Tammy Beaumont hits brilliant century as England beat New Zealand in last ODI

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The England and Wales Cricket Board may have had a troubled relationship with women’s county cricket in recent years – the Women’s County Championship was abolished in 2019 and the future of the County T20 Cup is uncertain – but Kent remain rightly proud of their women’s team. Before play in the fifth England v New Zealand one-day international on Sunday, they presented four of their most distinguished servants with county caps.

One of that number was Tammy Beaumont, who has represented the county for 14 years and began the summer by declaring that she was “desperate to play” county cricket again. Unfortunately, the lack of Covid-19 biosecurity surrounding women’s county cricket – which is officially classed as “recreational” – put paid to that ambition.

Related: England beat New Zealand by 203 runs to win fifth women’s ODI – as it happened!

Fitting, then, that Beaumont’s summer ended with an eighth ODI hundred at Kent’s Spitfire St Lawrence Ground, as after a rare run of four matches without a half-century she came roaring back with a brilliant 102 from 114 balls, including 11 fours, an innings that earned her a standing ovation from the home crowd. It came amid a mammoth total for England of 347 for five – their sixth highest ever in ODIs – and after struggling with the bat throughout the series the hosts ended the summer in style with a comprehensive 203-run win, wrapping up the series 4-1.

New Zealand’s run-chase had started sedately and, with Anya Shrubsole hooping the ball around in the way that only she can, receded from there. Suzie Bates skied one to Beaumont at point in the seventh, before Sophie Ecclestone picked up wickets in successive overs, grabbing a catch off her own bowling to see off Maddy Green.

Katey Martin survived a hat-trick ball from Kate Cross in the 19th, but by that point Cross already had two scalps worth their weight in gold – Amy Satterthwaite sending up a leading edge to midwicket, and Sophie Devine trapped LBW. In no time at all New Zealand were 66 for five, and though Brooke Halliday cracked a couple of gorgeous drives en route to her 27 it was only ever a stay of execution, Heather Knight (three for 24) wrapping up the tail.

This may have been a dead rubber but for England’s batters, with a winter ahead which will see an Ashes series directly followed by the 50-over World Cup in New Zealand, the chance to bat themselves back into form was too good to miss. Beaumont’s partners included Lauren Winfield-Hill (43), Nat Sciver (39 off 38) and Amy Jones (60 off 46), all hitting their highest scores of the series.

Only Knight got out cheaply, tickling a catch to Martin behind the stumps and departing for a duck, but after her scrambled century on Thursday a rest for her problematic hamstring might be viewed as no bad thing. England’s batters certainly lived charmed lives – Winfield-Hill was dropped no less than four times, on five, 15, 24 and 40; while Sciver and Dunkley were both put down in single figures and Jensen shelled a caught-and-bowled from Jones on 33* – but they made it count.

Beaumont’s was perhaps the only chanceless innings of the lot – New Zealand burned through both their DRS reviews against her in vain – and only a rare miscue to a diving Suzie Bates at mid-on in the 44th ended the show. That dismissal, though, merely paved the way for fireworks from Sophia Dunkley (33 not out off 25) and Danni Wyatt (43 not out off 20), Wyatt smashing four huge sixes, including one which came perilously close to smashing a window in the block of retirement flats located at deep square leg. This series has been far from a walkover, but this match really was effectively over before New Zealand’s chase even started.

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