Tammy Beaumont hopes ‘ruthless’ victory is sign of inspiration to come

New Zealand

Having lacked a ruthless streak for much of their victorious ODI and T20I campaigns against Pakistan earlier in the home summer, England crushed the White Ferns on Wednesday, first by bowling them out for 156 in 33.3 overs thanks largely to Charlie Dean‘s 4 for 38 before reeling in the target for the loss of just one wicket with a staggering 28.4 overs to spare, via brutal half-centuries from Tammy Beaumont and Maia Bouchier.

Beaumont, unbeaten with 76 from 69 deliveries, and Bouchier, who had a breakout tour of New Zealand earlier this year and struck 67 off 50 balls, took England within 20 runs of victory with 137-run opening stand off just 106 deliveries. Combined with England’s spinners Dean, Sophie Ecclestone and Sarah Glenn – who took seven wickets between them – it was the sort of clinical all-round performance they had been seeking.

Against Pakistan, England scrapped their way to victory in the first ODI before Nat Sciver-Brunt dominated the third, following a second-match wash-out. During the three T20Is, only Danni Wyatt’s quickfire 87 at Leeds stood out after Amy Jones and Dani Gibson rescued them from 11 for 4 in the series opener at Edgbaston and they managed to defend a modest total in the second match by bowling Pakistan out for just 79.

It was those sorts of results, Beaumont said after beating New Zealand in Durham, that England had said they wanted to turn into much more dominant victories, especially given the mantra of “inspire and entertain” that has been underpinning their endeavours for the past two years.

“We spoke a lot this morning about how we want to play our 50-over cricket, and what inspiring and entertaining is. At times that’s being ruthless and putting on a show like that,” Beaumont said. “To respond to that conversation and go out straight away and put it into action … in particular the bowling was absolutely ruthless.

“That’s certainly the word we’ve started to use a bit more,” she added. “We want to enjoy our cricket, we want to show off, we want to show our skills and how much talent there is in that dressing-room, but actually we want to also win games of cricket and really dominate at the same time, and the two can definitely being mutually exclusive. So I think it was still a lot of fun today but still incredibly ruthless, and a bit of a statement for the start of a series.

“It’s not necessarily the be-all and end-all. We still want to try and push the game forward and take the game to as many new heights as possible. But at the same time, when you’ve got the foot on the throat, we’re going to try and ram home that advantage.”

England’s performance showed what they are capable of, given the talent at their disposal. Heather Knight was barely called upon after arriving with 20 runs still required, Sciver-Brunt and Wyatt went unused, while Alice Capsey and Sophia Dunkley were left out of the starting XI altogether, the latter having won back her place in the squad after a disappointing tour of New Zealand.

Beaumont said that while Dunkley’s welcome return increased the competition for places, the same could be said for most spots in the side, as reflected by Ryana MacDonald-Gay’s call-up from an impressive domestic season as cover for injured seamer Kate Cross.

Beaumont and Cross find themselves in a tough place, on the fringes of T20I selection with a World Cup just over three months away but important to England’s 50-over campaign in 2025 and, where applicable, the Test set-up too.

And while hosting Pakistan and New Zealand hasn’t carried the same buzz as last year’s Women’s Ashes, Beaumont – England’s double-centurion in the Trent Bridge Test against Australia last June – said she was playing with more freedom now than she was back then, when England came back from a 6-0 points deficit after losing the Test and first T20I to draw by winning both the T20I and ODI series two games to one.

“I found the Ashes quite difficult last year,” she said. “You have the high of scoring a double-hundred in a Test match and then literally an hour after the end of the Test, you get told you’re not around for the next 10 days – that kind of took the wind out of your sails a little bit. You then have 10 days of regional cricket and then rock up and you have to win every game of the Ashes to stay in. What the girls did in the T20s was incredible, but actually the pressure to come back in, be the opening batter, and keep that roll on and not be the one that messes it up and loses the Ashes, is pretty tough to deal with.

“But unfortunately that’s the situation the likes of myself and Kate Cross are in. It feels like you’ve got to constantly make an impact to stay relevant, but that’s what you have to do. Both of us are good enough at sticking to our game and acknowledging that it’s tough, that’s how it is and it’s not going to get any easier. There’s nothing anyone can do really, unless they pick you in the T20s, but it doesn’t seem to happen. So yeah, that is what it is.”

New Zealand have plenty of reflection and improvement ahead if they are to bounce back, having lost their home T20 and ODI series against England in March and April.

Had 20-year-old opener Georgia Plimmer not been run out for 29 pressing on for a single after deflecting Melie Kerr’s shot off her boot straight to midwicket, New Zealand may have been able to forge a much-needed partnership. As it stood, only Brooke Halliday’s half-century stood out, and she was the sole White Ferns bowler to take a wicket after playing as a specialist batter during England’s tour of New Zealand while making her way back from a foot injury.

“I was a little bit confused because I was just putting my kit on, but yeah, maybe one day when Georgia gets a little bit older, she’ll be able to say ‘no’ to Melie,” Halliday said. “We talked about recently trying to be in the crease a little bit tighter to the stumps to try and help get the single down at mid-on, so that came back to bite her a little bit there… it’s just unfortunate the way she got out, but good signs.

“Individually everyone will probably reflect on batting, bowling and fielding and then we’ll come together as a group and see what we want to work on and how we’re going to approach the next game. We’re not going to dwell too much on it, I’m sure, but you’ve always got to reflect and take what you can out of a game like this.”

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor, women’s cricket, at ESPNcricinfo

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