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February 15, 2013
England carried out a round tour from the sublime to the ridiculous and back again during the T20 series against New Zealand, which they secured 2-1 with a crushing ten-wicket victory in Wellington. Talk before the match had been of New Zealand comebacks but England produced the the ideal response to defeat in Hamilton, with the captain, Stuart Broad, describing their performance as "perfect" - though he needed to take a deep breath before deciding to insert New Zealand again.
The pace bowlers' use of a short length paid off and England took regular wickets, before Alex Hales and Michael Lumb peppered the boundaries to complete the highest successful chase without losing a wicket in T20 internationals. While in the second match, England's batsmen struggled against a moving ball under lights, the only swing on offer in Wellington came in the form of another dramatic shift in fortunes between the teams.
"All round, it was probably the most powerful [T20] performance I've seen from an England side really," Broad said. "The result, and the way we adapted to the conditions with the ball, was brilliant. The fielding was strong as well, catches being held. It was a pretty perfect performance really."
"We know early wickets kill you in Twenty20, so it was great to see the guys take their time and get used to the wicket a little bit for two or three overs ... then once Alex Hales got going, it looked hard to stop him. Some of the sixes were huge. Lumby's almost went out of the ground to finish the game."
Broad accepted responsibility for bowling first in Hamilton but his team justified the decision this time, continuing a run that has seen the chasing side win all five T20 internationals played at the Westpac Stadium. Having taken 4 for 24 in the first match in Auckland - then going for 53 in the second - Broad collected his second-best T20 figures of 3 for 15 to finish the series on a positive personal note ahead of England's ODI and Test commitments.
"After winning the toss and deciding to bowl - it took a little time to make that decision - it was important we put our wrongs right," Broad said. "We hung into a heavy length, and the way we started with the ball, the tone we set, was fantastic. We probably kept them to 20 or 30 under par. But the power the two openers have shown there was pretty spectacular."
For Brendon McCullum, New Zealand's captain, it was a return to lauding the opposition after his side was comprehensively outplayed. The batsmen could only manage three sixes in limping to 139 for 8 and then New Zealand's sloppy series in the field continued as Hales was dropped twice early the England chase.
"We were blown off the park tonight. [Our] batting, bowling and fielding was nowhere near the standards they need to be - and England were ruthless, and thoroughly deserved the series victory," McCullum said. "There was some excellent hitting. We served them up ... and I thought we bowled too straight; we weren't able to get any swing whatsoever.
"We were aware, once we were batting, we'd need to get somewhere near 170 - because it would skid on later - to be competitive. But in the end we probably needed 200, the way they played. We were just poor across the board, and they were excellent across the board; hence the gulf between the two teams."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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