England’s Nat Sciver savoured one of the best innings of her career after her virtuoso century helped the hosts clinch a semi-final spot at the Women’s World Cup at Derby omn Wednesday.
Sciver hit 129 off 111 balls as she struck her second ton of the tournament and shared a match-defining stand of 170 with Tammy Beaumont (93) as England beat New Zealand by 75 runs.
It rescued England from a perilous 52-3 and led them towards a total of 284-9 from their 50 overs. Alex Hartley then took 3-44 as New Zealand were dismissed with 20 balls left.
“When I went in I knew we needed a partnership,” said Sciver, who notched one four with a crowd-pleasing shot between her legs that has been dubbed “the Natmeg”.
“It was a little trickier to bat than in previous games. It was not about targets at that time, it was about playing smart cricket.”
Captain Heather Knight praised Sciver and Beaumont for a fourth-wicket partnership that steadied England and set them on course for a fifth successive victory.
“We were really under pressure and that partnership was worth more on that pitch,” said Knight.
“The batters really stand out at the moment. You want to have those top five get big runs. It’s credit to the hard work they’ve done in the last year. Winning is a habit before the game and hopefully we can carry on.”
Who will England play in the semis?
England, who lead the table with one match of the round-robin stage left, are in line to face India, who stunned them in an opening-match upset, in the last four.
Champions Australia and South Africa, who beat India and Sri Lanka respectively on Wednesday, are also into the last four.
The line-up will be finalised after Saturday’s concluding group stage fixtures, in which England, who are aiming to lift the trophy for a fourth time, face the West Indies at Bristol.