New Zealand v England: Amy Jones guides tourists to victory in first ODI

Amy Jones bats for England during the first ODI against New Zealand in Wellington
Amy Jones came in with England 58-5
First one-day international, Basin Reserve, Wellington
New Zealand 207 (48.2 overs): Bates 50 (74); Bell 3-41, Dean 3-57
England 209-6 (41.2 overs): Jones 92* (83), Dean 42* (70)
England won by four wickets

Amy Jones hit a superb unbeaten 92 to lead England to a four-wicket win over New Zealand in the first one-day international.

Needing 208 to win, the tourists slumped to 79-6 in Wellington before being rescued by a record unbroken seventh-wicket stand of 130 between Jones and Charlie Dean.

Jones took the lead, playing a perfectly paced counter-attacking innings, with Dean keeping her cool in a valuable supporting knock of 42 as England got over the line with 8.4 overs to spare.

Dean had earlier taken three wickets to become the fastest woman to 50 ODI scalps in only her 26th game.

The off-spinner made the initial breakthrough after an opening partnership of 90 between Suzie Bates and Bernadine Bezuidenhout.

Bates was dropped twice in the first seven balls of the match and was also fortunate to escape lbw and stumping shouts which would have been overturned had they been reviewed.

She made the most of that good fortune to hit her 34th ODI fifty, but was stumped next ball as the White Ferns subsided to 207 all out.

That looked eminently chaseable at the halfway point but England quickly found themselves in trouble and, when Danni Wyatt was bowled by Amelia Kerr in the 17th over, the visitors were six down and facing defeat.

But Jones and Dean went about rectifying the situation to give Heather Knight’s side a 1-0 series lead as the teams head to Hamilton for the second ODI, beginning at 23:00 BST on Wednesday.

Timely return to form for Jones

Having failed to reach double figures in four innings during the T20 series, this was an impressive return to form for Jones after England found themselves in a sizeable hole.

The visitors would have been confident starting the chase but lost Tammy Beaumont – bowled by a Jess Kerr full toss just below waist height – without a run on the board.

While they recovered from that early blow, the loss of five wickets in eight overs – including three for only four runs – left England on the brink.

Maia Bouchier was bounced out by the fiery Lea Tahuhu, Alice Capsey was plumb lbw after missing a reverse sweep and Nat Sciver-Brunt was run out trying to sneak a second run on a misfield.

All the hallmarks of an England collapse were there and New Zealand sensed that one more wicket would bring the match to a swift conclusion.

But the wicket never arrived as Jones went to work. While she and Dean were happy to tick over with ones and twos, Jones was also able to put the pressure back on the Kiwi bowlers with a number of bold shots over the top.

New Zealand continued to push for a breakthrough until the last, but the England pair were increasingly comfortable and offered little in the way of encouragement.

As the required runs ticked down, Jones kicked for home with a flurry of eye-catching boundaries before it was left to Dean to seal the win with one of her own.

Cross shines as England overcome early drops

In her first international white-ball game since September, Kate Cross was England’s standout bowler at the Basin Reserve.

The seamer should have had a wicket with her second ball when Bates chipped to mid-on, only for Sophie Ecclestone to dive over the ball.

When Bates was dropped again off Lauren Bell to start the next over and survived after England opted not to take an lbw review soon after, frustration could have begun to creep in for the visitors.

But Cross continued to calmly probe away, getting the ball to shape away nicely while also making the most of a green-tinged surface to nibble the ball around off the seam.

Despite beating the bat countless times, she had to wait until her second spell for her reward as New Zealand’s openers battled through against the new ball.

Bates and Bezuidenhout had been tied down by the England quicks and, although the runs came easier with the introduction of spin, it also proved their downfall as Dean made the breakthrough and Ecclestone quickly took the second New Zealand wicket.

New Zealand regrouped through Amelia Kerr, captaining the side for the first time in ODIs, and Georgia Plimmer.

However, Cross returned to remove them both lbw in an exceptional spell that sparked a New Zealand collapse of eight wickets for 68 runs.

Even after a collapse of their own, the efforts of Jones and Dean ensured the work of England’s bowlers did not go to waste.

‘Jones and Dean give lesson for us all’ – reaction

Player of the match Amy Jones on TNT Sports: “I was just trying to keep it as simple as possible and focus on one ball at a time. It sounds simple but I knew that if I did that then Deano and I would build a good partnership.

“I tried to be as positive as possible and, when the ball was in my areas, back myself. Then respect the good balls when they bowled in good areas as well.

“I’ve done a bit of work on mindset going into run-chases. It’s an area I’ve felt I could do better in so I’m pleased that that work has paid off today.”

England captain Heather Knight: “I felt like we were in a really good position [at the halfway stage]. The seamers, in particular, bowled really well.

“The way [Jones and Dean] soaked up pressure to build a partnership and then put the pressure back on the Kiwis was a lesson for us all.”

New Zealand captain Amelia Kerr: “Kate Cross bowled very well on that wicket. We didn’t really have any answers to their changes of pace and variation.

“We were in a position to get 250-plus, but then you look at the bowling side of things and one more wicket and maybe we could have defended 200.”

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