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February 12, 2013
If ever there was an example of the fluctuating nature of T20 cricket, Stuart Broad has experienced it over the first two matches of the series between England and New Zealand.
England captain Broad, who claimed his best Twenty20 figures of 4 for 24 as his side won the first match on Saturday, suffered the second worst figures (none for 53) of his international T20 career in the second game in Hamilton. New Zealand claimed a 55-run win to leave the series levelled 1-1 with one game to play. The only time Broad has conceded more runs in a T20 came in 2007, when Yuvraj Singh thrashed him for six sixes in an over in Durban.
While Brendon McCullum's excellent innings of 74 from 38 balls was the key ingredient in New Zealand's victory, Broad admitted afterwards that his own performance - both as bowler and captain - were partly to blame. Not only was Broad's bowling expensive - culminating in his last over costing 22 runs - but he also expressed his regret at inserting New Zealand after he had won the toss. Batting appeared to become more difficult as the game progressed, with the evening dew rendering it more difficult to time the ball.
"I made the wrong decision at the toss to bowl," Broad said. "The dew did change the wicket quite a bit and the ball swung.
"The guys said it came off the wicket a bit two-paced as well. New Zealand just bowled length, and that's all they had to do. We didn't adapt to the conditions as well as we could have done. We bowled pretty similar lengths to Eden Park, but New Zealand probably were expecting that a bit more. They had a little bit of luck as well, with top-edges for six, but that can happen.
"On such a small ground, we thought it would be hard to defend virtually anything. But New Zealand took early wickets and as soon as you do that, you have a hold of the game.
"We got certain parts of the game wrong tonight and in such a short format you can't afford to do that. This was pretty much a role reversal from Saturday, but that can happen in the shorter game.
"McCullum played fantastically well. Anyone who can get 70 odd off 30 balls has played a fantastic knock. After 15 or 16 overs, I thought we were really in the game. But I got it slightly wrong at the end and it was always going to be a tough ask."
Broad's guilt will have been assuaged a little by McCullum's admission that he, too, would have inserted the opposition had he won the toss.
"We were going to bowl as well," he said. "It's one of those pitches that does get better, and we saw towards the end as well that if you do manage to have wickets in hand you can access those boundaries quite easily.
"We knew that, whatever score we had, we were going to have to get early wickets in that second innings."
They certainly did that. New Zealand claimed two wickets in the second over, bowled by Mitchell McClenaghan and, by the time England were reduced to 47 for 5 in the 11th over, they needed a miracle to win. "We needed to keep wickets intact,'' Broad said. "But we didn't do that and, as soon as we lost three in the first six overs, we were struggling.''
The only areas of consolation for England were the bowling of Luke Wright - who sent down four tight overs - and the batting of Jos Buttler. Buttler scored 54 from 30 balls and, though his task was always hopeless he again underlined his potential.
"Jos proved that if we had kept wickets in the hand he could have been dangerous at the end," Broad said. "He's a wonderful striker of the ball.
"He's had a really good tour so far, and the way he can hit the ball 360 degrees is pretty frightening. He's going to be a very exciting player for us."
The deciding game of the series takes place in Wellington on Friday.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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