England versus New Zealand: Lea Tahuhu conjures up vacationers to win in Leicester
|Third One Day National Playground, Uptonsteel County Ground, Leicester|
|England 178 (48.3 overs): Brunt 49 *, Tahuhu 5-38, Penfold 2-48|
|New Zealand 181-7 (45.5 overs): Green 70 *, Brunt 4-22|
|New Zealand won with three wickets; England lead Series 2-1|
Lea Tahuhu played with the ball for New Zealand when England suffered a three-wicket defeat in the third game of the one-day international five-game series at Leicester.
Pace Bowler Tahuhu took 5-38 – her first five-wicket haul in ODI cricket – when England collapsed at 59-6 and 102-8 after being asked to hit first.
It took an unbeaten 49 from Katherine Brunt and her 53-run stand with the number 10 Kate Cross to lift England to 178 as they were in the game with nine balls.
Brunt then led the charge with the new ball, taking 4-22 while New Zealand stuttered to 94-4, and regular wickets left the tourists who took 29 runs from the last 10 overs with only four wickets left.
Maddy Green's undefeated 70, however, were the mainstay of the innings as the White Ferns sneaked across the line with 25 balls remaining.
England could have finished the streak with two games left but paid to get off to a bad start as Brunt's brilliance was unable to make up for the lack of top rows.
Tahuhu was excellent for the White Ferns, while fellow seaman Molly Penfold scored 2:48 on her international debut.
The New Zealanders' stumbling win showed how unconfident they are, but Green kept a calm head to lead them to only their second win in the last 20 ODIs.
It was fitting, however, that it was Tahuhu who hit the winning runs with a straight six on the floor.
The fourth game will take place in the Derby on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. BST.
Tahuhu & Penfold torment England
It feels strange that this was Tahuhu's first ODI five as this was their 73rd appearance for the White Farne.
Her participation in this tour of England was in doubt after requiring three surgeries on a precancerous birthmark on her left foot. The three surgeries involved a skin graft from her thigh to her foot, which resulted in a mentally demanding eight-week discharge.
The 30-year-old used the trip as a motivation to recover, especially after missing the February-March home streak against England with a thigh problem. She has a good support base in England – she and her wife Amy Satterthwaite travel with their young daughter Grace by their side.
Tahuhu has always been fast, but now there is accuracy. All but one of their wickets were lbw or bowled, the full and direct tactic paid off.
Openers Tammy Beaumont and Lauren Winfield-Hill were caught by their pace on the line, captain Heather Knight hit a tempting delivery, and Sophia Dunkley played around her pad and was rolled.
Tahuhu celebrated her fifth wicket – bowling Charlie Dean – with an outstretched arm and a scream before being hugged by Satterthwaite and her other teammates.
The damage was also caused by London-born Penfold, a 20-year-old who only played one season in domestic cricket but who caught attention with her raw pace.
Much like Tahuhu in her early career, the pace is there, but the radar can wander at times. But when it clicked, England worried. Her first ODI wicket came when she slipped through Amy Jones' defense to toss her for 20 before a brilliant dive from Lauren Down ended Danni Wyatt's stint.
In Tahuhu and Penfold, New Zealand has two good fast bowlers who can get teams in trouble. But they will need the support of their batting team as they prepare for their home World Cup.
England stumbles with the bat – again
Brunt is a whole-hearted cricketer and the way she suppressed her natural attack instinct to dig England out of a hole was impressive, but that sum was never enough.
England was missing a blow after deciding to rest Natalie Sciver, which meant there was no one to stop the middle order collapse.
The Brunt Cross partnership has sustained New Zealand's thrust and may have taken a bit of confidence from them, especially given the strong position they have lost on Sunday in Worcester.
But this chase shouldn't have been as difficult as the tourists would have suggested, though the accuracy of Brunt and Cross made fluid stroke play difficult.
Satterthwaite ran New Zealand for a while, but her cheap layoff, which she caught trying to lift Charlie Dean to the ground, was disappointing. Skipper Sophie Devine also fell cheaply when she bowled from Brunt to three to get the White Ferns into trouble.
Green played inconspicuously, just took the singles on offer and played low-risk strokes. Tahuhu, meanwhile, looked like she was about to quit the game and hit three fours and a six in their 18-ball-19 to bring the team home.
"New Zealand hit us hard" – what they said
England World Champion Alex Hartley in the BBC Test Match Special: "You think about games, and games like these that are absolutely hammering you, you learn the most. The punching unit will go away and learn from today and they will know they went wrong."
England's Captain Heather Knight: "There were too few runs. We showed bat and ball fighting. I'm not sure what's going on with the hitting. It's probably us that we're getting out instead of them getting us out."
"What a warrior Katherine Brunt was. She was tail-guarding and she was brilliant with the ball. We lose wickets in groups, maybe a few tired throws, but I thought Lea Tahuhu bowled really well and put us under pressure. She. She came "pretty hard with us."
New Zealand's Captain Sophie Devine: "It's nice to finally get over the line. In the end it was probably tighter than we'd liked, but we showed some resilience.
“Lea was a bit like an animal in a cage. It really turned a corner, also in terms of accuracy. She may not be as fast as it used to be, but her intelligence is also slowly coming through. "