So special – Maia Bouchier revels in maiden hundred as England seal ODI series

Maia Bouchier spoke of her “special” England hundred after scoring the first century of her professional career.

Bouchier made an unbeaten 100 from 88 balls as England took an unassailable 2-0 lead in their three-match ODI series against New Zealand with an eight-wicket win at Worcester.

“The relief was there, I’ve put a lot of work to get to that point,” player-of-the-match Bouchier told Sky Sports after building on her 50-ball 67 in the opening nine-wicket victory at Chester-le-Street.

“It was great to play in front of this crowd and to get my hundred for England was so special.

“It’s taken time to get my processes right and make sure I’m not getting too ahead of myself.

“The hundred was just a number, I kept saying that to myself and work on that process.”

Bouchier, 25, was helped to her hundred by Nat Sciver-Brunt reining in her renowned attacking instincts.

Sciver-Brunt made an unbeaten two from 12 balls and went into full blocking mode, with Bouchier just having enough runs on her side as New Zealand’s paltry 141 was overtaken in just 24.3 overs.

England Women v New Zealand Women – Second ODI – Visit Worcestershire New Road
Maia Bouchier celebrates after reaching her century with Natalie Sciver-Brunt, who played a key role in the landmark hundred (Nigel French/PA)

“I was just hoping she would (not score) at the other end,” said Bouchier.

“She played well and it was great to have her in the middle. A calm person to keep me in check, saying ‘one ball at a time’ and ‘always watch and react to the ball’.

“That was key for me getting the hundred, to watch and react. This will give me so much confidence going into ODI cricket.

“I’ve worked behind the scenes on my 50-over game, and coming into this ODI series I was hoping to get that opportunity to play those full amount of overs.

“Such an important part of batting is taking your time and realising you have more time than you think, especially in 50-over cricket. I’m so proud of myself.”

New Zealand lost seven wickets for 27 runs in collapsing from 114 for three to 141 all out, and England will be expected to complete a series whitewash at Bristol on Wednesday.

Spinner Sophie Ecclestone did most of the damage by taking five wickets for 25 from nine overs.

England captain Heather Knight said: “She’s great to chuck the ball to. She was a bit annoyed when I took her off after the first spell actually.

England Women v New Zealand Women – Second ODI – Visit Worcestershire New Road
England bowler Lauren Filer celebrates the wicket of New Zealand’s Suzie Bates with teammates (Nigel French/PA)

“She loves taking wickets and sometimes I have to do funky things with the field because she gets a little bit bored. I have to keep her engaged.

“We held our length, managed to put pressure on the Kiwis, and got a couple up front.

“When we were on top I loved the way we kept going and trying to hunt for wickets.

“The spinners did what they do. They got a bit out of it and made it look a very tough surface.”