England fall short
England’s continued involvement in the ICC World Twenty20 suffered a major setback after they slipped to a five-run defeat against New Zealand in Durban.
Set 165 to win, England seemed on course to claim the victory which would have boosted their chances of reaching the semi-finals.
But after reaching 72 for one at the halfway stage of their reply, they suffered two mini-collapses at vital times and were restricted to 159 for eight.
Defeat means England must win Wednesday’s match against India and hope other results go in their favour to have any chance of qualifying for the last four on run-rate.
They lost four wickets in as many overs to slump to 106 for five with 6.2 overs remaining and then three more in quick succession in the dying overs.
England had enjoyed their best start of the tournament with Darren Maddy - recalled in place of Jeremy Snape after missing out against South Africa - teaming up with Vikram Solanki in a 62-run opening stand.
Solanki, drafted in as emergency wicket-keeper after Matt Prior was ruled out of the tournament by a fractured thumb, kept well behind the stumps and then proceeded to hit a run-a-ball 24 before driving to long-off.
Maddy, though, put his struggles earlier in the tournament behind him to hit 50 off 31 balls, only to be run out in a mix-up with Kevin Pietersen to start the collapse.
Paul Collingwood followed after driving to extra cover and Pietersen, returning to the ground where he began his first-class career, was bowled attempting to reverse-sweep New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori.
With Flintoff falling two balls later after a mix-up with Owais Shah, England’s momentum was lost when Luke Wright, who had been dropped down the order after failing in his three innings in the top three, arrived at the crease.
He hit Scott Styris down the ground for six and added 42 with Shah before the latter was run out by Vettori attempting a scrambled second run.
Dimitri Mascarenhas and Wright followed in the next over as England lost three wickets for four runs and, needing 16 off the last over, Chris Schofield and Stuart Broad were only able to score 10.
England had begun the day positively by winning the toss and exploiting early-morning conditions to claim early wickets and leave New Zealand reeling on 31 for four.
But a determined 60-run stand off 42 balls between Scott Styris and Craig McMillan put New Zealand back on track.
Batting cautiously at first, they accelerated at the halfway stage of the innings with Styris hitting Mascarenhas for three successive sixes as New Zealand added 44 runs in three overs.
A brilliant piece of fielding from Maddy swung the momentum back in England’s direction just as New Zealand had set their sights on a major score.
Pushing for a quick second run, Styris was left short of his ground after a brilliant pick-up and direct throw from Maddy at mid-on to run him out for 42 off 31 balls.
Not content with that, Maddy claimed two wickets in four deliveries as Collingwood threw him the ball in the 17th over, having McMillan caught at long-on for 57 off 31 balls and bowling the dangerous Jacob Oram as he aimed across the line.
Collingwood accounted for Shane Bond in the next over, but Vettori hit an unbeaten 17 off nine balls as New Zealand’s late flurry took them to a total that proved beyond England.