New Zealand v England, World T20 warm-ups, Mumbai March 12, 2016

England spinners tie up Williamson's NZ


England 170 for 4 (Roy 55, Santner 2-24) beat New Zealand 169 for 8 (Williamson 63, Rashid 3-15) by six wickets

Adil Rashid finished with 3 for 15 to help tie down New Zealand © Getty Images

After seven overs New Zealand were 78 for 1, steadily marching towards another 200-plus target like they had posted two evenings ago against Sri Lanka. Kane Williamson, New Zealand's captain, was knocking runs effortlessly as the England fast bowlers struggled to find the right length in the early overs.

Eoin Morgan, the England captain, had already tried all his quicks: Chris Jordan, Reece Topley, Liam Plunkett and Ben Stokes. Against each of them, Williamson had waited till the last minute before reacting to the ball.

Williamson, always easy on the eye, looted 19 runs from the third over, delivered by Plunkett. He started with two sucessive fours: the first went over Plunkett's head, followed by a deft flick to the right of Adil Rashid at short fine leg. A double that sailed over the outstretched hands of Alex Hales at midwicket and was then followed by a fluent cover-driven four. Plunkett continued to err and pitched full again, allowing Willimson to drive over midwicket for another four.

When the left-armer Topley pitched short and wide outside off stump, the New Zealand captain, up on his toes, cut bluntly for a sweetly timed four. Stokes replaced Plunkett but Williamson first stroked him over cover to bring up New Zealand's 50 and then moved outside the line of the ball to hit over mid-off for another easy four.

Moving inside the line of the ball, Willamson then hit Stokes into the Sachin Tendulkar Stand at deep midwicket for his first, and only, six. It brought up his 50 off just 26 balls and comprised ten boundaries.

Morgan did not wait any further before introducing his spin twins: Moeen Ali and Rashid to stem the flow. Moeen struck immediately when he removed Henry Nichols, who went for the sweep shot, top-edged and was caught at short fine leg by Rashid. The legspinner, too, got into the groove when he had Luke Ronchi drive into the hands of Morgan at point.

Still Williamson was lurking at the other end but England need not have worried. Rashid reserved his best for the best batsmen, a perfect legbreak that caught Williamson out of the crease and gave Jos Butler enough time to whip off the bails. Surprisingly, and disappointingly for Willamson, New Zealand stagnated thereafter.

If England were wondering how their two best spinners would fare on Indian wickets they will have been heartened by the first audition. Both Moeen and Rashid kept a tight line, utilised the spin of the pitch and made use of the drift wisely to expose the weakness of the New Zealand batsmen against slow bowlers.

After 10 overs New Zealand were 101 for 2. After 15 overs they were 123 for 5. England's spinners had nicely washed away all the gains scored Williamson in the first ten overs. Only 45 runs came in the middle segment of the New Zealand innings, comprising eight overs bowled by Moeen and Rashid. It was there England snatched the match out of New Zealand's hands.

"It was pretty important for us, we look to win every game whether it's a warm-up or not," Rashid said. "We always want to play at 100% and this was a good workout,'' he said. "If you've got a spinning wicket you've still got to execute your skills and bowl your variations.

"These are different conditions that we've got to adapt to. In India you've got to adjust your lines and lengths and field placings."

A target of 170 did not prove to too difficult for England, who bat deep. The opening combination of Jason Roy and Alex Hales did not disappoint as they gave England the aggressive start they were looking for: after the Powerplay they were 53 for 0. At the halfway stage England needed a further 81 runs with nine wickets in hand. Roy had departed having hit a robust 55 off 36 balls, which included two massive sixes, one of which went out of the ground in the passage separating the Vijay Merchant and Sachin Tendulkar stands behind deep midwicket.

The match did get exciting towards the end, however, with England needing 42 runs from the final four overs. Eoin Morgan took charge and looked like taking his team home till he went for one shot too many. Having reverse swept Nathan McCullum for a four Morgan attempted a slog sweep the very next ball but was caught on the ropes by Williamson: 22 runs from 16 was now the target. It became 20 from the final two overs.

Jos Buttler picked Trent Boult's slower delivery to hit it flat over deep midwicket for a six. Then Stokes punched a low full toss for a one-bounce four that beat Mitchell Santner at wide long-on. With the target down to six from six, Buttler wrapped up the issue with a straight four against a low, slow full toss from Tim Southee.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Beau on March 14, 2016, 7:27 GMT

    @STRATOCASTER: Southee's been out of form, but he's also been scapegoated for poor all-round bowling performances lately, partly because Baz had a tendency to over-bowl him when he didn't trust anyone else (aka when the opposition was right on top). BTW, he has played 15 IPL games for RR and CSK, and Mumbai seem to think he's good enough for a spot in their 2016 side. As for performances that led to victory, I've read your comments here for a while, and I know you're not silly enough to think that's the only way to judge bowlers (especially seamers in T20s). In this format, he almost exclusively bowls opening power play and death overs, so 8.3 is a fine return per over. I reckon they're wasting his batting in T20s, too. Six-or-out is all he knows. Why not push him up after we've got a good start? We all know he can take 30 off 10 on his day, and he is definitely not going to waste deliveries like Ronchi.

  • Dez on March 14, 2016, 7:11 GMT

    Well done Fidlerrr! The trouble with D.S.A is that no matter how well England perform or what they achieve he always has a bone to pick and an 'excuse' for the achievement - particularly with certain players - even KP's mate Morgan. Whilst this England team is far from flawless and it's hard to see them getting past the semi's at this stage, they are certainly the best and most exciting white ball team that England have had for over 5 years, so just enjoy it I say!

  • Stratocaster on March 14, 2016, 6:28 GMT

    @SameOld I would like to know which IPL you saw. Southee played like 4-5 times for RR and those playing ahead of him included Kane Richardson and others. After his 7/33 in the World cup, tell me about his performances which led us to victory. Matt Henry consistently took more than 2 wickets in almost all the matches he has played this season. Will not try to denigrate Tim Southee but his form to me doesn't warrant any selection at the moment. Everyone in BlackCaps side is a gun fielder, I am sure we don't need him to field for us if he concedes about 8.3 rpo.

  • Devinderpal Singh on March 14, 2016, 2:40 GMT

    @stratocaster: "stop being so hard on England. It's t20 anyone can win". If the only reason I should stop criticising Eng is because "It's t20 anyone can win", that's hardly a reason worthy of it, especially when what I've said is not unfair. Equally, luck can favour the opposition and their lesser players too, just as much as Eng, such as Johnson Charles, Dinesh Chandimal and so on, so why talk about luck when it can work for both teams? The point is: given it can assist all teams and players, attributing the idea of luck to certain teams in a tournament makes no sense. Will Eng have more than a 50% chance of winning the toss?... We should all factor Eng winning the toss and getting tons of luck, shall we?

    @fidlerrralbert: Brevity is not an indicator of quality, as your post so obviously proves. (Regarding your point on brevity, howzat? Dismissed!). Out of interest, are you denying New Zealand fielded a weakened team as they were looking to practice 1st, not win? Lol.

  • Beau on March 13, 2016, 21:35 GMT

    @STRATOCASTER: Not 'all' of us have been calling for Southee's head. Matt Henry has brought a few great performances and a few ordinary ones from the international chances he's had. Southee, over the same period, has brought pretty much the same. We all just expect more of him than we do of a new face like Henry, as we should, considering Southee's experience (or 'reputation', if you prefer). Tim failed against Australia *just like all the other bowlers and most of the batsmen*. He's an IPL regular, has strong T20 numbers over a long period, and is a world-renowned gun fielder infield or out. He was always a walk-up for this tournament.

  • markbrop on March 13, 2016, 20:56 GMT

    DSA: Once again you are spot on. I was looking at the card just now. Munro bowled 1 over for 16 runs and did not bat. Anderson and Milne did not play at all. Boult only bowled 3 overs. Elliott batted well down the order. Its not really a guide as to how the World Cup is going to go at all.

  • FIDLERRR on March 13, 2016, 18:10 GMT

    More mindless waffle from D.S.A. Should look up the word 'brevity' if he wants his posts to be respected.

  • Stratocaster on March 13, 2016, 17:13 GMT

    @D.S.A Matt Henry wasn't picked, he's as fit as he has ever been. We all have been calling for Southee to be dropped since August last year but he gets to play on reputation and Boult-Southee partnership. And by the way stop being so hard on England. It's t20 anyone can win.

  • Devinderpal Singh on March 13, 2016, 16:01 GMT

    @jg2704: Had Cook scored even 1 fifty in that lengthy series, he would've ousted Bell as Ali had to bat for 2 people. Dawson's chances are now slimmer. With Afghanistan qualifying, and Morgan essentially saying L.D will not play against teams that are strong(er) against spin, he won't play the last 2 matches (unless England are knocked out, in which case, L.D will get the consolatory last match for obediently remaining on the bench without publicly complaining...did that happen last year to 2 players that, ironically, walk in Eng's limited-overs sides?...) I don't see L.D playing in the 1st match because he's done nothing in Test cricket to warrant dislodging another player (I say Test cricket because that worked for Ballance). I think Bopara's form in recent L-O tourneys, in varied conditions, say he will score quicker and more runs than Morgan at 4, is a smarter player (so a better captain), and is obviously a better bowler. Strauss's flawed backing sans merit to the fore! P2 of 2.

  • Devinderpal Singh on March 13, 2016, 15:51 GMT

    @polarity: I see what you're saying, but the tournament hasn't started for the 8 full member nations. Also, if they played them a week ago, they would have "warmed-down" by the time they play their first match, making those warm-ups next to useless. Also, I don't think the integrity of the tournament is damaged because the warm-ups are almost never televised, so television coverage remains fixated on the qualifying round.

    @calebmatthews99: Yup, an inconvenient truth, but England are lucky that the West Indies and Sri Lanka are not anywhere near their best, so facing weakened opposition will be the case for Eng, making failure even less acceptable.

    @kiwi-on-ice: Where is Matt Henry? Injured? Surely, he is one of your best pace bowlers, and therefore ousts e.g. Southee from the squad.

    @arjunkamath: Don't you rate Abbott, Rabada and Tahir to repeat their performances again? Really?

    @jg2704: Same thoughts on Plunkett, Roy & Ali. Roy's situation is the same as Cook in Oct 2014. P1 of 2.

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