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T20 World Cup (6)
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3rd T20I, Birmingham, September 03, 2023, New Zealand tour of England
(18.3/20 ov, T:203) 128

New Zealand won by 74 runs

Player Of The Match
83 (53)

Allen, Phillips cut loose as New Zealand hit back with dominant win

England on receiving end of 74-run hammering to keep series alive going into fourth T20I

Alan Gardner
Alan Gardner
Finn Allen picked up the pace for New Zealand, England vs New Zealand, 3rd T20I, Edgbaston, September 3, 2023

Finn Allen was Player of the Match for his 83 off 58 balls  •  AFP/Getty Images

New Zealand 202 for 5 (Allen 83, Phillips 69) beat England 128 (Buttler 40, Jamieson 3-23, Sodhi 3-23) by 74 runs
New Zealand produced a vastly improved team performance to claim a thumping victory at Edgbaston and maintain interest in the series with one match to play. Finn Allen slammed 83 off 58, Glenn Phillips added a 27-ball half-century and then the bowlers all chipped in as England's chase fell apart on a wearing surface.
Set a target of 203 to secure their third win on the bounce, England fell to 55 for 4 in the ninth over and never really looked like making a contest of it. Jos Buttler struck a few defiant blows before being fifth man out for 40 off 21 and the lower order fell away quickly in the face of a probing New Zealand bowling display, Kyle Jamieson and Ish Sohi sharing six wickets.
The margin of 74 runs was among England's heaviest defeats in T20Is when batting second, and offered a measure of revenge to Tim Southee's side after going down by 95 runs at Old Trafford in the second T20I, as well as giving New Zealand the chance to claim a share of the series at Trent Bridge on Tuesday.
New Zealand adapt, at last
Southee had challenged his side to adapt better to conditions after two sub-par showings, and they were better in all three departments in Birmingham. Allen and Phillips played well-judged innings during an 88-run stand after Southee had opted to put up a score, while the changes made to the bowling attack both bore fruit - Matt Henry, who was Player of the Match in the T20 Blast final on this ground in July, and Jamieson, making only his fourth New Zealand appearance since suffering a back stress injury in 2022, front and centre of a miserly powerplay performance.
The spin pair of Sodhi and Mitchell Santner, although presented with a more favourable scenario, produced combined figures of 4 for 53 from seven overs - compared to 1 for 98 from eight overs delivered by Adil Rashid and Liam Livingstone (Moeen Ali curiously left unbowled on his home ground). In the field, although Allen couldn't quite pull off a spectacular relay effort to dismiss Buttler at long-on, Phillips' flying leap to palm back a Dawid Malan slog-sweep and prevent it going for six epitomised their commitment.
Malan's birthday blues
Such are the blurred lines between white-ball formats in this day and age that every time Malan - who is in England's 50-over World Cup squad - has batted in this series it has invited scrutiny and comparison with Harry Brook - who isn't. Malan, it's worth noting, averages 54.92 in ODIs, but was dropped during the Hundred (officially a T20 competition) after scoring 28 runs in four innings for Trent Rockets; he lost his place, perhaps ironically, to Joe Root, who is in the ODI squad but hasn't played a T20I since 2019. Keeping up?
Whatever the number of balls, sets or overs, the Malan malaise appears to have returned. Having made a typically staunch half-century at Chester-le-Street to anchor a small chase - very much bread-and-butter for England's No. 3 - he followed up with nought off four balls in the second T20I and an uncomfortable 2 off 11 here. His frustrations were evident as he walked off after hoisting Southee to the one catcher out on the off side, as England reached the six-over mark on 30 for 2 - their third-lowest powerplay score since 2015.
Brook's failure, holing out off the legspin of Sodhi, meant that Malan at least would not have to hear all about his rival's prodigious abilities for a third time in the series. But nevertheless, this probably wasn't how Malan would have wanted to celebrate his 36th birthday.
Allen provides platform
Allen showed how powerful his hitting can be when taking Luke Wood for three consecutive sixes in the first over the series at the Riverside - but he only managed three singles off the other 12 balls he faced in that game, highlighting how turning over the strike can be more of a struggle for the 24-year-old, now more than two years into his T20 international career.
Here, on a dry surface that made timing the ball a challenge, he was occasionally visibly frustrated by his inability to execute shots: on 58 from 42, his groan was audible over the stump mic when mistiming a pull off Gus Atkinson. But he managed to accrue 21 singles and five twos - albeit that encompassed the dismissal Devon Conway run out going for a third - to go with the big shots. It was, he said at the break between innings, part of a conscious effort to bat for as long as possible. "100%, I wanted to take it deep, thought it might not be that easy for the guys coming in," he said.
Nevertheless, he was still keen to flex those boundary-clearing muscles. The first of his six sixes came via a clean strike down the ground off Jordan in the powerplay, and he went to a 35-ball half-century with a hit that just cleared the man, and the rope, at long-on off Livingstone. The piece de resistance, however, was a pointed trident of blows off Rashid, England's premier legspinner, who was flambéed over long-off, long-on and straight back over his head from consecutive deliveries in the 15th.
Phillips turns the screw
The dismissal of Tim Seifert, smartly stumped off a Livingstone legbreak, offered an obvious example of the pitch gripping - Livingstone himself reacted by covering his mouth with his hands - but Phillips was able to bide his time and get accustomed to conditions while Allen did the heavy lifting through the middle of the innings. He was on 27 off 19 at the end of the over in which Allen took on Rashid, before adding a brace of boundaries off Jordan in the next and then striking Wood for six and four as he began to kick up through the gears.
Although Allen's innings came to end, bowled by a Wood cutter, Phillips unleashed another beastly salvo in the following over to keep New Zealand on course for 200. Two into the deep off the first ball of the 18th took him to a 27-ball fifty, before Phillips hammered Livingstone for 6-6-6 off three legitimate deliveries - twice into the crowd at deep midwicket, then over long-off. He was gone in the next over, bowled by Atkinson's slower-ball yorker for 69 off 34, as the innings threatened to stall at the death - but New Zealand already had plenty.

Alan Gardner is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick

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