Leigh Kasperek continued her electric form with the ball, Sophie Devine blasted her trademark sixes, but it wasn’t enough to stop England from surging to a 20-run victory in the last over of the WHITE FERNS’ second and final official warm-up match in Chennai.
Having once again won the toss, veteran England captain Charlotte Edwards opted to bat first in a practice encounter in which more than 11 players would be utilised.
On a different pitch to yesterday’s warmup thriller, and this time in day conditions, England rested Sarah Taylor and Rebecca Grundy and, while Edwards was not in the batting line-up, she would skipper as usual in the field; Natasha Farrant would also join for the bowling.
Senior spinner Morna Nielsen opened the attack with pace bowler Hannah Rowe, who atoned for conceding a handful of early boundaries with the wicket of Amy Jones in the her second over.
First change Kasperek then produced magic with her very first delivery as she bowled Heather Knight.
But at 43/2 it had been a good first five overs for England, and for opener Tash Beaumont in particular, who had already raced to 31. She would carry on to a damaging half century, 56 off 52 balls, before Sara McGlashan finally ran her out in the 16th over.
Once the solid anchor of Beaumont was gone (England 100/5 with four overs to come), England then ran into a determined death rally from the New Zealanders that saw Felicity Leydon-Davis strike twice in the 19th over and then the composed Kasperek take two wickets with her first two deliveries in the final over to finish England off with four balls to spare: 126 all out.
Picking up from where she had left off in the home series against Australia, Kasperek had finished with another outstanding analysis of 4-12 off 3.2 overs, Leydon-Davis chiming in with 3-19 off her three, and Sophie Devine contributing with good pressure.
The WHITE FERNS opened with their regular pairing of Rachel Priest and skipper Suzie Bates, who found the boundary in the second over before Priest enjoyed taking three fours off the pace of Katherine Brunt, all in the space of four balls.
But she would be bowled soon after with the introduction of Amy Shrubsole, then Bates fell to Jenny Gunn four balls later.
The WHITE FERNS needed a further 99 off 92 balls as Amy Satterthwaite joined forced with Sara McGlashan. Satterthwaite couldn’t get going, but had an able replacement in Sophie Devine, in a mood for runs with her quad injury layoff now behind her.
Devine and McGlashan worked the ball well and totted up the singles for several overs before Devine unleashed her trademark brutality on Farrant, carving her for twin sixes in a 12th over that cost 16 runs.
Danielle Hazell got the same treatment next over before the bowler got revenge with her last delivery, trapping Devine to stop her damage at a 27-ball 31.
From that moment England simply seized control of the match, Shrubsole exerting strong pressure with the ball and the combined attack picking off the remainder of the line-up with relative ease.
The WHITE FERNS meanwhile had wilted to a position of pressure: they needed 27 runs off the last two overs, and were eventually all out with five balls remaining. Gunn had cashed in with 4-12 and Knight 3-13 as the tail fell away.
The two sides now head to their respective pools, the WHITE FERNS’ first match of the tournament awaiting in Delhi where they will meet the familiar Sri Lankans on early Wednesday morning New Zealand time.