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    Ecclestone creates history
Ecclestone creates history
Sophie Ecclestone (centre). Source: theguardian.com

Ecclestone creates history

With one match remaining in the series, England leads the series 2-0 thanks to a 65-run victory in the second Twenty20 in Northampton, when Sophie Ecclestone cemented her record as the country's top wicket-taker in Twenty20 cricket.

After getting Muneeba Ali caught and bowled in the sixth over, Ecclestone, who needed just 80 more matches to surpass Katherine Sciver-Brunt's record of 114 wickets, completed the innings with two wickets in the 16th over as England bowled Pakistan out for just 79 runs.

“I had no idea – I’m really bad with numbers,” ­Ecclestone stated of the landmark, achieved at the age of just 25. “To overtake Katherine is a bit surreal – she’s someone I looked up to when I was young and I got her autograph a couple of times – but I’m proud.”

England chose to bat first and reached 144 for six owing to some powerful finishing overs from Danielle Gibson. After hitting an undefeated 41 on Saturday, Gibson smashed 18 not out from nine balls, including a massive six over long-on, the first maximum of the summer for an international team.

After taking over as Pakistan's captain last month, Nida Dar was enjoying Amy Jones's stumping even more fervently than normal at the start of the twentieth over. She was well aware, unlike Ecclestone, of the personal milestone she had just accomplished—taking the lead in women's T20 international wicket-taking with her 137th wicket in the format, which moved her beyond Australia's Megan Schutt.

However, her team's batting never quite got going despite the best efforts of Muneeba Ali and Aliya Riaz, who hammered six boundaries between them. Alice Capsey's part-time off-spin produced a double-wicket over in the 13th over, symbolizing the entire effort. Pakistan's final five wickets fell for just eight runs.

After taking over as Pakistan's captain last month, Dar started the 20th over by commemorating a personal victory. It was her 137th wicket in the format, and it moved her over Megan Schutt of Australia to capture the lead in wicket-taking for women's Twenty20 internationals. However, her team's batting never really got going.

When Alice Capsey's off-spin came into play in the 13th over, Lauren Bell had already claimed two wickets and the end was in sight. Capsey finished with two wickets, and Pakistan scored eight runs off the final five batting.

Nat Sciver-Brunt had earlier scored a rapid 31 to mark her comeback to the England team.

Along with 49 runs, Maia Bouchier and Capsey added to the score for the second wicket. Capsey, edging past Muneeba Ali behind the stumps, encapsulated the famine and feast that is coach Lewis's Jonball, miscued a poor pull shot, but still managed to hammer 20 runs off the over.

Following the drinks break, England's innings stagnated when Diana Baig, with a brilliant diving save at extra cover, ran out Bouchier, and nine balls later, Capsey lost her head yet again, this time trying to go big to Dar and edging behind the stumps.

The hosts' bright start might have easily ended, but Gibson made sure England stole the momentum and the series.

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