England pegged back by Black Caps
New Zealand levelled the three-match Twenty20 international series with England courtesy of a convincing 55-run victory at Seddon Park.
Brendon McCullum’s 38-ball 74 enabled the Black Caps to reach 192 for six on a pitch offering good pace and carry after Martin Guptill and Hamish Rutherford had contributed 47 and 40 respectively at the top of the order.
That left England, who opted to bowl first, facing a record run-chase, which was soon undermined as Mitchell McClenaghan and Ian Butler wreaked havoc.
McClenaghan removed Alex Hales and Luke Wright with successive balls in his first over, while Butler - in his first international appearance since December 2010 - bowled four overs in a row for outstanding figures of 2-9.
England subsequently slipped to 63 for six and, although Jos Buttler continued his fine form with an enterprising 54, New Zealand were assured of victory long before the match came to an end.
James Franklin finished things off, removing Buttler, James Tredwell and Jade Dernbach in his final two overs en route to return T20-best figures of 4-15 and dismiss England for 137.
Rutherford rode his luck somewhat early on, but both he and Guptill were able to score freely off the back foot in an opening stand of 75 that spanned only 8.2 overs.
Wright, who returned 2-24 from four overs, broke the partnership by having Rutherford caught behind and also dismissed Ross Taylor cheaply after Guptill had swept Tredwell to deep square-leg.
New Zealand were in danger of losing momentum at that stage, but McCullum, having appeared all at sea early on, accelerated in devastating fashion despite seeing Colin Munro and Grant Elliott depart cheaply to slower balls from Dernbach.
Stuart Broad’s final over went for 22 and Dernbach’s figures also took a hit as he conceded 16 in the last set of six, which did bring the wicket of New Zealand’s captain.
Any hopes England had of repeating their batting success in the series-opener were soon hit as New Zealand’s seamers benefited from pitching the ball up, a tactic that had proven their undoing at Eden Park.
Hales and Wright each failed to get their feet moving when falling to McClenaghan with nine runs on the board; the former was bowled before Wright edged to gully attempting a booming drive.
Butler, a player ravaged by injuries earlier in his career, then enjoyed a triumphant return to the New Zealand fold, having Jonny Bairstow and Eoin Morgan caught at short fine-leg and deep point respectively either side of Michael Lumb being bowled on the sweep by Nathan McCullum.
The flurry of wickets prevented England from keeping up with the required rate and Samit Patel was run out by several yards attempting a single to mid-off that was never there.
Buttler provided some consolation for the tourists with another terrific innings, which featured two trademark scoops for four and one huge swipe over the long-on rope, but his efforts merely delayed the inevitable.
With a New Zealand success already a foregone conclusion, Franklin took the opportunity to improve his record by claiming the final four scalps, three to catches in the off-side ring.
Live Text Commentary
9:08am - END OF INNINGS - Eng 137 all out - NZ WIN BY 55 RUNS - Franklin bowls Tredwell for 22 in the final over and then has Jade Dernbach caught at mid-off to finish with T20-best figures of 4-15. The series is now tied at 1-1, with all to play for in Wellington on Friday.
9:04am - James Tredwell swings Franklin high over midwicket for a huge six and also picks up two fours off Boult, but an England defeat is inevitable.
8:57am - WICKET! Buttler c Taylor b Franklin 54; Eng 115/8 - Buttler’s fun is brought to an end as he offers up a tame catch to cover. He can be proud of his efforts today.
8:56am – FIFTY! Buttler (28b 9x4 1x6) - Boult becomes the latest victim of Buttler’s scoop shot. The wicketkeeper-batsman then moves past 50 with his ninth four. England are heading for defeat here, with 78 needed from 18 balls, but this has been a terrific innings.
8:52am - Buttler continues to impress in a forlorn situation. A trademark scoop off Grant Elliott is followed by a smear through midwicket and a crunching straight drive. Not satisfied with three fours in the over, Buttler then hammers a half-volley over mid-on for six; that almost cleared the roof of the stand!
8:47am – WICKET! Broad c Guptill b Franklin 1; Eng 80/7 - With the required rate now above 20, Broad attempts an aerial drive off the back-foot, but fails to clear mid-off.
8:44am - Buttler, who is in great form at the moment, will not go down without a fight. Fours on either side of the wicket off Nathan McCullum take the Somerset man to 18 and he then drives powerfully down the ground for another boundary.
8:38am – WICKET! Patel run out (Boult) 6; Eng 62/6 - New Zealand strike again. Patel hits straight to Boult at mid-off and sets off for a run that was never there. A direct hit sends him on his way.
8:35am - Butler the bowler thinks he has removed Buttler the batsman, but umpire Gary Baxter turns down a ferocious lbw appeal. The seamer finishes with outstanding figures of 2-9 from four overs and has surely done enough to make sure his side emerge victorious. Fours from Samit Patel and Buttler do little to improve England’s situation.
8:27am – WICKET! Morgan c Munro b Butler 13; Eng 47/5 - Morgan never looked settled and now his luck has run out. A thick edge flies out to deep point and Colin Munro makes no mistake. Butler has 2-8.
8:23am - WICKET! Lumb b N McCullum 17; Eng 43/4 - Lumb’s scratchy innings comes to an end as he is bowled via pad aiming a big swipe across the line. Out comes Jos Buttler with a miracle needed.
8:21am – MISSED CHANCE - Goodness me - Morgan gets another let-off following an appalling drop in the deep. A mis-hit pull went straight down the throat of Hamish Rutherford at midwicket, yet he somehow put down the simplest of chances. England remain in big trouble, requiring 150 from 66 balls.
8:17am - MISSED CHANCE - Morgan just about gets his bat to a wide delivery from Butler and collects four via a thick edge. Five dot-balls follow, however, taking the required rate above 12 an over. Another boundary eventually arrives for Morgan, but only after Brendon McCullum misses a stumping opportunity off his brother Nathan.
8:09am - An outside edge from Lumb races down to third man for four. It is fair to say England’s batsmen are not timing the ball as well as they did three days ago! The powerplay ends with only 31 scored and a further 162 needed from 84 deliveries.
8:03am - WICKET! Bairstow c McClenaghan b Butler 8; Eng 24/3 - Ian Butler, who is playing his first international match since December 2010, takes over from Boult and needs just three deliveries to claim a wicket. Bairstow looks to capitalise on an innocuous short ball, but gloves to short fine-leg. England are in real trouble now.
8am - Successive off-side boundaries from Bairstow off Boult provide the tourists with a welcome lift. Lumb then makes it three fours in as many balls by carting McClenaghan over mid-off. New Zealand’s wicket-taker, operating at a decent pace, keeps things tight for the remainder of the over and sees a strong lbw appeal against Lumb turned down.
7:51am - England are holding Eoin Morgan back following the early loss of two wickets. Jonny Bairstow leaves the hat-trick ball alone and he needs to rebuild swiftly here in the company of Lumb.
7:49am - WICKET! Wright c Guptill b McClenaghan 0; Eng 9/2 - Two in two for McClenaghan! Wright aims a leaden-footed drive at the seamer and is caught in the gully.
7:48am - WICKET! Hales b McClenaghan 5; Eng 9/1 - Hales drives Mitchell McClenaghan through the covers in authoritative fashion, but is bowled by a beauty next ball.
7:45am - Trent Boult, one of countless left-arm seamers available to New Zealand, opens the bowling and finds some away movement to trouble Lumb. Just five from the over.
7:40am - England may wonder how New Zealand managed to get up to 192 there. Those last two overs really made a difference. Anyway, the reply is now about to begin, with Alex Hales and Michael Lumb ready to roll!
New Zealand Innings
7:30am - END OF INNINGS - NZ 192/6; McCullum 74 - The final over from Dernbach proves expensive and is not helped by a leg-side wide that beats Buttler and races away for four. McCullum holes out to deep point off the penultimate ball, but a James Franklin four makes it 38 from the final 12 deliveries.
7:24am - FIFTY! McCullum (32b 5x4 3x6) - McCullum brings up his half-century with a leg-side six off Broad and then repeats the shot off the next ball! Another maximum, over cover, lifts New Zealand up to 176 with an over to come. Broad finishes with 0-53 from four overs.
7:19am - WICKET! Elliott b Dernbach 4; NZ 154/5 - Dernbach just misses his yorker length and is lofted down the ground for four by an increasingly aggressive McCullum. There’s another wicket for the paceman later in the over, however. A slower ball takes the top of off stump, although Dernbach did not notice at first. He only started celebrating once he saw Grant Elliott walking off!
7:11am - England’s fielding has been excellent, typified by a diving stop on the leg-side boundary by Michael Lumb, who is celebrating his 33rd birthday today. McCullum almost destroys the stumps at the non-striker’s end with a thunderous stroke off Finn, but that’s another decent over for England.
7:07am - WICKET! Munro c Bairstow b Dernbach 7; NZ 139/4 - Dernbach strikes with a slower ball! After edging a rapid delivery past the keeper for four, Colin Munro departs in similar fashion to Taylor when picking out Jonny Bairstow in the deep.
7:01am - Wright finishes with 2-24, despite seeing his last ball edged fine for four by McCullum. They are fine figures on this pitch. With five overs to come, New Zealand are 130 for three.
6:57am - WICKET! Taylor c Bairstow b Wright 4; NZ 124/3 - Wright picks up another big wicket for England! Taylor top-edges a pull and is caught at deep midwicket.
6:56am - New Zealand’s two big guns are now together at the crease, with Ross Taylor alongside McCullum. After a quiet spell, the latter strikes three successive fours off Broad, the first two either side of short fine-leg and the third through extra-cover.
6:46am - WICKET! Guptill c Hales b Tredwell 47; NZ 105/2 - Tredwell returns and is punished for dropping short when McCullum pulls over cow corner for another six. Guptill then gets down on one knee to sweep powerfully, but picks out deep square-leg.
6:43am - He’s not struggling now! McCullum gives Patel the charge and clears wide long-on by about 30 metres. A more agricultural swipe fails to pay off later in the over, with the ball dropping at the batsman’s feet.
6:39am - Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum is beaten all ends up by a jaffa from Wright, who finishes his second over with handy figures of 1-12. Guptill gets New Zealand moving again by upper-cutting Finn over third man for six, a stroke that illustrates the pace in this track. McCullum is struggling, however, and has one from seven balls.
6:32am - Rutherford c Buttler b Wright 40; NZ 75/1 - New Zealand’s fourth six comes courtesy of Rutherford, who advances to Samit Patel and clears long-on. He then comes down the pitch to Wright and drives confidently between cover and mid-off, only to edge the next ball through to Jos Buttler when attempting to steer past point with an open face.
6:27am - Guptill greets Jade Dernbach with a disdainful thrash to the cover rope, but the Surrey seamer responds excellently, conceding just three more in the remainder of the over with the aid of a wonderful slower ball that deceives Rutherford. Luke Wright’s first over also begins with an off-side four to Guptill, who looks in good touch, but once again there is little incident thereafter.
6:18am - More good fortune for Rutherford, who sees another miscue land safely in the covers. The left-hander then edges through the vacant slip region for two before connecting more cleanly with a pull to claim six in Finn’s next over. A thick outside edge from Guptill flies over point for four more and New Zealand end the the fifth over with 47 on the board.
6:11am - Stuart Broad, generally bowling just short of a length, initially keeps things tight, only for Rutherford to pick up a fortuitous maximum with a top-edged pull that flies over the wicketkeeper. Steven Finn replaces Tredwell and finds plenty of carry in an over yielding six, which finishes with Guptill slashing over cover for four. New Zealand are 26 without loss.
6:03am - It didn’t take long for the first six to arrive! An otherwise quiet over from Tredwell is spoiled when Guptill thumps the fourth ball back over the bowler’s head and into the sightscreen.
5:59am - Here we go then. Out come Martin Guptill and Hamish Rutherford. England are opening with the off-spin of James Tredwell.
5:50am - There were 23 sixes at Eden Park on Saturday, where the small boundaries prompted plenty of discussion. We can expect a few more maximums today; this ground is bigger, but not by much. New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum believes the wicket has a little more pace than usual, something that may encourage England’s seamers.
5:42am - Here are the two teams in full. In replacing Hira with Butler, New Zealand have opted to play just one spinner in Nathan McCullum.
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Hamish Rutherford, Brendon McCullum (captain), Ross Taylor, Grant Elliott, Colin Munro, James Franklin, Nathan McCullum, Ian Butler, Trent Boult, Mitchell McClenaghan.
England: Alex Hales, Michael Lumb, Luke Wright, Eoin Morgan, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Samit Patel, Stuart Broad (captain), James Tredwell, Steven Finn, Jade Dernbach.
5:35am - ENGLAND WIN THE TOSS AND BOWL - Stuart Broad calls correctly and opts to bowl first. “We feel like chasing is the best way to win the game,” says England’s captain. The tourists are unchanged, with Eoin Morgan having recovered from a jarred back, while New Zealand bring in Grant Elliott and Ian Butler for Andrew Ellis and Ronnie Hira.
5:30am - Morning everyone. Ready for another boundary blitz? Hamilton's Seddon Park is about to play host to the second Twenty20 international between New Zealand and England and if this match is anything like the series-opener, it's going to be a tough day for the bowlers!