England took an unassailable 2-0 lead in their ODI series against New Zealand with a 56-run win in the second match in Hamilton.

After being dismissed for a duck in the first match on Monday, opener Tammy Beaumont bounced back with a stellar 81-run stand to get England off to a hot start at Seddon Park.

Once Maia Bouchier was caught by Hannah Rowe for 20, England captain Heather Knight set about building an intimidating target alongside Beaumont.

The pair combined for 70 runs before Knight was dismissed by Jess Kerr.

Beaumont was not fazed however, continuing to belt boundaries despite the quick exits of Nat Sciver-Brunt and Alice Capsey.

She lifted England to 158 for five before she was finally dismissed by Rowe.

Amy Jones took the baton from there, contributing 48 from 40 balls as England set a lofty target of 253.

Despite a staunch 57 from Brooke Halliday and a blistering 47 off 48 balls from Izzy Gaze, New Zealand’s batters were unable to threaten England’s score, ultimately being bowled out for 196.

Sciver-Brunt led the way for England’s bowlers with three wickets from her seven overs.

The final match of the series takes place on Sunday.

Maia Bouchier defied injury to hit 91 as England Women outpowered New Zealand to win the fourth T20 international in Wellington by 47 runs and clinch the series.

Bouchier’s 91 off 56 balls, her second successive half-century, helped England to 177 for three, Charlie Dean taking four wickets as New Zealand were restricted to 130 for seven.

England lost Danni Wyatt, back in the side after playing in the Women’s IPL, early but Alice Capsey and Bouchier – hampered by a quad injury – added 75 in 10 overs.

Captain Heather Knight (21 not out) and Nat Sciver-Brunt (29 not out) smashed 35 off the final 14 balls to set the hosts a daunting target.

That target was made more daunting without captain Suzie Bates, injured in the field, and England struck at regular intervals.

Dean grabbed four for 26, and Brooke Holliday was at the top scoring, with 25 for the hosts.

The win gives England an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series, which concludes in Wellington on Friday.

Royal Challengers Bangalore Women have booked a spot in Sunday’s 2024 Women’s Premier League (WPL) final thanks to a five-run win over defending champions Mumbai Indians Women in the Eliminator at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi on Friday.

RCB posted 135-6 from their 20 overs after winning the toss and batting first. Australian star Ellyse Perry led the way with a crucial 66 off 50 balls including eight fours and a six.

West Indies skipper Hayley Matthews starred with the ball for the Indians with 2-18 from her four overs while English all-rounder Nat Sciver-Brunt had identical figures from her four over spell.

Saika Ishaque took the other two wickets to fall while conceding 27 runs in three overs.

Mumbai were then restricted to 130-6 from their 20 overs in reply.

Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur led the way with 33 while Amelie Kerr made 27* and Nat Sciver-Brunt made 23. Matthews contributed 15 at the top of the order.

Shreyanka Patil was the best bowler on the day for RCB with 2-16 from four overs.

West Indies Women’s captain Hayley Matthews contributed a wicket and 18 runs as Mumbai Indians Women registered win number five of the Women’s Premier League (WPL) campaign with a seven-wicket beating of Gujarat Giants Women at the AJ Stadium, on Saturday.

Matthews, who opened the bowling for MI Women, ended with one for 22 from three overs, which assisted in limiting the Giants to 190 for seven from their 20 overs, after they opted to take first strike.

After a sedate start, the 25-year-old Barbadian all-rounder then stroke four boundaries in her 21-ball 18, as she posted an even 50-run opening stand with Yastikia Bhatia, which laid the platform for the successful chase that was anchored by captain Harmanpreet Kaur, who was left unbeaten on 95.

Bhatia made 49 off 36 balls, including eight fours and a solitary six, while Kaur’s breathtaking 48-ball knock included 10 fours and five sixes.

Scores: Gujarat Giants Women 190-7 (20 overs); MI Women 191-3 (19.5 overs)

Despite the slow start, Matthews maintained her composure and eventually found some rhythm with a series of boundaries, before she went caught off Tanuja Kanwar in the next over.

Things got worse for MI Women when they lost England international Nat Sciver-Brunt (two) in the eighth over with the score at 57-2. However, Bhatia and Kaur steadied the innings with a 41-run third wicket stand, before the former offered a return catch to Ashleigh Gardner in the 14th over.

Still, Kaur continued to flow and dominated an unbroken 93-run stand with New Zealand all-rounder Amelia Kerr, whose contribution to the partnership was a mere 12 not out.

With MI Women requiring 13 from the final over, bowled by Gardner, Kaur smashed a six and a four off the first two balls, before scrambling singles with Kerr off the next three deliveries to complete the win with one ball to spare.

Earlier, Gujarat Giants through a 121-run second-wicket stand between Dayalan Hemalatha (74) and her captain Beth Mooney (66), threatened to put the game beyond MI Women’s reach.

Hemalatha hit nine fours and two sixes in her top score which came off 40 balls, while Mooney’s 35-ball knock included eight fours and three sixes.

But their contributions were in vain, as Bharti Fulmali (21) was the next best scorer with the remaining players offering little or no resistance to the MI Women’s bowlers.

With the win, Mumbai India Women remain atop the standing on 10 points, with Delhi Capital Women (8 points), their closest pursuer.

West Indies captain Hayley Matthews had only a small role to play, as her Mumbai Indians team registered a comfortable seven-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore to assume pole position of the Women’s Premier League at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, on Saturday.

Matthews, who made 55 in a losing cause on last, got a fairly decent start, and though she failed to push on, it mattered little, as Mumbai Indians made light work of the modest target set by Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Chasing 132, Mumbai Indians got to their target with 29 balls to spare, with Matthews contributing a brisk 21-ball 26.

She struck three fours and a solitary six in a 45-run opening stand with Yastika Bhatia, which laid the foundation for the run chase. Bhatia lashed a 15-ball 31. 

Matthews added a further 24 runs for the second wicket with captain Nat Sciver-Brunt (27), before holing out to cover off-spinner Shreyanka Patil.

From there, it was left for New Zealander Amelia Kerr to apply the finish with a snappy 40 off 24 balls, including seven fours, that fuelled an important 49-run third wicket partnership with Sciver-Brunt.

Earlier, RCB stumbled their way to 131 for six off their 20 overs after being sent in, Australian Ellyse Perry holding the innings together with an unbeaten 44 off 38 balls.

With the innings in trouble at 42 for four in the ninth over, Perry put on 29 for the fifth wicket with fellow countrywoman Sophie Molineux (12), before adding a further 51 for the seventh wicket with another international teammate Georgia Wareham, who made 27 from 20 deliveries.

The win was Mumbai’s third in four games, putting them top of the standings on six points.

England all-rounder Nat Sciver-Brunt is in contention to retain her title as women’s ODI player of the year after being named on a shortlist of four in the International Cricket Council’s awards.

Sciver-Brunt played just six times in the format in 2023 but still made a splash, hitting three centuries including two against Australia in last summer’s drawn Ashes contest.

In all she hit 393 runs at a stellar average of 131, also chipping in with three wickets and two catches. She won the trophy in 2022, making it a double by being named the overall women’s cricketer of the year.

The 31-year-old goes up against Australia’s Ashleigh Gardner, Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapaththu and New Zealander Amelia Kerr.

Sciver-Brunt is not the only member of the England Women’s team to be nominated by the ICC, with spinner Sophie Ecclestone shortlisted for T20 player of the year and seamer Lauren Bell up for emerging player.

No English men have been nominated for a white-ball award after a disappointing 12 months for a side which started 2023 as world champions in both limited-overs formats.

There are no Australians in the men’s ODI shortlist, despite Pat Cummins’ side becoming 50-over world champions in November.

Instead there are three representatives from runners-up India – Virat Kohli, Shubman Gill and Mohammed Shami rewarded for consistent performances alongside Daryl Mitchell of New Zealand.

The Paris Olympics and Euro 2024 will underpin next year’s sporting calendar.

Here, the PA news agency picks out 10 stars who are expected to shine.

Sky Brown

Britain’s skateboard superstar claimed an historic bronze medal at the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics and will head to Paris as the reigning world champion in the park category. Still only 15, Brown has still not given up hope of also representing Team GB in the Olympic surfing event in Tahiti.

Simone Biles

One of the world’s greatest ever gymnasts launched a spectacular return in 2023, after an extended hiatus to prioritise mental health. With a remarkable four world golds, including in the prestigious women’s all-around, Biles once again set her stall out as the star to watch in Paris.

Noah Lyles

The US track star dazzled in 2023, winning gold in both 100m and 200m at the World Championships in Budapest. Looking to build on the 200m bronze he took in Tokyo, Lyles is intent on expanding his horizons by potentially also forming a part of the men’s 4x400m relay squad.

Jude Bellingham

England’s Bellingham has made a stunning start to his Real Madrid career, scoring 12 goals in his first 14 LaLiga appearances and also becoming the first player to score in each of his first four Champions League appearances for the club. A sensational platform at Euro 2024 in Germany awaits.

Sam Walters

The 6ft 6ins Walters was one of the more dependable figures in another testing rugby league season for Leeds Rhinos, so it came as a great surprise that he was allowed to leave to join rivals and reigning Super League champions Wigan. Walters’ speed and power can only make the champions stronger.

Jannik Sinner

Speedy baseliner Sinner has been threatening to move into serious grand slam title contention for some time and the signs are that 2024 could be his year. Sinner won two of four meetings with Novak Djokovic – including a dramatic Davis Cup rubber – and more of the same is seemingly assured for 2024.

Luca Brecel

He probably will not practice and will be one of the first to write off his chances. But enigmatic Belgian Luca Brecel will return to the Crucible in April as the defending world snooker champion – and one of the few top-level current players who can boast the stamina to get to the end of the 17 gruelling days.

Kylian Mbappe

Mbappe might not be in the best of moods in relation to his club career but his importance to France – and his ability to light up the game’s biggest stages – will be in evidence during Euro 2024. Moreover, Mbappe still harbours hopes of appearing as an over-age player at the Paris Olympics.

Keely Hodgkinson

So far it has been a career of so near yet so far for the British 800 metres ace, who has had to settle for silver medals at consecutive world championships, as well as the Tokyo Olympics and the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. All eyes will be on her bid to go one better in Paris.

Nat Sciver-Brunt

The all-rounder, who has landed a deal to play for Perth Scorchers in the next women’s Big Bash, will play a pivotal role when England are scheduled to head to Bangladesh in 2024 as one of the favourites to clinch the women’s T20 world title.

England batter Tammy Beaumont admits players “feel more anxious” heading into a Test as they prepare to face India in a one-off match at the DY Patil Stadium from Thursday.

England have mostly played Test matches on home soil, the last in June when Australia won by 89 runs at Trent Bridge.

The last time England played red-ball cricket overseas was in January 2022, when they played out a dramatic draw against Australia.

Women’s Test matches are usually one-off games as part of a multi-format series and Beaumont thinks players feel more nerves around the longest format due to the fact they do not come around that often.

She told a press conference: “You certainly feel more anxious around a Test match week.

“You have the likes of me, Heather Knight, Nat Sciver-Brunt who have been playing international cricket for 12-14 years and we haven’t even played that many Tests, maybe 10 or 12, so if you think of that as white-ball cricket that is your first year.

“So, there are more nerves because we haven’t had the opportunity to master it. You are constantly a young player in Test cricket, no matter how old your body feels. In the men’s game 10 Tests is not even a career, it’s a start.

“I love Test cricket and each and every one of us would love to play more Test cricket and I’m almost interested to see what India do with the Australia Test match straight after, so if that goes well, I could see a future doing two-Test or three-Test series against the top nations, which I think would be amazing.”

England finish their tour of India with the Test after they sealed a 2-1 win in their recent three-match T20 series at the Wankhede Stadium.

Despite the gap between Tests, Beaumont will be looking to transfer some of her form from the summer.

The right-hander hit 208 against Australia, becoming the first English woman to score a Test double-century.

She added: “(We’re) not coming in with too many preconceived ideas of how the pitch is going to play or what a Test match in India might look like.

“We have found the wickets have played nicely and there’s a bit in it for the bowlers and batters, so not thinking you have to work on playing spin so much but it’s been a really good preparation period.

“Talking about something that happened six months ago (her double-hundred against Australia) can’t really count as form but certainly nice to know that was your last Test match and you go in with a lot of confidence.”

This will be England’s first Test in India since 2005.

Beaumont is hoping they can continue the momentum of interest injected into women’s cricket from the summer following the success of the Ashes and The Hundred.

“It’s good that we got the broadcast deal so people can watch it back home,” she said.

“On the whole it has been really positive as we got a lot of sellouts in the Ashes and into the Hundred the crowds every week were a record crowd.

“I think people are really taking notice of women’s cricket in England which is good to see and hopefully they will be right behind us for the Test as well.

“We want to inspire the next generation of female cricketers, not only in England but across the world, so we will be playing a way of cricket that people will want to watch.”

Danni Wyatt shone on her record 150th T20 international appearance as England began their first tour of India in four years with an impressive 38-run victory in Mumbai.

Wyatt hit 75 and Nat Sciver-Brunt made 77, with the pair sharing a match-winning stand in an imposing total of 197 for six.

Sophie Ecclestone ensured their work did not go to waste, rounding out the result with figures of three for 15 on her comeback appearance after four months out with a shoulder injury.

Opener Wyatt began the match by becoming the first English cricketer to reach the cap landmark but soon found herself in a scrap at the Wankhede Stadium, losing two batting partners in the first over of the day and before she had even got off the mark.

Renuka Singh was responsible for her side’s fine start, bowling Sophia Dunkley via a deflection off the bat and then knocking over Alice Capsey for a golden duck as she took out off stump with a beauty.

Wyatt and Sciver-Brunt were unfazed by the double setback and proceeded to put on 138 off the next 87 balls.

Wyatt helped herself to eight fours and two sixes, the first a slog sweep off Deepti Sharma and the second a big swing over long-off charging debutant Shreyanka Patil.

Sciver-Brunt added 13 boundaries of her own as the scoreboard raced along but Wyatt’s 47-ball attack ended with five overs left as she was stumped off newcomer Saika Ishaque.

Captain Heather Knight fell cheaply and Sciver-Brunt was caught behind in the 19th but Amy Jones ensured an action-packed finish by scoring 23 off nine balls at the death.

Sciver-Brunt was back in the thick of things early in the chase, coming on for the third over and forcing an error from the dangerous Smriti Mandhana, who was bowled middle stump.

Shafali Verma collected a handful of fours as she kept India in touch with the required rate but when Freya Kemp had Jemima Rodrigues caught behind in the final powerplay over it was another big boost to the tourists’ cause.

India were relying on a big stand between Verma and Harmanpreet Kaur, the latter briefly looking in rude health before Ecclestone’s arrival spelled the end. The left-arm spinner had not played since dislocating her shoulder in August but needed just one sighter before bowling Kaur via an inside edge.

With five overs left India still needed 74, leaving England to mop up a clinical win as Ecclestone added the battling Verma (52) and Kanika Ahuja to her haul.

Nat Sciver-Brunt reflected with pride on her record-breaking century as England brought the curtain down on their summer in barnstorming fashion by thrashing Sri Lanka.

On her 100th ODI and captaining the side in the absence of the unwell Heather Knight, Sciver-Brunt demonstrated a masterclass in controlled aggression to peel off a stunning 66-ball hundred.

It was the fastest ton in a women’s ODI by an England batter – eclipsing Charlotte Edwards’ 70-ball effort from March 2012 – as the hosts prevailed by a whopping 161 runs to seal a 2-0 series win.

Sciver-Brunt holed out for 120 off 74 balls, her third three-figure score in her last four ODI innings, having helped England draw a gripping multi-format Ashes series with back-to-back hundreds in July.

“I’m really happy to bat the way I did and continue with what I was doing against Australia as well,” Sciver-Brunt said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

Sciver-Brunt was rested from the preceding three T20s between the teams, where England suffered a shock defeat, but the 31-year-old has felt the benefit of some downtime in a hectic summer programme.

She has been managing a knee problem for several months and played in this series as a specialist batter but anticipates returning to all-rounder duties on England’s tour of India before Christmas.

“The decision not to bowl post-Ashes was more to give the body a bit of a rest,” she said. “I’m looking forward to picking up the ball again. I want to influence games as much as I can.

“That’s the best part of being an all-rounder and fielding for 50 overs and not really being able to influence with the ball was a little bit frustrating but I was happy to have the body break for that.

“When we play so much cricket through the summer, we probably don’t need to train too many things, just be right in the mind and body and hopefully continue that mindset that I had (in the Ashes).”

England were bogged down by Sri Lanka’s spinners in the T20s when batting first and may have feared the worst when Tammy Beaumont and Alice Capsey were dismissed early in a match reduced to 31 overs per side at Grace Road because of rain that led to the start time being pushed back by more than three hours.

But Sciver-Brunt exhibited why she is so instrumental, taking on the coterie of off-spinners and slow left-armers, punching with aplomb off the back foot and displaying her full range with fluid drives, pulls, sweeps and one scoop for 18 fours and a single six.

Maia Bouchier, featuring in just her third ODI and in her second innings in the format, provided ample support with 95 off only 65 balls.  The 24-year-old opener crashed a dozen fours and two sixes in a 193-run stand from just 121 deliveries with Sciver-Brunt.

“She’s a fantastic player,” England head coach Jon Lewis said of his stand-in captain.

“It’s the calmness she brings – and I thought we saw that in abundance here. The calmness she brought to Maia in a situation when we were 18 for two, she’s come out with an authority.”

Sciver-Brunt was the first to three figures but Bouchier could have made sure her team-mate’s record lasted just a few minutes had she dispatched her 65th ball for six, only to be trapped lbw.

“I was absolutely gutted for her that she didn’t score a hundred because I know that when she does score a hundred, she’ll score a lot of hundreds,” Lewis added. “She’s incredibly talented.”

Sciver-Brunt and Bouchier underpinned a mammoth 273 for eight, a total which would have stretched Sri Lanka in a regulation 50-over game and the tourists were never in contention in the chase.

They capitulated to 112 all out in 24.5 overs, as Charlie Dean claimed five for 31, her maiden five-wicket haul for England which the off-spinner recognised was built on Sciver-Brunt’s stunning knock.

“She’s the best all-rounder in the world, the best batter,” Dean said. “She brings a lot to the team, she definitely elevates us with her standards alone.

“I guess she goes under the radar with her leadership – she’s so calm. We have so many players that can do similar but there’s only one Nat Sciver-Brunt.”

Stand-in captain Nat Sciver-Brunt marked her 100th ODI with a record-breaking century as England thumped Sri Lanka to wrap up their summer in scintillating fashion.

Deputising for an under-the-weather Heather Knight, Sciver-Brunt gave a masterclass in controlled aggression as she flayed a 66-ball hundred – the fastest in women’s ODIs by an England batter.

After eclipsing the previous best off 70 balls by Charlotte Edwards against New Zealand in March 2012, Sciver-Brunt made 120 from 74 deliveries before England prevailed by 161 runs for a 2-0 series win.

Her record would only have stood for a couple of minutes if Maia Bouchier had hit her 65th ball for six but she was lbw for 95, ending a boundary-laden 193-run stand in 121 deliveries with Sciver-Brunt.

Their efforts underpinned England’s mammoth 273 for eight in a contest reduced to 31 overs each because of a rain-delayed start at Grace Road, with Charlie Dean’s five for 31 hastening Sri Lanka’s demise to 112 all out in a doomed pursuit.

Bouchier and Sciver-Brunt came together after England had lurched to 18 for two, with Tammy Beaumont edging a wild heave to slip before a flat-footed Alice Capsey saw her stumps disturbed by a Udeshika Prabodhani inswinger.

With Sri Lanka’s coterie of spinners still to bowl, England might have feared the worst in their final outing of their summer programme.

They laboured when batting first against Sri Lanka’s slower options in a shock defeat in the preceding T20 series, but Sciver-Brunt was rested for those matches and she exhibited why she is regarded as one of the best batters against spin in the women’s game.

After taking two singles from her first seven deliveries, Sciver-Brunt settled into her stride with one of several back-foot punches through cover off Inoka Ranaweera before larruping through midwicket to bring up England’s 50 and then shimmying down to the slow left-armer and elegantly driving for six.

Opposite number Chamari Athapaththu rotated her options but the spinners offered very little threat and no containment, with all of them going at more than 10 an over when Bouchier and Sciver-Brunt batted.

Sciver-Brunt drove, pulled and swept expertly, scooping once, going proficiently through the gears as she brought up her third ton in four ODI innings, reaching the milestone in understated fashion as she nudged seamer Achini Kulasuriya off her pads for a single.

Bouchier offered ample support. This was just her second ODI innings but she matched Sciver-Brunt blow for blow, registering a dozen fours and two sixes, having benefited from Emma Lamb’s continued absence with a back spasm.

Her timing was excellent as she effortlessly whipped left-armer Prabodhani and fellow seamer Hansima Karunaratne over the leg-side fence, while she was also fluent driving down the ground and pulling across the line.


After three successive fours off Oshadi Ranasinghe, Bouchier might have been stumped on 55 when she overbalanced against the off-spinner but wicketkeeper Anushka Sanjeewani fumbled the take.

Bouchier was eventually out five short of a maiden hundred after playing all around one from Kavisha Dilhari, but the opener’s innings went some way to justifying England giving their fringe players a chance in this series.

Sciver-Brunt had not offered so much of a sniff in compiling the sixth fastest ODI century in the women’s game but her stay, containing 18 fours and a six, ended when she holed out to long-off off Ranaweera.

Her departure marked the start of England losing five wickets in their last 32 balls although debutant Bess Heath’s cameo 21 off 14 deliveries helped them add 50 to a monumental total that would have stretched Sri Lanka in a regulation 50-over game.

Having amassed 106 for nine in Tuesday’s abandonment at Northampton and been skittled for an identical total in a seven-wicket defeat at Chester-le-Street on Saturday, Sri Lanka simply never got going.

Lauren Filer continued her excellent summer by uprooting Sanjeewani’s middle stump and castling Imesha Dulani. Teenage left-arm seamer Mahika Gaur, recalled after being rested at Wantage Road, located the outside edge of Harshitha Samarawickrama before Charlie Dean ran amok.

Unperturbed at being thrashed for two fours in her first over, Dean invited another swipe from Athapaththu, who missed a slog sweep and fell lbw to the off-spinner for the second match in a row.

The Sri Lanka captain was the big wicket and any faint hope disappeared with her although Dean still rubberstamped the win by snaring Karunaratne, Hasini Perera and Dilhari in the same over.

A maiden five-for in England colours was assured when Prabodhani dragged on and Sri Lanka quickly subsided in 24.5 overs.

Stand-in captain Nat Sciver-Brunt marked a landmark appearance with the quickest women’s one-day international century by an England batter against Sri Lanka at Grace Road.

On her 100th ODI, Sciver-Brunt led England in the absence of ill Heather Knight and thrashed a 66-ball hundred, beating the record held by Charlotte Edwards off 70 deliveries against New Zealand in 2012.

Her record might have lasted only a few minutes but Maia Bouchier, unbeaten on 95 off 64 balls at the time Sciver-Brunt reached three figures, fell lbw when a six would have seen her set a new benchmark.

The pair put on a boundary-laden 193 in 121 balls to lift England to a mammoth 273 for eight in a contest reduced to 31 overs per side because of a rain delay that pushed back the start time more than three hours.

In the final match of their summer programme, England, leading 1-0, slipped to 18 for two in the fifth over but it was one-way traffic from then on as Bouchier and Sciver-Brunt starred.

Sri Lanka’s coterie of spinners came in for sustained punishment as Sciver-Brunt, who eventually holed out for 120 off 74 balls, and Bouchier, in just her second ODI innings, routinely took them on.

England got off to a false start as Tammy Beaumont, having been put down at midwicket in the previous over, edged a wild heave to slip while a flat-footed Alice Capsey was undone when left-arm seamer Udeshika Prabodhani nipped through her defences.

However, Bouchier, who had already expertly timed Prabodhani over the leg-side fence, then unfurled two glorious drives for four to ignite England’s charge, with the end of the six-over powerplay and introduction of the spinners working to their advantage.

Sciver-Brunt’s ability to stay back in her crease but pierce the off-field gaps was frequently exploited while she brought up England’s 50 with a whip off Inoka Ranaweera for four before shimmying down to the slow armer and elegantly driving for six.

Chamari Athapaththu frequently rotated her slow bowlers but they erred in line and length too often with no one able to stymie either Sciver-Brunt or Bouchier, who bludgeoned a free hit off seamer Hansima Karunaratne’s only over for six.

England’s 100 was brought up in the 13th over but, after thumping Oshadi Ranasinghe for three successive fours, Bouchier overbalanced and should have been stumped on 55 but Anushka Sanjeewani was unable to gather cleanly.

Sciver-Brunt missed a pull on 96 off a delivery that skidded on and kept low from Prabodhani as Athapaththu belatedly brought back her quicker bowlers, but the deputy England skipper went to her 100 in the next over, nudging Kulasuriya off her pads for a single.

Bouchier missed a hoick across the line and was given lbw, wisely electing against a review, but later in the over, Sciver-Brunt took three consecutive fours off Dilhari.

Sciver-Brunt slammed Ranaweera to long-off with 5.1 overs still left, with England losing five wickets for 40 at the end of their innings, although they were still able to get to a formidable total.

Nat Sciver-Brunt was the hero again as England claimed a Women’s Ashes series draw with a 69-run win over Australia on the DLS method in the final ODI in Taunton.

Victory saw the multi-series format drawn 8-8, the same score as when England last avoided Ashes defeat in Australia five years ago, and meant England had won both the ODI and Twenty20 series 2-1.

Australia had retained the Ashes by winning the second ODI in Southampton on Sunday.

Fresh from her unbeaten 111 at Southampton, Sciver-Brunt made her second hundred in the space of three days – 129 from 149 balls – as Australia were set a challenging 286 for victory.

Batting of the highest order also secured Sciver-Brunt a fourth century from five ODIs against Australia, and the seventh of her England career in this format.

Australia’s target was reduced to 269 from 44 overs by rain and, despite Ashleigh Gardner providing brief hope with a bludgeoning 41 from 24 balls, England ran out comfortable winners to the delight of a capacity crowd.

England, having lost the toss, were soon in trouble as openers Sophia Dunkley and Tammy Beaumont departed with just 12 runs on the board.

Captain Heather Knight and Sciver-Brunt rose to the challenge of repairing the innings, leading England to 43 for two by the end of the first powerplay after 10 overs.

Runs came freely with Knight finding gaps in the field with ease and Sciver-Brunt, who survived a stumping review off Gardner on 25, landing a six on the boundary cushion with imperious precision.

But with McGrath spilling a return chance off Sciver-Brunt, then on 54, the third-wicket partnership was worth 147 when Knight advanced down the wicket to Alana King and was bowled for 67, her 72-ball stay containing six fours and a six.

Alice Capsey dragged Jess Jonassen to long-on for five but huge roars greeted Sciver-Brunt as she reached three figures off 126 balls.

England entered the final 10 overs seeking to accelerate and Danni Wyatt played the perfect cameo with a whirlwind 43 from 25 balls before being bowled attempting to cut a full-length ball from Gardner.

Amy Jones was run out for six and Sciver-Brunt’s resistance finally ended in the 48th over as Jonassen tempted an airborne pull into the safe hands of Gardner.

The latter then won an lbw review against Charlie Dean to finish with three for 39 and Jonassen also collected a third scalp by castling Kate Cross as England closed on 285 for nine.

Australia, as England had done, lost two early wickets. Phoebe Litchfield fell for one to Lauren Bell, with Sophie Ecclestone accepting a low chance at first slip, and Alyssa Healy was cleaned up by a beauty from Cross as Australia slipped to 15 for two.

Tahlia McGrath appeared well set on 26 as Australia steadied the ship, but Ecclestone’s flight deceived her and Jones completed a smart stumping.

The players were forced off by rain with Australia 97 for three after 19.2 overs, with England facing potential heartbreak as they needed to bowl 20 overs to constitute a completed match.

But the players were back on the field 54 minutes later, with Australia’s revised target asking them to score at seven runs an over.

Ellyse Perry, having reached her half-century with a free-hit six, provided a steepling catch to Capsey off Cross on 53, and Beth Mooney drove straight to Ecclestone at mid-off to give Cross a third victim.

Australia were given hope as Gardner went on the offensive, taking 17 from a Bell over, but her acceptance of a risky second after Sutherland drove through the covers proved fatal as she was just short of her ground when Cross took the bails off from Wyatt’s throw.

Australia never recovered as Jones produced another excellent stumping to remove Wareham for 14 and Dean, called up with Sarah Glenn needing surgery for appendicitis, bowled Sutherland for 18.

King went for nought as Jones held a towering catch and England’s win was completed as Bell held a thick edge from Jonassen at short third.

Nat Sciver-Brunt feels drawing the Women’s Ashes series would reward the progress that England have made this summer.

Australia, the world’s number one side, retained the Ashes on Sunday with a tense three-run victory in the second ODI at the Ageas Bowl, taking an unassailable 8-6 lead in the multi-format series.

But England would level matters by winning the final ODI game in Taunton on Tuesday and secure a second series win to boot after prevailing 2-1 in the T20 matches.

“For the series to be drawn on points it would bring some pride to our performances and the way we’ve gone about things,” said all-rounder Sciver-Brunt.

“It would definitely be (consolation for not winning the Ashes) and another series win would certainly have a nice ring to it.

“The way we’ve gone about things has been positive and our mindset doesn’t change too much from that.

“We’ll make sure we’re in a good place and park our feelings from Sunday, using that ODI series win potentially as a motivator.”

England captain Heather Knight described this Women’s Ashes battle as the “best ever series” after England’s heart-breaking defeat in Southampton.

Sciver-Brunt, who almost got the hosts over the line on Sunday with an unbeaten 111 from 99 balls, believes the series has left a lasting legacy on women’s cricket in England.

She said: “It’s the first time we’ve played at big grounds and there has been a new strategy of going about marketing. It has been a bit of a game-changer.

“Hopefully that can continue when it’s not such a big series on the line and we can draw that same excitement about our team and the way we play, not just depending on the opponent.”

Australia’s Alana King responded to the tourists retaining the Ashes by saying she did not see the gap between the two sides “closing any time soon”.

Sciver-Brunt insists the margins are smaller – “we’re not that far apart but on the pressure moments they’ve got the edge on us a little bit” – and believes England have exceeded the public’s expectations, if not their own, by making the series such a competitive affair.

Her heroics on Sunday almost kept England’s hopes alive and she said of that fabulous knock: “I’m not really sure it’s sunk in for me yet.

“When you get a good score and end up on the losing side it’s a bit of a weird feeling, you’re not really sure how to respond to it.

“I looked up at the scoreboard and suddenly I was on 40. It felt like it was just happening, I wasn’t focused on the score or anything like that.

“I was just in the moment. It seemed to pass me by until the last 10 or 12 overs when I needed to switch on to the scoreboard a little bit more.

“We want to put on a performance like that in such a big moment, so I was happy in that context. But you’re pretty disappointed not to get over the line being so close and not to win back the Ashes is another layer of that.”

The Mumbai Indians are champions of the inaugural season of the Tata Women’s Premier League after a seven-wicket win over the Delhi Capitals at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday.

The Capitals, who advanced to the final after finishing top-of-the-table in the league phase, made 131-9 off their 20 overs after winning the toss and batting first.

Captain Meg Lanning led the way with 35 while Shikha Pandey and Radha Yadav each made 27*.

Hayley Matthews was magnificent with the ball for Mumbai, picking up three wickets in her four overs while conceding only five runs. Issy Wong also continued her wicket-taking form with 3-42 from her spell.

The successful Mumbai chase took 19.3 overs and was anchored by Nat Sciver-Brunt, who finished not out on 60 off 55 balls including seven fours. Captain Harmanpreet Kaur made a 39-ball 37 in support as the Indians reached 134-3.

Sciver-Brunt was named player of the match while Matthews, who ended the season with 271 runs and 16 wickets, was named player of the tournament.

Her run total placed her fifth overall behind Lanning (345), Sciver-Brunt (332), Talia McGrath (302) and Kaur (281) while her 16 wickets were joint-most alongside Sophie Ecclestone.


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