey chipped Kerr to Devine at mid-off in the next over without adding to her 19-ball 23.

Sophia Dunkley remains yet to pass 20 in this competition after she was bowled by a Kerr googly for 19 but then Jones, supported by Sciver, made light work of the deficit, finding the boundary four times to see their side home inside 12 overs.

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo

(With Inputs from ESPN)

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