Defeat for U19s in final warm-up
A lower-order revival could not prevent England Under-19s from losing their final warm-up game ahead of the World Cup by five wickets to host nation New Zealand.
In a match reduced to 43 overs a side, the Black Caps had 76 balls to spare when they wrapped up victory at St Andrew’s College in Christchurch.
England were asked to bat first and were immediately in strife. They slipped to 32 for four in the face of incisive bowling from Ben Wheeler, and required Hampshire batsman James Vince to rebuild their innings.
Vince was sixth to fall, for 37, with the score at 71, but he at least allowed the lower-order some breathing space.
A seventh-wicket stand of 31 between Azeem Rafiq and Danny Briggs lifted the tourists further, until the captain was run out by Michael Bracewell for 16.
England were able to compile an unsatisfactory but workable 156 for seven, due to an unbroken partnership of 47 between Briggs, who top-scored with 41 not out, and Paul Best, who finished unbeaten on 23.
When the Black Caps replied, England were heartened when Nathan Buck and David Payne removed both openers cheaply.
But New Zealand succeeded where England failed in compiling two fifty partnerships, effectively sealing the match.
A well-paced 52 from 51 balls by Jimmy Neesham, and good supporting hands of 22 and 31 from Corey Anderson and skipper Craig Cachopa allowed the sixth-wicket pair to take their time over finishing off the job.
Briggs was the most effective at tying down the opposition batsmen, getting through 7.2 overs of his left-arm spin for just 27 runs, but New Zealand were always in the ascendancy.
England, who beat Papua New Guinea yesterday, begin their Group A campaign against Hong Kong at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval in Lincoln, near Christchurch, on Saturday.