New Zealand v England, 1st ODI, Hamilton February 17, 2013

B McCullum seals thrilling New Zealand win


New Zealand 259 for 7 (Williamson 74, B McCullum 69*) beat England 258 (Trott 68, Bell 64, Root 56, McClenaghan 4-56) by three wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Martin Guptill, batting on one leg after a hamstring injury, helped his captain Brendon McCullum seal a nip-and-tuck chase in the opening ODI in Hamilton, as New Zealand squeezed home by three wickets with seven balls to spare. McCullum, who pushed himself down to No. 6, played a wonderfully paced innings, but kept losing partners to leave England with their noses in front until the final stages, when Guptill contributed vital boundaries to help limit his running.

There were three crucial mini passages of play in the final 12 overs after England had seemingly taken control at 155 for 5. James Anderson, who sent down eight world-class overs, was taken for 17 in his ninth when he started dropping short at McCullum. Then Guptill picked up 10 runs off his first two deliveries back at the crease - including a ramp over third man for six - which was followed by the decisive over, when Chris Woakes was taken for 13 off his last, with Guptill adding two further boundaries as he scored 24 from 10 balls after returning. Such was the adrenalin he sprinted off for runs in the seconds it took for the pain to register.

That left 13 needed off 12 balls. New Zealand only needed five more deliveries with McCullum clearing the midwicket boundary off Stuart Broad - all England's quicks bowled too short to him - before the limping Guptill hit the winning runs. New Zealanders talk of the 'Kiwi Spirit' and you will not see a better example as to what it actually means.

Guptill had retired hurt in sixth over after pulling up on completing a tight single to mid-off. He tried to carry on - without a runner as per the new regulations - but soon signalled he would have to leave the field. It was announced he would bat if required and with Kyle Mills - a capable lower-order player - still to come he shuffled back out to the middle for what may, depending on the seriousness of the injury, be his last contribution of the series.

McCullum's decision to hold himself back at the fall of Ross Taylor's wicket reignited the debate about where he should bat. There was already disquiet about him being as low as No. 5, but he is keen to be able to exploit the batting Powerplay and final 10 overs much in the way England try to use Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler. With a steely glint in his eye, and a never-say-die focus, he showed his judgement to be spot on. However, England will need a debrief over their tactics.

What will frustrate Alastair Cook is that the fast bowlers did so much impressive work, yet their poor overs were so costly that the game was lost. Anderson, for his first eight, did not look like a man who had not bowled in anger since mid-December. His inswinger to BJ Watling was perfect and made him England's most successful international bowler when all formats are combined. Woakes, who has this series to convince he can be the bowling allrounder, nipped out two in the middle order before the latest point on a tough learning curve.

The fielding earned a wicket, too, when Ian Bell's dive at midwicket caused confusion between McCullum and Kane Williamson, who had anchored the chase with a measured 74, and Woakes collected the ball superbly at the stumps. James Franklin was bounced out by Steven Finn, but Nathan McCullum and Andrew Ellis formed important little partnerships to ensure the target was never out of sight.

The closing stages of both innings cost England, because with the bat they lost 7 for 68 in the last 9.3 overs as they failed to use up their allocation. Mitchell McClenaghan, who also picked up an injury when he suffered a side strain - which will keep him out of the rest of the ODI series - took four wickets while Mills showed his experience with an accurate 10 overs.

England's innings was constructed in an old-fashioned style: see off the two new balls when they nipped around, consolidate in the middle with the aim of exploding at the end. Only two-thirds of that worked as Morgan fell early and Buttler, after briefly dazzling, was cut off short of a decisive contribution.

England's top four were all having their first knocks of the tour; Bell and Cook arrived last week after not being part of the Twenty20 squad, Jonathan Trott had been rested since the end of the India Test series and Root did not play the warm-ups on this trip and wasn't needed with the bat in Wellington two days ago. The downtime affected some more than others. Not much can be deduced from Cook's brief stay, Bell looked in decent touch, Trott struggled early before finding some rhythm and Root was the most impressive of the lot.

It was the latest stage in Root's seamless transition to the top level. Arriving shortly before the midway mark he was busy and alert from his first delivery. There was one moment of fortune. On 32 he was given out caught behind off Mills, as he dropped his hands to a short ball, and immediately called for a review that led to the decision being overturned when the TV umpire decided there was conclusive evidence it had come off his sleeve. Opinions from the ground were split. Still, it was a highly mature innings.

While Trott batted in his own bubble, Root worked the gaps and made sure he pushed the fielders. Those attributes made up for the slight lack of power in his game - he also produced the scoop past the keeper - as he went to 50 from 57 balls. But he could not stay to close out the innings and England were at least 20 short of what they should have reached. They were made to pay.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on February 18, 2013, 23:59 GMT

    @Nathan Bell on (February 18, 2013, 14:54 GMT), I'm not sure why people are still going on about Broad because it seems fairly clear that his slump in form was in large part due to injuries and, if he's past those, there's a very good chance that he will be able to perform at his best again. He was very good in two of the three T20s and all the England bowlers other than Anderson had very similar figures in this game so he certainly didn't stand out as being worse than the rest. I do agree with the lack of a plan B and I have said so a number of times. I don't necessarily see this a failing of the bowlers though, or at least not them alone. Many fans have voiced this same gripe for some time so surely it must be a decision made by the coaching staff, including Flower, Saker and Giles. I saw Woakes try a Yorker or two and they didn't come off against Guptill but the way they kept feeding McCullum and he just kept whacking them through or over midwicket was very frustrating.

  • Mark on February 18, 2013, 23:49 GMT

    From an NZ perspective I just want to say thank you to the English fans who have mostly been gracious in defeat and not shy in praising our average NZ team. Thanks guys, credit to your country and in direct contrast to the sheer arrogance of other countries' fans. Bring on game 2!!!!

  • John on February 18, 2013, 20:40 GMT

    @zenboomerang on (February 18, 2013, 10:14 GMT) My personal theory is that last year KP wanted time off so he could play IPL and thought he would get his way. When this didn't happen , after months of stubbornness - probably from both sides - KP decided to unretire from shorter formats ... But because KP was going on about his workload , I think ECB have made a point by not playing him in 3 of the 4 shorter format series since his reintegration. Do you or does anyone believe KP is happy at playing so little shorter formats cricket?

  • Dummy4 on February 18, 2013, 17:33 GMT

    McCullum has shown that he should be keeping wicket in test matches and batting at 5 or 6. McCullum in test matches even though hes captain isn't strong enough to stay in the team as a specialist batsman. To make the balance of the team right for test matches McCullum needs to keep wicket.

    The team NZ for the 1st test against England should be...

    Watling Rutherford Brownlie Taylor Ryder Williamson McCullum (c) & (wkt) Bracewell Bruce Martin/Vettori(if fit) Boult Mills/Southee

    NZ need to look around for two good test openers as thats there major weakness at the moment. For the time being Watling would open as he looked more disciplined/ better against the new ball than McCullum. McCullum showed with a stunning catch in the first ODI that hes the strongest batsmen wicket keeper in NZ. Mills would come into the side as he has shown good control in ODI and would be a alternative if Southee wasnt fit or in form.

  • Dummy4 on February 18, 2013, 14:54 GMT

    Was a great game. As for the English bowlers... Poor! Broad is lucky to still have a place in the side. Anderson and Woakes consistently bowling short to McCullum was below par. Shows that the English bowlers lack a plan B in those situations.

  • John on February 18, 2013, 13:06 GMT

    @zenboomerang on (February 18, 2013, 2:45 GMT), agreed. I expect to see a bit of improvement from those England players coming in cold too but that's not to take anything away from NZ, who deserved the win. As for KP, I can only imagine that, now that the ECB have managed to reintegrate him without losing face, they are trying to give him plenty of time off to avoid a repeat performance. I'm sure that they consider being as ready as possible for the Champion's Trophy and, longer term, the World Cup as far more important than these bilateral series. Keeping KP happy and ready to play in those tournaments would be a factor, I'm sure.

  • rob on February 18, 2013, 11:45 GMT

    NZ can be a genuine surprise packet, especially in L.O cricket. McCullum in full flight is like a frenzied axe murderer and reputations mean nothing to him. .. I would say that England was showing some signs of rust which is not surprising given the long lay offs some of your key players have had .. to be honest, it was a pretty good effort to get as close as you did. .. England should improve game by game but you should never under estimate those Kiwi's either. They do have spirit and way more talent than most people give them credit for.

  • Roo on February 18, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    @JG2704... Re: KP... At so many levels I wish he would just be the great batsman that he is & yet his comms let him down, while the public want to demonize him... Personally I don't want him playing against Oz for the simple fact that he is so destructive (arrogant, belligerent, etc...) & can be a game changer at any moment... That said, I respect his abilities & wish that he performs at his best... He has been poorly handled, which for me must put the onus back on the ECB...

  • Tom on February 18, 2013, 9:59 GMT

    NZ played well to knock off the target, but this was no fault of the bowlers as is indicated in this article. England were easily 30 runs light with the bat, given the collapse from the 40th over.

    If we had posted a par score, our bowlers would have won easily.

  • front on February 18, 2013, 9:29 GMT

    No doubt, there will be fellow English fans, speaking at length about their teams prospects. But there is a simple guide you can follow. Last year, England were Number 1 in ODI's. Now, we're below Australia and now ranked 3rd. That, by anyones stretch of the imagination, is what we call a "plummet", a descent faster than a child sweep down a Dickensian chimney. I always want to see my country portrayed in the best light, and hope, that perhaps some of the hubris shown by my countrymen might be tempered with this stat. The fact is, we're simply not as good as our media and fans want us to believe.