James Marshall ton seals series for New Zealand A
New Zealand A 285 for 4 (Marshall 125*, Hopkins 66*) beat England Lions 284 for 9 (Denly 68) by six wickets
New Zealand A won another high-scoring contest at Fitzherbert Park to clinch the series against the visiting England Lions 2-0. Set 285 to win, James Marshall took charge of the chase with an aggressive century to secure victory with six wickets in hand and 23 balls to spare.
England Lions chose to bat in this game, after their decision to field in the first match had resulted in a target of 374. They got off to a quick start, with the openers adding 36 before Robert Key was dismissed in the seventh over. However, Denly, who top-scored with 68, ensured that England continued to score steadily. It was after his dismissal - caught by Ewen Thompson off Nathan McCullum - that the innings began to unravel. From 138 for 1, England Lions slipped to 148 for 4. They never regained momentum and had to settle for 284 when they looked like scoring more than 300 at one stage.
They would have needed a lot more than 300 going by the way New Zealand's chase turned out. The hosts lost an early wicket - Aaron Redmond for 17 - but Marshall's 125 off 112 balls was the decisive innings in the match. He added 65 with Peter Ingram for the second wicket and remained steady through a middle-order stumble that left New Zealand A on 138 for 4. Marshall then put on 147 with Gareth Hopkins, who scored 66 off 67 balls, to clinch the series for the hosts.