Danni Wyatt was thrilled with England’s six-wicket victory over New Zealand in their first warm-up match and believes her side’s ability to withstand pressure from the big teams holds them in good stead for the upcoming T20 World Cup, writes Ella Jerman.
Chasing 135 to win, Wyatt hit 42 before captain Heather Knight continued her good form with 45 not out as England comfortably sealed their first warm-up victory with two overs left to play in Adelaide.
But Wyatt hailed England’s bowlers, who restricted New Zealand to just 134/9, for easing the pressure on her at the crease, Katherine Brunt dismissing Sophie Devine early on before Anya Shrubsole and Sophie Ecclestone took two apiece.
And having already recorded wins against Australia and India at the recent Tri Series, Wyatt believes England have the skill needed with both bat and ball to succeed against South Africa in next Sunday’s opener in Perth.
“New Zealand are a quality side and the girls bowled really well again,” said Wyatt. “It was nice to be under pressure and great for myself to spend time out in the middle against them.
“’Run well, bat with intent’ were Lisa Keightley's words to me last night and I remembered that when I was out there today.
“We’ve definitely been put out of our comfort zones the last few weeks, but that’s exactly what we need to be ready to rock in our first game at the WACA next week.”
Sophie Devine has been in inspired form of late but England weren’t to be intimidated by the White Ferns captain, with Katherine Brunt’s early breakthrough setting the tone in Adelaide.
From there the wickets just kept on coming for Keightley’s side as New Zealand’s top order quickly collapsed.
First Rachel Priest was caught by wicket-keeper Amy Jones for Brunt’s second scalp before Shrubsole impressed with two for five in her first three overs, bowling Maddy Green before removing 19-year-old starlet Amelia Kerr.
New Zealand kept fighting and edged their way towards three figures through the ever-reliable Suzie Bates (33), but when she was dismissed by Sarah Glenn, it was left to Katey Martin to steer the ship.
Her 57 from 44 balls helped New Zealand set a defendable 134 for nine, with Brunt finishing with three for 23 while Sophie Ecclestone picked up two in the final over of the innings.
England started the chase in promising fashion with 40 coming from the first five overs.
But from there New Zealand’s bowlers came into their own with Lea Tahuhu taking two wickets in three balls to remove opener Jones and Brunt, batting at three.
Wyatt struck a 32-ball 42 before falling in the tenth over while Fran Wilson helped guide England to 111 for three until she was removed by seamer Jess Kerr.
But England had little reason to panic with Knight at four, the captain continuing her fine form with an unbeaten 45 off 36 balls to secure the six-wicket victory.