Sophie Devine scored an unbeaten 116-ball 117. © Getty Images

Sophie Devine scored an unbeaten 116-ball 117. © Getty Images

Sophie Devine’s unbeaten 117 gave New Zealand Women a four-wicket win in the third and final One-Day International on Friday (July 13) to deny England Women a series sweep. England, who had already taken a winning 2-0 lead after the second match, took the series 2-1.

Apart from staving off a clean sweep, New Zealand (12), who currently occupy the top spot in the ICC Women’s Championship table, also managed to snatch a two-point lead over Australia and England (10 each).

Heather Knight, the England captain, opted to bat at Grace Road in Leicester. Amy Jones (95-ball 78) and Tammy Beaumont (66-ball 53) got the home side off to a terrific start before Leigh Kasperek (5 for 39) scripted a tremendous comeback to bowl England out for 219 in 47.4 overs. In reply, New Zealand rode on Devine’s 116-ball knock, studded with 12 fours and two sixes, to chase the total down with more than five overs to spare. The visiting team finished on 224 for 6 in 44.4 overs.

Chasing a below-par score, New Zealand lost Jess Watkin (0) in the opening over. However, Devine carried on and kept the scoreboard moving despite wickets falling at the other end. The 28-year-old dominated most of the partnerships she was involved in. She found ample support from Maddy Green (23), Amy Satterthwaite (25), Katey Martin (23) and Amelia Kerr (12 not out), and sealed the deal with a six off Katherine Brunt.

For England, Brunt scalped two wickets that helped her become England’s leading ODI wicket-taker. She now has 136 wickets in this format, one more than Jenny Gunn.

In the morning, Jones, the wicketkeeper-batter, and Beaumont shared a 104-run opening stand to give England a solid start. However, once Beaumont fell to Kasperek, the offspinner, in the 21st over, England lost the plot. Jones stuck around for a while before being stumped off Jess Watkin (2 for 38).

England’s middle order had a horrible time with Knight (16), Natalie Sciver (11) and Danielle Wyatt (18) failing to make an impact, which eventually cost them the game.