Vettori leads rout of hapless England
New Zealand 210 (Oram 86, Flintoff 4-21) beat England 120 (Joyce 47, Vettori 4-24, Franklin 3-17) by 90 runs
The curse of the Andrew Flintoff captaincy continued at Adelaide, where Daniel Vettori bowled New Zealand to victory in a low-scoring contest. Vettori took four wickets as England collapsed in their modest chase of 211 to be all out for 120 in the 38th over.
England lost 5 for 13 at the end to crash to a 90-run loss and hand New Zealand a vital bonus point and second place on the CB Series table. In a match dominated by the bowlers it was a question of which batsman could defy the trend to give his team the best chance of victory and Jacob Oram's 86 was exactly what New Zealand needed for their first win of the tournament.
The strong New Zealand attack, led initially by James Franklin before Vettori continued the carnage, were on top from the time the first wicket fell and only Ed Joyce's 47 gave Flintoff any hope of recording his first win as captain on Australian soil. Oram, a late addition to the squad after recovering from his hamstring injury, also played a part with the ball but it was Vettori's 4 for 24 that destroyed the England middle order and when Joyce was spectacularly caught in the deep by Mark Gillespie the chase was all but over. Joyce tried to loft Vettori over long on and almost cleared Gillespie, who initially ran in before rapidly backpedalling and held the catch jumping at full stretch.
When Jamie Dalrymple (0) edged a straightforward catch to Stephen Fleming at slip two deliveries later it completed a woeful eight-ball period in which England went from 5 for 107 to 8 for 107. Oram began the mini-collapse when he had Paul Nixon caught behind for 6, although replays indicated the ball might have flicked pad only.
Shane Bond wrapped up the final two wickets in consecutive balls and his dismissal of Monty Panesar was another fine example of New Zealand's fieldsmen grabbing every opportunity, which was a far cry from their sloppy effort against Australia on Sunday. Panesar hit Bond high and straight into the outfield but Nathan Astle ran back with the flight of the ball and took an excellent diving catch.
The only time England looked like steadying was when Joyce and Paul Collingwood added 45 for the fourth wicket but Vettori broke that partnership when Collingwood was trapped lbw attempting to sweep and Flintoff's under-edge catch to Brendon McCullum gave Vettori his second victim soon after. Franklin had claimed a wicket in each of his fourth, fifth and sixth overs as Mal Loye, Andrew Strauss and Ian Bell failed to handle the seam movement Franklin was generating.
The chase should not have been anywhere near that difficult after Oram was the only New Zealand batsman to look comfortable in their innings of 210. His 120-run stand with McCullum gave the bowlers something to defend after the top order crumbled again.
Oram played a sensible innings after New Zealand fell to 5 for 67 in the 24th over. He pushed and prodded with McCullum as they worked their way into position to launch a late assault with wickets in hand. Oram, whose 86 was his highest ODI score, brought up the hundred partnership with McCullum with a huge slogged six over midwicket off Panesar and he used the reverse sweep to great effect.
But Flintoff's 4 for 21 from ten overs kept England in a strong position as the New Zealand top order remained a concern. They failed to show any improvement and far from building on their tight loss against Australia on Sunday, New Zealand were dire early and threatened their worst performance of the tour until Oram stood up. Again runs were slow in coming and batsmen gave their wickets away after making starts.
Astle, Fleming, Ross Taylor and Peter Fulton all failed and with New Zealand now in contention for the CB Series final their run-scorers will need to justify their positions if the team is to challenge Australia.
Brydon Coverdale is an editorial assistant of Cricinfo