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The Report by George Dobell
February 15, 2013
England 143 for 0 (Hales 80*, Lumb 53*) beat New Zealand 139 for 8 (Guptill 59, Broad 3-15) by 10 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
It was probably fitting that England sealed victory against New Zealand with an enormous six over midwicket: they had dominated this game throughout and the margin of victory - 10-wickets with 44 deliveries to spare - does not mislead. This was slaughter. The result secured a 2-1 series victory for England.
Michael Lumb and Alex Hales rushed them to victory with the team's highest-ever opening stand in T20, but this was a result that also owed plenty to an excellent performance in the field. England bowled with pace and discipline and fielded with consistent skill to limit New Zealand to total that always looked inadequate on another good T20 surface. It was only the second time that England have won a T20 by 10 wickets; they also beat West Indies by 10-wickets at The Oval in 2011.
Lumb and Hales will take the plaudits and probably rightly so. By the latter stages of their run chase they were treating the bowling with a disdain rarely seen at this level. With victory in sight, Hales thumped Mitchell McClenaghan for 22 in four deliveries - three sixes and a four - driving anything pitched-up over long-on and pulling anything short over midwicket.
It must have seemed a long time for McClenaghan since he started his spell with a maiden. Lumb and Hales' stand was the second highest for any wicket England have achieved in this format, following the partnership of 159 between Hales and Ravi Bopara against West Indies at Trent Bridge in 2012.
In truth, New Zealand had not set a competitive total with the bat. Limited to 139 by an excellent performance in the field from England, they were never able to find any fluency and were always chasing the game.
It was no surprise that England elected to bowl after winning the toss, despite Stuart Broad admitting he was wrong in the previous match. All four previous T20s at this ground had seen the side batting second winning the game and, with dew expected as the game wore on, it was anticipated that gripping the ball could become difficult for bowlers later in the match.
Brendon McCullum, the New Zealand captain, admitted that he would have bowled first*, too, though ultimately the match was over before the dew became relevant. New Zealand's bowlers were unable to replicate the tight control of line and length of their counterparts and offered too much width and too many over-pitched, short or wayward deliveries.
That New Zealand were able to set any sort of total was largely due to Martin Guptill. The opener, while far from fluent for most of the innings, batted into the 19th over and contributed 59 runs to give his side some sort of target to defend. But he could not hit a boundary until the eighth over of the innings and did not manage another until the 18th as New Zealand struggled to get going against a purposeful performance from England's bowlers.
Broad and Steven Finn were particularly impressive. Both bowled with pace and found enough assistance in the pitch to allow them to stick to their natural length. Broad bounced back from his mauling in Hamilton with a frugal spell. He was thrashed for 53 in his four overs in the previous game, including 22 in his final over, but here conceded just 15. Each of his three wickets came with sharp, well-directed short deliveries which may bode well for a man seeking to prove his fitness ahead of an ODI and Test series.
But England's spinners also claimed the key wickets. Joe Root, called into the side in place of Samit Patel, provided another demonstration of the calm head that has seen him step-up to international cricket with apparent ease in his encounter with Ross Taylor. Taylor had just slog-swept Root for six over midwicket but the bowler, keeping his head, tossed the next ball up a little slower and little further outside off stump and drew the batsman into the shot once more. This time Taylor was unable to connect so cleanly and top-edged the ball to deep midwicket where Jonny Bairstow, as reliable a catcher as England have, held on safely.
James Tredwell accounted for Brendon McCullum who had won the game for New Zealand in Hamilton with an innings of 74 in 38 balls, but might have been a victim of the larger boundary in Wellington. Certainly the slow-sweep he played would have travelled for six in Hamilton but here it again found its way to the sure hands of Bairstow at deep midwicket.
James Franklin thrashed three boundaries, including two in a row off Jade Dernbach in the last over, to keep New Zealand's head just above water but, with Finn and Broad conceding just 33 between them in their eight overs, England could feel very satisfied with the first half of their evening's work.
If New Zealand were to have any chance of defending such a modest total they had to take their chances. But Hales was dropped on 6 by Taylor - a desperately difficult chance - jumping at slip in an attempt to cling on to a top-edge off Ian Butler, and then again on 11 as Brendon McCullum, running round from behind the stumps to square leg, insisted on trying to claim a top-edge off McClenaghan that might have been best left to a closer fielder.
Lumb should have been run out on 46, too, Nathan McCullum failing to remove the bails despite standing right by the stumps, but by then it was too late anyway. England were all but home.
While Hales' late assault was eye-catching, Lumb had looked assured throughout. It was Lumb who kick-started the England chase by hitting McClenaghan for successive sixes in the fourth over - the first a drive and the second, when the bowler pulled his length back, a pull - and his fluency allowed Hales the chance to find his form. A wild over from Butler, the fifth of the innings, cost New Zealand 23 - and helped Hales pick-up three leg-side boundaries and begin to settle. Neither he or Lumb looked back.
11.15am GMT, February 15. This story was amended to correct Brendon McCullum's remark
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: George Dobell
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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