New Zealand v England, 1st T20, Auckland February 9, 2013

Strong England in record run spree


England 214 for 7 (Morgan 46, Wright 42) beat New Zealand 174 for 9 (Guptill 44, Broad 4-24) by 40 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

It was the sort of night that batsmen dream of. The drop-in pitch at Eden Park was hard and true, the straight boundaries were of dimensions more normally associated with the village green, and there was havoc to wreak. England did just that, registering their highest Twenty20 total as one batsman after another played with total freedom.

A target of 215 was all too much for New Zealand, even on a warm and bountiful night when batsmen could have hit straight sixes with a stick of rhubarb, if it was stringy enough. They fell 40 runs short to go one down in a three-match series which now moves on to Hamilton on Tuesday.

Stuart Broad, England's captain, looked fit and happy again in his first international outing for two-and-a-half months and, if his best T20 figures of 4 for 24 and the fact that he is now England's leading T20 wicket-taker will gain most attention, his renewed ability to clock more than 140kph will have brought him equal satisfaction.

England's total not only surpassed their 202 for 6 against South Africa in Johannesburg three years ago, it also equalled the highest score at Eden Park.

Australia made 214 for 5 here in the first T20 international in 2005, a rum affair complete with retro clothing and false moustaches and proud, insecure players insisting that they were not taking it very seriously. It is all very different now, the revelry in the crowd combined with a determination by the players to succeed in cricket's most chaotic, unmanageable format.

New Zealand, normally so reliable in the field, handicapped themselves by dropping five catches. The fifth of them, in the penultimate over, would have required a neat lay-off by James Franklin at long-on to a fielding colleague as he ran tight to the boundary - for New Zealand, it was not a night for such achievements.

"You can't afford to drop five catches, especially with the power England have got," said Brendon McCullum, New Zealand's captain. "We were badly exposed, we let England hit to the short boundaries a lot and we have to work out some better strategies."

Two catches were spurned by Ross Taylor, of all people, who was acclaimed by a crowd of 24,000 on his return from his self-imposed international exile, but who had a nightmarish return, as if the Gods were inclined to poke more fun at him than an overwhelmingly supportive New Zealand public.

He dropped two within four balls and, if the first was difficult as Luke Wright drove Nathan McCullum to cover, his failure to cling onto Michael Lumb's skier was suitably embarrassing. In the interests of reintegration, Taylor grinned in a who-would-have-believed-it sort of way and received pointed expressions of sympathy from nearby team-mates.

England struck 15 sixes in all, only two below the record of 17 sixes conceded by England against South Africa at Centurion three years ago, nine of them hit by Loots Bosman on a night which saw Sajid Mahmood's T20 international career come to a sticky end. New Zealand managed only seven in reply as England increased the short stuff to force them to hit to the longer, squarer boundaries.

Their calculating, aggressive mindset was ingrained from the start. The left-arm spin of Ronnie Hira, introduced for the fourth over, had Alex Hales stumped by Brendon McCullum, but his second over had less to commend it. It disappeared for 21, with Wright and Michael Lumb sharing two sixes and two fours. England completed the six-over Powerplay healthily placed at 62 for 1; the mood was set.

The introduction of Andrew Ellis' medium pace brought even more havoc - 18 runs, sixes for Lumb and Wright, Taylor's drop at deep midwicket and the dismissal of Wright who planted a length ball straight to deep midwicket. Lumb, starved of the strike, eventually gloved a pull to short fine leg.

A stand of 81 in 43 balls between Eoin Morgan (46 off 26) and Jonny Bairstow (38 off 22) was the center-piece of England's innings. England's fourth-wicket pair needed a restorative evening like this. Morgan was intent on righting his reputation after a disappointing one-day tour of India and Bairstow was back in the side after compassionate leave because of a family illness. Morgan said he had never batted on a better surface.

The worst of New Zealand's four drops was down to Mitchell McClenaghan - Morgan, on 33, offered a simple opportunity to McClenaghan at backward point, but he never laid a hand of it, blinking as if he had been affected by the reflection of the sun on the stands.

England achieved higher standards in the field. New Zealand sensed it would not be their night when Morgan took a brilliant catch, running back from point, to dismiss Brendon McCullum, the batsman most likely to summon a response.

That cleared the way for Taylor. He took guard with New Zealand's task ever more daunting - 161 from 91 balls - and departed to an ugly leg-side smear at Steven Finn.

Wright's 42 from 20 balls had been as destructive as anything England produced with the bat, but for him to return 2 for 29 in four overs as England's sixth bowler would have given his captain, Broad even more cause for gratitude.

Wright had quite a night as England's sixth bowler, as full of activity as a wound-up clockwork toy. He wound up the crowd when he claimed a return catch off Colin Munro's boot - a close call worthy of a check with the third umpire - had Martin Guptill, whose 44 from 32 balls represented New Zealand's best response, caught at mid-off and added Nathan McCullum with his penultimate ball. At one point, he even bowled four successive dot balls to Munro. Now that took some doing.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on February 11, 2013, 23:49 GMT

    Saw the game on the idiot box. England played well - NZs fielding was surprisingly terrible - I think they ultimately gifted England about 30 to 40 runs (chances not taken). England in the field was where they won the match. On that small field - you need to take wickets & support your bowlers, England did, NZ didn't. == == == Couldn't hear what was going on verbally between Dernbach & the #11 Kiwi, but seriously, I think Dernbach better keep his head down & toy with actual batsmen rather than puffing his chest against a tailender who didn't have a clue. Could be wrong, but I felt he was gloating. Takes away from a fairly good overall performance by him.

  • hayden on February 11, 2013, 2:57 GMT

    guys knocking eden park, considering nz are co hosting the world cup and this being the biggest ground in nz in terms of capacity. what are the chances of one of the semi finals being played on this postage stamp??? adds another dimension to pitch and conditions if you ask me. no different to dust bowls in mumbai or a headingly green top. just a different set of conditions.

  • Jon on February 10, 2013, 23:43 GMT

    @Harmony 111- no I am not offended by anything you say merley bored. I can remember when most English fans loved Indian cricket as they were the great rival to Oz in the 2000 decade. However after I joined this website and see 100's of comments time and again slating anything that is English, I fell out of love with Indian cricket. I must confess seeing your team in tatters is very satisfying and I really hope Australia destroy you as well.

  • Jon on February 10, 2013, 23:39 GMT

    @Harmony111- anyone who bats in the top 5 of a major nation, playing in a test match at Lords, in a series played between numbers 1 and 2 and backs away from bouncers, is an embarassment. That much I know.

  • John on February 10, 2013, 22:51 GMT

    England's 50 over squad is pretty much set in stone barring injuries and dramatic loss of form...Bell, Cook, KP, Trott, Morgan are the top 5 plus wk then you go into the bowlers/bowling all-rounders. Wright can only make the team as a bowling all-round and at this junction of his career it'd be hard to see him do that. Keep in mind you need 5 bowlers in ODIs or 4 bowlers + at the very least 2 part-timers.

  • John on February 10, 2013, 20:46 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer on (February 10, 2013, 11:58 GMT) Don't think Wright should be thought of as an all rounder. More a batsman than can bowl a few overs. I'd say over the last 12 months he's been one of our best performers with the bat and to be fair to the guy , towards the end of his 1st stint he was batting at 7 and not bowling. I'd like to see him and Hales given a go in the OD side and if they are not up to standard then at least we know. If they are and surpass expectation and do better that established players then keep them in. I find sometimes our established players are established because our selectors won't drop them when they are out of form.

    @jmcilhinney on (February 10, 2013, 10:22 GMT) You're spot on there esp re the 1st sentence

  • John on February 10, 2013, 20:23 GMT

    @Harmony111 on (February 9, 2013, 22:47 GMT) Wow - you really seem het up there. One person refers to the "Ghastlies" and what is all this aimed at me for? When he says the Ghastlies , he doesn't refer to any individuals - he is just saying it's nice (not that it lasted long) for a thread to be free of rubbish. BTW - I do think you're very harsh on Luke today. Not sure if you saw the game but Luke played an inns full of well executed cricket strokes which would be purred about had it been a batsman with a worldwide reputation. Also 214 has not been bettered on this ground by an international team. I'm not saying this means we're suddenly a force , but it's still not a just a par score

    Please publish this time - nothing of offence

  • Dummy4 on February 10, 2013, 13:07 GMT

    New Zealand is a pathetic team its boring for us fans when the results are clearly on England's side no fun similar like when you play minnows.

  • Mark on February 10, 2013, 11:58 GMT

    @JG He did have a number of opportunities in the 50 over side without convincing, initially opening or batting at 3. He does look to have matured as a player in the last 2 years so he may be worth a last go. Certainly, he has a lot of power and is capable of a devastating cameo at 6 or 7 and, if he can be relied upon to bowl 6 or 7 overs cheaply in mid-innings, he would add extra options and be a very valuable addition to the side. To me the bowling is the major problem: it has advanced, but not enough to be a front-line bowler at this level, so his 10 overs have to be shared with someone else. If he can improvea little more in that department a little more, I'd pick him every time. As it is, he is a useful county all-rounder, but not quite good enough in either department to be an international except in T20.

  • John on February 10, 2013, 10:22 GMT

    To Harmony111 and anyone else interested, I'm not going to indulge in any more dialogue because it is a pointless exercise. Noone is changing their mind about anything so it's a waste of time.

    With regards to the game, yes it was a small ground and that was certainly a big factor in England making a big score but they still batted well. Hales probably needs to take a deep breath and calm down a bit and he should be OK. If and when KP comes back into the T20 squad, you'd think that Lumb would be the one to miss out at the moment but that may change is Hales is not careful. The rest of the top six looked very good in this game so I don't see that there's anything specific to worry about there from this particular game. They were all hitting the ball well and I agree with JG that Wright looked as good or better than any of them. As for the bowling, the circumstances suited the England bowlers so I'm not 100% convinced going forward but, above all, it's good to see Broad bowling well.

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