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    Sophie Ecclestone leads England to victory over Pakistan for the fourth time in a row
Sophie Ecclestone leads England to victory over Pakistan for the fourth time in a row
Sophie Ecclestone. Source: telegraph.co.uk

Sophie Ecclestone leads England to victory over Pakistan for the fourth time in a row

In the opening match of the ODI series, England (243-9) defeated Pakistan (206-9) by 37 runs despite bowling 31 wide deliveries.

Thanks to Sophie Ecclestone's brilliant play, England defeated Pakistan four times in a row this month; the fact that the match was played in an ODI format instead of T20 did not affect the outcome.

This was a sloppy effort from England on a wintry Derby day. However, Ecclestone was once again too strong for Pakistan, taking three wickets for 24 in her ten overs.

Thanks to Ecclestone's efforts, England easily defended a mediocre 244-run target and won by 37 runs. Ecclestone bowled Sadaf Shamas with a ball that was too close to cut, then castled Ayesha Zafar through the gate with her quicker ball after the dangerous Lauren Bell had picked up Sidra Amin.

England chose their three spinners, Ecclestone, Charlie Dean, and Sarah Glenn, together for the first time in an ODI with an eye toward the World Cup in India the following year. Together with his strong bowling, Dean removed Nida Dar and Aliya Riaz before Ecclestone trapped Fatima Sana. She would become the fastest women's bowler to 100 ODI wickets in her 63rd match at Taunton on Sunday with two more wickets (Australia's Catherine Fitzpatrick reached that mark in 64).

Ecclestone masked an untidy performance. The bowling of England was hampered by the 31 total wides that peppered the innings. With an extras total of 40, the highest score of the innings and an England record. A couple of misfields occurred on an outfield that was still recovering from intense rain, but most remarkably, Amy Jones, the always outstanding wicketkeeper, dropped two easy catches, first by backing Bell and then by refusing to give up to Dean.

All seven of England's top scorers reached the objective of 17, but Alice Capsey's ODI career-high 44 was the highest score as players were admitted and subsequently removed. Capsey, a 19-year-old learning on the job in 50-over cricket, may have only been playing because Danni Wyatt was feeling under the weather when she got up. Nevertheless, she batted consistently through the second part of the innings until falling just as she would have gone into all-out attack mode.

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