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Ruthless Rutherford unseats Lions

New Zealand A were crowned winners of the triangular series after a superb innings from Hamish Rutherford underpinned a seven-wicket victory under the Duckworth/Lewis method over England Lions.

Set a target of 220 from 36 overs, following rain at New Road, opener Rutherford set the tone with 10 fours and two sixes in his 95 off 84 balls before Tom Latham's unbeaten 48 completed the job with 21 deliveries remaining.

The Lions, who had been so impressive in victory against Sri Lanka A on Monday, struggled in this winner-takes-all clash and required counter-attacking half-centuries from Jonny Bairstow and Tom Smith to help them to 255 for eight.

That they reached something approaching a par total was impressive having slipped to 89 for five after losing the toss against a Kiwis side featuring seven players with Test caps to their name.

England Lions all-rounder Tom Smith unfurls his trademark sweep en route to an assured 71 not out against New Zealand A at New Road

Much of the damage was done by Matt Henry who accounted for Ravi Bopara, captain James Taylor and Jason Roy on his way to 3-56 after Scott Kuggeleijn made the breakthrough by removing James Vince.

Vince's opening partner Alex Hales and Bairstow, who clubbed a century against the same side in a losing effort last week, steadied the ship but the former departed for 37 after being caught behind off Ish Sodhi.

That brought together Yorkshire's Bairstow and Lancashire's Smith, and the Roses alliance added 91 in 17.2 overs. Bairstow plundered eight fours in his 77 off 84 balls before edging Doug Bracewell behind.

Smith finished on 71 not out off 87 deliveries, with four boundaries and a maximum, while a late cameo from Toby Roland-Jones - who struck an unbeaten 29 from 26 balls - helped the Lions finish with a flourish.

Hamish Rutherford, who demonstrated his pedigree at Test level against England last year, unfurled the full array at the Lions' expense

The heavens then opened, but fears that the Duckworth/Lewis calculation may have fallen against the Black Caps were soon extinguished by the brilliant Rutherford, who combined with Anton Devcich in a 109-run opening stand.

Devcich perished for 49 before Dean Brownlie departed quickly afterwards. Smith and Bairstow were involved once more, the former pouching Devcich off Ravi Bopara’s medium pace and the wicketkeeper stumping Brownlie off slow left-armer Stephen Parry.

Rutherford was crucially unbowed and brought up his fifty with a six off Parry in the 15th over as he continued to put England's bowlers to the sword before falling five runs short a well-deserved century - Parry the beneficiary of a mis-timed drive.

That ended a partnership of 80 with Latham, whose run-a-ball knock saw the tourists home. 

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