|First Twenty20, The Cloudfm County Ground, Chelmsford|
|England 184-4 (20 overs): Beaumont 97 (65), Jones 31 (15); Jensen 2-26|
|New Zealand 138 (18.5 overs): Satterthwaite 43 (31); Brunt 2-9, Glenn 2-24|
|England won by 46 runs|
Tammy Beaumont crashed a sensational 97 as England romped to a 46-run victory over New Zealand in the first Twenty20 at Chelmsford.
Beaumont – who was dropped on 26 and 64 by Kiwis captain Sophie Devine – hit 13 fours and one six from 65 balls, as she brutally attacked a rusty New Zealand, who had not played any competitive cricket since April.
She was ably assisted by Amy Jones, who made a 15-ball 31, and Sophia Dunkley, who made an unbeaten 23, as England blasted their way to 184-4 – their highest T20 score against the White Ferns.
England, who handed a debut to North West Thunder’s Emma Lamb after captain Heather Knight was ruled out with a hamstring injury, removed both Devine and Suzie Bates in the powerplay to seize control.
From there, England shared around regular wickets, and caught and fielded well, to bowl New Zealand out for 138, with seven balls remaining.
The second game in the three-match series is on Saturday at Hove.
‘It was a masterclass’ – Beaumont grabs opportunity
Since her England debut in 2009, Beaumont has made 94 T20 appearances, but has struggled to pin down a particular role in the side. In fact, she has batted in every position – apart from 10 – in the format for England.
The majority have come in her favoured opening slot, but when Lisa Keightley took charge before the 2020 World Cup, Beaumont found herself at seven, and then six, in her first two innings.
A semi-final exit (OK, even though it was because of the rain) forced England into a re-think and led to Beaumont being reunited with Danni Wyatt at the top of the order.
With The Hundred showcasing talents such as Lamb, Alice Capsey and Eve Jones, Beaumont knows she has to take her opportunities and she did just that.
She latched on to any hint of width – hitting 10 boundaries through and over the covers – and used her feet well to hit to, and over, the mid-wicket boundary with alarming ease.
A second international century seemed inevitable when she went into the final over on 95, but she fell to rapturous standing applause when she ramped to Brooke Halliday at short third.
Her England team-mate Kate Cross, who was part of the coverage on BBC Two, said: “It was an absolute Tammy Beaumont masterclass. She manipulated the field well and she was powerful – she was just on top of her game tonight.”
England effectively target Kasperek
Chelmsford is a fast-scoring ground, and one where England had won nine of their previous 10 matches in the T20 format.
Bowling spin in the powerplay may not be the wisest option, and so it proved as England clubbed Leigh Kasperek for 15 in just the third over.
It got worse, as Beaumont hit her third over for 18 – including four successive fours, all through the off-side.
Her final figures – which went above the half-century mark when Beaumont lofted her final ball for six over mid-wicket – were 1-54 and epitomised a lacklustre fielding display from the tourists.
There were four dropped catches, and New Zealand were often too slow to change their approach when bowling – Amy Satterthwaite stayed round the wicket despite Jones hitting four boundaries in one over through the leg-side – or fielding positions.
Spinners shine as England ease to win
The early wickets of Devine, trapped lbw by the returning Tash Farrant, and Bates – bowled by Katherine Brunt – left New Zealand in major trouble.
Their target of 185 would have been a record chase for them, and the pressure proved too much, prompting a hit-out-or-get-out approach that was never likely to lead to victory against a high-class and well-drilled England side.
In Sophie Ecclestone, the world’s number one-ranked spinner, Sarah Glenn – third in the rankings – and Mady Villiers, England have a formidable spin trio, and as they so often do, they performed.
They took 5-65 – with Ecclestone and Glenn both taking 2-24 – from 8.5 overs to rip through the New Zealand middle order and make the result inevitable.
The spinners were well assisted by Brunt – who took 2-9, including dismissing Satterthwaite, who was going well on 43 – and the fielders, with Farrant and Villiers both taking superb catches as England started the series with a pretty complete performance.
Speaking on BBC Two, stand-in captain Nat Sciver said: “We’re in a good place at the minute.
“It’s a luxury to have three top-class spinners, but Katherine at the top and coming back in the middle was important too.”