Sunday, February 24, 2008

New Zealand wins series against England


New Zealand won the final one-day match against England in Christchurch by four wickets under the Duckworth/Lewis method to secure the series 3-1.

Put in, England struggled for runs and Daniel Vettori took 2-28, but Luke Wright fired four sixes in 47 and Dimi Mascarenhas hit 22 off the final over.

Chasing 243, Brendon McCullum gave the Kiwis a stunning start, blazing five fours and six sixes in 77 off 43 balls.

Ryan Sidebottom struck twice in two balls but rain had the final say.


Interview: New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori
Interview: England captain Paul Collingwood

Nothing could separate the teams after 680 runs in a frantic tie in the fourth match at Napier, but there were some crucial differences in the finale.

New Zealand had a balanced attack with accomplished slower bowlers, while their opening batsmen made a mockery of England's assertion that it was a difficult pitch to score freely on.

England's 100 arrived in the 25th over, New Zealand reached theirs in the 11th.

Only nine runs came from the first five overs after England were asked to bat, Phil Mustard skewing to cover in the third.

Vettori was able to complete his three powerplay segments in one bundle and bowled his 10 overs consecutively.

Just 11 boundaries came in the first half of the innings and again Vettori's clever variations caused problems, a quicker delivery pinning Alastair Cook on the crease for 42.

Kevin Pietersen hit three fours and reached 39 in fairly reasonable time but was also not at his happiest with the conditions.

Patel's second delivery tempted him to attack and, slightly deceived by the pace, he dragged to deep mid-wicket.

Vettori tossed one up to lure Paul Collingwood out of his ground and some sharp turn beat the edge and saw him comfortably stumped.

Twelve overs passed without a boundary, but the Wright quickly set about changing the complexion of the innings.

He launched two sixes over wide mid-wicket and proved he was no one-trick pony with two off-side maximums, driving square of the wicket and then backing away to hit over cover.

Wright dominated his partnership with Owais Shah, which reached 50 from 67 balls.
After he fell guns blazing the scene was set for a Mascarenhas late show.

The Hampshire all-rounder is something of a "death" specialist having smashed five sixes in the final over of England's innings against India at The Oval last summer.

His first six went way above the line of the stadium roofs and the second went even further, disappearing deep into the huge grandstand at mid-wicket.

But remarkably it was soon eclipsed by a phenomenal display of hitting from McCullum.

The 26-year-old was particularly incensed by Stuart Broad running down the line of the stumps at the end of the England innings, and took out his anger on the England bowlers.

Early wickets might have been a factor, and Jesse Ryder survived a half chance in the second over when Ian Bell got a hand to a firm square drive.

James Anderson and Ryan Sidebottom found some early swing but England went on the defensive and the only movement on the ball then was when it bounced around the terraces.

McCullum was given two reprieves in quick succession, on 30 by Cook who got two hands to a stinging cover drive but could not hold on, and again on 31 when Broad failed to get to a spiralling top edge at third man.

After that he smashed the final two balls of Sidebottom's over over mid-wicket for six, and launched a hapless Anderson for three successive maximums.

After three overs for 24, Anderson was surprisingly soon brought back for a fourth, which went for 22, one of the sixes coming close to clearing the imposing three-tiered grandstand.

The introduction of the more astute Collingwood stemmed the onslaught and McCullum called Ryder through for a quick single he did not relish.

McCullum was dropped for a third time by Collingwood low off his own bowling, but the next ball was a good one that nipped back and ended his scintillating performance.

At that stage 125 were needed with 34 overs remaining.

Jamie How edged needlessly behind and Anderson's painful figures were ameliorated slightly when Scott Styris mis-hit to mid-off.

Then in his final over Sidebottom, finding swing again under the lights, trapped debutant Daniel Flynn and bowled Jacob Oram with a beauty, with 46 were still required.

Light drizzle added further intrigue but it intensified to ensure there would be no miraculous England triumph

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