England v NZ, World T20 2012, Super Eights, Pallekele September 29, 2012

Wright guides England to victory


England 149 for 4 (Wright 76) beat New Zealand 148 for 6 (Franklin 50, Finn 3-16) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

England sustained their hopes of retaining the World Twenty20 title with a six-wicket win over New Zealand in Pallekele. Luke Wright, who made 99 against Afghanistan in the group stages, struck 76 from 43 balls to take them to victory with seven deliveries remaining.

While England may still need to win their final Super Eights game against Sri Lanka on Monday, they could have been eliminated on Saturday had results gone against them. By contrast, a second successive defeat for New Zealand leaves them requiring a win in their final game and a series of results elsewhere to go their way if they are to progress. For England, at least, their fate is in their own hands.

England were on top for most of this match. While a late innings assault from James Franklin provided New Zealand with a defendable total, they never fully recovered from the impact of Steven Finn's excellent early spell and some miserly bowling from Graeme Swann.

In reply England's opening partnership again failed to shine, but a stand of 89 in 10 overs between Wright and Eoin Morgan took them to the brink of victory.

Wright, in particular, was impressive. Having given himself some time to become accustomed to the pitch - it took him four deliveries to score a run - he put away the loose ball nicely before accelerating decisively having reached 25. From then on he attacked, hitting the ball straight and cleanly and, at one stage, hitting four sixes in seven deliveries. In all he struck five sixes and five fours.

England were grateful for his contribution. While England survived the first over of their innings without losing a wicket for the first time in the tournament, Craig Kieswetter was unable to rotate the strike and, by the time he was bowled missing a sweep, had occupied 14 balls for his four runs.

Alex Hales, who hit three boundaries in the second over, the first of them a beautifully timed back foot drive through cover, looked in better touch but when he advanced down the pitch and missed a straight one, it left England precariously placed at 38 for 2 in the seventh over.

Morgan and Wright proceeded with caution initially, not striking their first boundary until 18 balls into their partnership. But that calm approach began to reap rewards as Wright slogged Nathan McCullum for six before, in the next over, Morgan hit a low full toss from Franklin over long-on for another and then cut a wide ball for four.

England contented themselves with ones and twos for the next couple of overs as the spinners maintained control but, when Tim Southee came back into the attack, Wright drove him for a six back over his head before planting another one far over wide long-on.

From then on, England were barely challenged. Wright slog-swept and then drove Rob Nicol for two more sixes and drove Kyle Mills for successive fours in the next over. Morgan was caught at long-on and Doug Bracewell, introduced into the attack in the 19th over and playing instead of the unwell Jacob Oram, had Wright caught at cover, but by then only seven were required and, when Jonny Bairstow pulled his first delivery for four there was never going to be any late nerves.

A late charge from Franklin helped New Zealand recover from a poor start having won first use of the pitch as 68 runs came from the last six overs. England's bowlers looked to have taken a firm grip on the game after Finn, bowling with excellent pace and control, claimed the best figures by an England bowler in World T20 cricket and England's spinners enjoyed the assistance provided by an unusually dry pitch.

It was Danny Briggs, preferred to Samit Patel and playing just his second T20I, who delivered the first over - conceding just six - but Finn made the early breakthroughs. Martin Guptill was trapped in front as he attempted to play across a decidedly brisk full ball, before Brendon McCullum, who had twice skipped down the pitch in Briggs' second over to drive him for fours, was caught at third man as he edged an attempted drive over extra-cover off Finn.

Graeme Swann, brought into the attack for the seventh over, increased the pressure by conceding only three runs and taking the wicket of Nicol who was caught slog-sweeping.

New Zealand only managed two boundaries from the end of the Powerplay to the end of the 14th over and could muster just 41 runs in those eight overs. Had Morgan produced a better throw, Williamson would have been run out for 16 as he responded to a sharp call for s single from Taylor.

It hardly mattered, though. The return of Briggs in the 12th over saw Williamson fall, caught behind as he edged an attempted cut and, at the end of the 14th over, New Zealand were struggling.

Franklin signalled the acceleration in the 15th over. He hit the first six of the innings - launching Briggs over midwicket - and followed it up with a straight drive back past the bowler that went for four. While England's spinners conceded just 40 runs from their first seven overs, Briggs' figures were damaged by his final over costing 16.

Finn, returning for the 17th over, claimed his third wicket when Taylor mistimed a slog top midwicket to finish with his best T20 figures of 3 for 16. Franklin could feel somewhat hard done by, however, as he drove Finn through extra-cover to the boundary only to see the umpire call dead-ball as Finn had dislodged the bails in his delivery stride.

Nathan McCullum sustained the momentum by striking Broad for two sixes in the penultimate over of the innings and Broad contributed to his own problems by over-stepping and donating not just a free-hit but an extra delivery with the seventh ball going for six. But in the end it was to prove too little, too late for New Zealand.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • david on October 1, 2012, 14:14 GMT

    just think all you england supporters walking down the streets of cities, towns and villages or even hamlets. the guy walking next to you could be the one and only randyoz. i think i will emigrate .

  • david on October 1, 2012, 10:15 GMT

    great randy then our game is in good hands with your balanced observations of cricket in our winter. you can tell us when you travel the county grounds on what the groundsmen or curators as you lot like to call them are doing with the pitch areas. mind you will not be able to gain entry till middle of april.

  • Sharon on October 1, 2012, 8:05 GMT

    @RandyOZ on (September 30 2012, 18:38 PM GMT). All the kid cricket pack up in UK at the end of August. So plainly you have seen no cricket. Immigration screwed up when they let you in. Anyway - you wouldn't know good cricket if it came up and hit you on the head - like that Boxing Test test that time. remember?

  • Randolph on September 30, 2012, 18:38 GMT

    Now that im living in England, it is clear to see why they are so bad. The kids just slog across the line. Its absolutely no shock Aussies and Saffers fill the county sides.

  • John on September 30, 2012, 10:46 GMT

    @Oldsedcopian on (September 30 2012, 08:33 AM GMT) Sure , it is - but at the end of the day it is Finn who is hitting the stumps and the batting side who gets punished if they hit runs off him. I think the law should be changed but if Finn's deliveries (when he hits the stumps) go for runs then all you are doing is punishing the batting side for Finn's indiscipline.

  • John on September 30, 2012, 9:10 GMT

    Re Craig , I think they'll stick with him but I don't think they should. Eng seem to loath dropping out of form players. To me it's as if once they are dropped they can't bring them back. The same happened in the tests in our disastrous winter tours. My team for the next game would be Lumb,Hales,Wright,Morgan,Buttler(wk) , Bairstow, Patel or Bres , Swann , Broad , Finn , Briggs . @LilAnzac on (September 29 2012, 14:36 PM GMT) I think Jonny can keep ok. As a Somerset fan when I've seen Buttler keep wicket he has looked as good - if not more consistent than Craig although there is the pressure element.

  • John on September 30, 2012, 9:03 GMT

    @pat_one_back (, 13:39 PM GMT) Your guys I believe can still qualify and possibly have as good a chance as England , even at this stage. If you beat WI - esp by a fair margin - I'd even go as far as to say you'd be favourites to qualify as I think that would mean that England would have to beat SL which I feel is a 30/70 game in SLs favour - possibly more if they play like they did yesterday and we field and bat like we have throughout the tournament. Obviously I'll be hoping we beat SL but I'll be cheering on NZ on 2 fronts - 1- because it would keep our hopes alive and 2 - because if we don't qualify I'd much prefer NZ over WI to qualify. I also think it's good that the NZ/WI match is 1st up as it means that NZ will play with belief that they can still qualify. Had they played 2nd and Eng pulled off the surprise win vs SL it may deflate them for the WI match

  • Dummy4 on September 30, 2012, 8:53 GMT

    I'm sure I wasn't alone in breathing a huge sigh of relief as soon as I saw Bresnan's name on the team sheet in place of Dernbach's. Hopefully it'll remain that way for as long as England survive in this tournament. As I've been saying for quite a while now, Kieswetter is a busted flush as opener. Even taking into account his previous success in the role, his overall SR remains a shockingly poor sub-110, nowhere near the stats expected of a T20 opener. The problem is not that he's a poor batsman (he averaged over 60 for Somerset in first-class cricket last season), it's that he appears to believe (or, perhaps, has been told) that his role at the top of the order has changed from pinch-hitter to anchor. Others have said that the obvious solution would be to move Wright up to open, but he's been so outstanding at No. 3 that I think it'd be a mistake to move him. Far better to either straight-swap Kieswetter & Buttler or to hand the gloves to Bairstow & bring in Lumb to open with Hales.

  • John on September 30, 2012, 8:49 GMT

    @Nutcutlet on (September 29 2012, 14:02 PM GMT) No , I agree with that. I'm wondering if they can base it all on the umpires discretion. The one thing your post does not consider is if the ball in a T20/ODI is a dot. Imagine a scenario where a team requires 24 off the last 2 overs and Finn's first delivery (where he hits the stumps) is either a dot or a single - if the batsman feels genuinely put off by the hitting of the wicket then a dot or even a single is going to hinder the batsman/team in their chase. Just wondering if the umpire could not even consult with the batsman as to whether he wants it to be a dead ball or not?

  • John on September 30, 2012, 8:48 GMT

    @K2C1 on (September 29 2012, 19:50 PM GMT)/ Rogerunionjack on (September 29 2012, 13:29 PM GMT) - Let's not get carried away here. The odds are still very much against England. 1st we have to beat SL which is a huge ask and then also depend on the NZ/WI result.

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