England v NZ, World T20, Group 1, Chittagong March 22, 2014

New Zealand take rain-hit game


Play 01:28
'McCullum's quick thinking won it for NZ'

New Zealand 52 for 1 (Williamson 24*, B McCullum 16*) beat England 172 for 6 (Moeen 36, Lumb 33, Buttler 32, Anderson 2-32) by 9 runs (D/L method)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Brendon McCullum is such a master of the dark arts of Twenty20 that it seemed entirely appropriate that he should bat to a backdrop of thunder and lightning. But the storm in Chittagong was not a theatrical prop, it was real, and as the rain soon tippled down upon New Zealand's captain it also drenched him in a premature victory that left England awash with frustration.

New Zealand needed to bat for five overs, in reply to England's challenging but far from secure total of 172 for 6, to bring rain calculations into play in the event of a washed out match. When the first fork of lightning lit up the sky behind the bowler's arm, and caused McCullum to pull away from the crease with Stuart Broad about to enter his delivery stride, they still had to face two balls to make the match valid.

Unbeknown to the players, who do not carry laminated, rain-proofed D/L tables around their necks, not yet anyway, New Zealand needed one more run from the last two balls of Broad's over to claim victory if rain proved to wash out the rest of the game. There was nobody better to be at the crease in such a scenario than McCullum, a bullish batsman on the brink of becoming the first batsman to 2,000 T20I runs, a table he leads by a considerable margin.

McCullum gingerly blocked the next, as if fearing further meteorological intervention, then charged the last ball and whacked a full toss straight for six. It is the sort of thing he does anyway, but it was ideally timed. Broad's only over had cost 16 and, as the players left the field two balls into the next over, persistent rain wiped away any chance of a resumption, with New Zealand ultimately nine ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis target.

England would have had a par of around 180 in mind after watching the first match and adding on another 15 or 20 runs for the way in which evening dew had put some spice in the pitch and tipped the balance a little closer towards the batsmen.

They did not quite achieve it, but one indicator at midway held promise for them: their 172 for 6 was the highest total ever seen in Chittagong. They had set a challenging target and New Zealand had never beaten England on three previous occasions when batting second.

Such are the low expectations around England's challenge that there will have been a few cynical grunts from TV watchers when they launched their part in the tournament with a second-ball duck - it belonged to Alex Hales, who failed to work Kyle Mills' slower ball into the leg side and fell to one of two splendid catches by Corey Anderson, back pedalling at mid-off.

From that point, though, every England batsmen made some sort of contribution. They had unearthed a team batting display after a dreadful run of limited-overs form when they most needed one, although nobody managed to push on for the major score which would have made their position stronger. The least they deserved was a match played to a conclusion. Instead, their recent T20 record remains worse than every other nation bar Bangladesh.

New Zealand had also twice been whitewashed in recent times in one-day series in Bangladesh, but this was not about containing the opposition on low, suffocating tracks. New Zealand's pace bowlers, Tim Southee especially, became a little over-excited with the juice in the pitch and bowled too short, his first over going for 17.

The chief beneficiary was Moeen Ali. England kept faith with him at No 3, even though his first five limited-overs matches in the West Indies had suggested a county batsman initially struggling to make the transition to international level: his selection is very much a hunch, the sort of hunch that selectors always say they are planning to avoid, but to which they invariably resort. This was his best England innings, powered by several lofted leg side blows, one of which produced his downfall as he deposited Corey Anderson to deep midwicket.

The sight of hessian sacks being pulled around the outfield to minimise evening dew had been an indicator of the slippery ball that might inhibit the spin bowlers in particular. England relied upon four pace bowlers and omitted the left-arm spinner Stephen Parry; New Zealand also left out a left-arm spinner, Anton Devcich, as well as Ronnie Hira.

By the time Anderson took his second catch, a diving effort on the cover boundary to dismiss Michael Lumb for 33, England had set up a reasonable platform - 76 for 3 off 8.4 - for their two most destructive T20 batsman, Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler. But Morgan, deceived by Southee's slower ball, departed to a curious walking shot, as if he was creeping from around a bush to dry his hands in a headwind.

Mitchell McClenaghan proved to be New Zealand's most resourceful bowler, but a tricksy contribution from Buttler, ended when he dragged on against Anderson, kept England in touch. Then came McCullum, the thunder and lightning, and gathering despair in the England dressing room.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Harmon on March 27, 2014, 6:50 GMT


    I have responded & rebutted to each & every point made by you but you keep re-introducing those same points. What a lovely style.

    All the 'new' points I have made should be readily recalled by someone who is often seen on these pages. Yet you can't seem to recall them. Selective Amnesia is a wonderful thing, right :-)

    I have responded & rebutted enough.

    Take care.

  • John on March 26, 2014, 15:10 GMT

    ESPN Please publish - nothing of offence

    @Harmony - re fans comms.You put

    "Talking about credit, when was the last time we heard a wholesome word of praise from an Eng/Aussie/SA/SL fan here for India? "

    So I gave examples but now a word of praise must become an essay?In those threads I've not noticed one Eng poster posting anything anti Indian.

    I'll apologise for my tone as you're always so cordial to myself and so many others on here and to CM who always speaks candidly/ impartially about cricket in general and always gives other teams praise when it is due. Still don't get the Cook thing but if it's something Cook said - well I'm probably as likely to disagree with it as agree with it.Because a player/fan is English I don't necessarily agree with he says.

    Re WC2011 SF - no I don't remember and

    1 - I probably wasnt on Cricinfo at the time so dont know what was said


    2 - I think I have the ability to let such things - that far back go.

    End of conversation

  • John on March 26, 2014, 15:08 GMT

    @H111 - To be honest I cant be bothered any more. I have posted something that ESPN for whatever seems unfit to publish and that was the nice version of what I truly wanted to say. I've given examples of threads where words of praise for Indian cricket by English threads were made by English fans when you said

    "Talking about credit, when was the last time we heard a wholesome word of praise from an Eng/Aussie/SA/SL fan here for India? "

    And then you say they are just a line or 2 when significantly you asked for "Words" of praise and nothing more and equally significantly there are no anti posts (regardless of size) from Eng fans on that thread.

    You rarely respond to points I make and instead bring in new points and to be honest life is too short to spend time typing posts which don't get published. I'll try once more but am not confident of success.

  • Harmon on March 26, 2014, 12:42 GMT


    I've shown you exactly what was wrong in your comment yet you are unable to see it. If CM's country wasn't imp to you then why at all did you say "not so ok" for the current world champions (btw that is CM's home team).

    Having a heated/cold debate with someone is not the moot point. Pls don't use that as a shield. The moot point is, you objected to CM's "Ok" remark but yourself used "not so ok" for India. And then you say you find nothing contemptuous in your comment !!!

    If you now want to say it wasn't 'baseless' then CM wasn't baseless either when he said 'ok team' for NZ or when he criticized DLM. So either way, you did something you yourself had objected to.

    What saddens me more is not your tone but that it was 'your' tone.

    But like I had said, I have said what I had to say & I don't need to say anything more. So let's end it here. Have a nice WT20 & a new financial year.

  • John on March 26, 2014, 10:39 GMT

    @Harmony - PS - Hopefully they'll publish my other post but regardless re anything else my comms are not showing baseless contempt towards India or any country. I'll agree/disagree with a commenter based on what he says and not what country he is from. I have healthy and maybe at times heated debates with people on here from all countries including my own and that doesn't make me in contempt of every country.

  • Harmon on March 26, 2014, 6:24 GMT


    On one hand you find faults with CM saying "OK team that will get found out" for NZ and then you yourself use words like "Not so ok" for the current world champions. I don't need to say anything else.

    It is sad to see the few remaining relatively sane guys getting consumed by the rapidly spreading poison of pathological & often baseless contempt towards India.

  • Harmon on March 26, 2014, 6:23 GMT


    You have produced 4 comments by 3 posters 2 of which are one-liners and the other 2 aren't much larger. OTOH, there are n number of posters who routinely post full 1000 char multiple comments saying this or that against India on the most illogical grounds. What you posted hardly negates what the norm here is. Of course, you can deny it all and say it doesn't happen but that would not be honesty on your part.

  • paul on March 26, 2014, 3:25 GMT

    @ hockiepokie The first one I would rid the team of would be the opening bowler Mills.

    To slow and even slower in the field.

    Time for him to move and before the wc in NZ next year.

  • Harmon on March 25, 2014, 20:03 GMT


    It was your tone in that comment that was nasty. CM was clearly sympathetic towards Eng in his comment so I don't know why you had to use words like "not so ok" & we know for whom you used that phrase.

    As far as NZ go, I think "OK side" is quite an apt term for them. They have often punched above their weight but that's it. They have hardly ever been favorites in any tournament or bi-series. So if CM says that he expects NZ to be soon back to their regression line, he is not much wrong. NZ deserve respect but let there be no illusions.

    By that Cook reference I wanted to say that CM's "DLM is ridiculous" is nothing to take objection of if the former was never objected to and if the former template is repeated each time India do well. If not the umpire then the curator or even the ICC itself is described as "being in the pockets of BCCI". Don't you remember ppl saying that India had manipulated DRS in the WC2011 SF for SRT's lbw? CM's DLM remark is nothing compared to these.

  • John on March 25, 2014, 11:44 GMT

    @Harmony111 - Once again , I don't believe anything I said to CM on this thread was nasty or untrue. If CM just said that the true test for NZ would come vs SA/SL then that would be just but he goes on to say "Will get found out" are an "OK side" - inferring they are not that good

    If I said anything which was nasty, out of order then please point this out.

    I genuinely don't want to know where your going with your Cook reference but that's nothing to do with this particular debate. My point is that you criticise me and others for suggesting ways to improve DL but you conveniently pass on having a go at the person who says DL is ridiculous without any constructive alternatives for the system. I'm not against the DL system (win or lose) but my suggestions of having to be significantly above/below would just mean that the result is less controversial although I buy the fact that there would be more no results which folk don't want Please publish - nothing of offence

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