Women's World Cup: England reach semi-finals thanks to Natalie Sciver century
|England v New Zealand, Women's World Cup, County Ground, Derby|
|England 284-9 (50 overs): Sciver 129 (111), Beaumont 93 (102), Kerr 4-51|
|New Zealand 209 (46.4 overs): Bates 44, Perkins 43*, Hartley 3-44|
|England won by 75 runs|
Natalie Sciver's brilliant century helped England reach the semi-finals of the Women's World Cup courtesy of a 75-run win over New Zealand.
Sciver hit 129 off only 111 balls, adding 170 with Tammy Beaumont, who made 93, in England's 284-9 at Derby.
Alex Hartley took 3-44 and Anya Shrubsole 2-19 as New Zealand were bowled out for 209 with 20 balls left.
Australia and South Africa, both of whom won on Wednesday, also qualified for the last four.
The last semi-final place will be decided by India's game against New Zealand at Derby on Saturday, when England face West Indies at Bristol.
Victory was England's fifth in succession following defeat by India in their opening game.
The Sciver and Beaumont show
Beaumont and Sciver's partnership was all the more impressive given that it was constructed from 52-3, after Lauren Winfield was superbly taken by a diving Amy Satterthwaite at gully, Sarah Taylor offered Leigh Kasperek a low return catch and Heather Knight was lbw playing across the line to Suzie Bates.
If consolidation was the priority early on, they increasingly made scoring look easy on a dry, used pitch under sunny skies at the County Ground.
Sciver was the more dominant partner during their 27-over alliance, mixing powerful leg-side strokes with excellent placement and superb running between the wickets.
The more compact Beaumont drove well until she chipped Amelia Kerr tamely to mid-off, one of four wickets for the 16-year-old leg-spinner.
Dropped on 58 by a diving Kasperek at short fine leg, Sciver scored with almost total freedom as she brought up a 92-ball hundred, her second of the tournament after making 137 against Pakistan.
She eventually swung Kerr to deep mid-wicket, the first of four wickets to fall for only eight runs in 12 balls to end England's hopes of reaching 300.
Former England captain Charlotte Edwards said on BBC Test Match Special: "Today without a doubt has been Nat Sciver's best innings and most important innings in terms of the context of the game. It has been exceptional."
The Nat-meg - Sciver invents a new shot
While Sciver struck 11 fours, arguably the most memorable stroke was a between-the-legs shot that will not be found in any coaching manual.
Making room to drive to Holly Huddleston, Sciver was cramped for room by a full, inswinging delivery, but she merely angled the bat slightly to deliberately divert the ball between her legs for two to fine leg.
Player of the match Sciver said: "That sounds pretty good. If it is right length then I am able to do it."
England spinners squeeze New Zealand
For all New Zealand's vaunted batting prowess - they had lost a combined five wickets in their three successful chases in this tournament - they never threatened to pull off the second highest pursuit in women's ODI history.
Bates and Satterthwaite's 75-run stand for the second wicket was approaching dangerous proportions when the former was drawn out of her crease by left-arm spinner Hartley and easily stumped by Taylor.
It sparked a collapse from 89-1 to 133-5, with all four wickets falling to spin.
Satterthwaite was caught and bowled by Laura Marsh via a leading edge, Shrubsole made good ground to claim a Sophie Devine skier off Hartley, and Katey Martin was bowled aiming an unsightly heave at Knight.
Jenny Gunn accounted for Erin Bermingham and Kasperek in successive overs, and New Zealand's fate was sealed long before Huddleston was lbw attempting to sweep Hartley.
'The batters really stand out' - what they said
England captain Heather Knight: "We were really under pressure and that partnership was worth more on that pitch. The batters really stand out at the moment.
"Winning is a habit and hopefully we can carry on."
New Zealand captain Suzie Bates: "The partnership from Beaumont and Sciver took the game away from us. That is where they won the game.
"We have played really good cricket in this tournament and lost to England and Australia, who are quality sides. It is not doom and gloom. If we play well we can beat India."
Former England captain Charlotte Edwards: "England are doing almost everything really well. Today was exceptional, the way they rebuilt their innings from 52-3.
"The only area you can criticise is their catching - that has been a constant problem in the World Cup. You hope it doesn't hurt them."