19th June, England v South Africa, 09:30 GMT
England 214-7 (Morgan 46) beat
New Zealand 174-9 (Broad 4-24) by 40 runs
First Twenty20 International, Auckland
England made the most of perfect batting conditions to pile up their highest ever T20 total on the way to victory over New Zealand in the opening T20 International at Eden Park.
On a drop-in pitch which Eoin Morgan described as the best he had ever played on and at a ground with ridiculously short straight boundaries, big scores were always likely. England didn’t disappoint and racked up 214 for seven despite none of their batsmen passing 50 and then restricted the Black Caps to 174 for nine.
Michael Lumb and Alex Hales began things at a brisk pace with Hales hitting 21 off 16 balls before falling in the fourth over to left-arm spinner Ronnie Hira. Luke Wright and Lumb then advanced the score at an even quicker pace, adding 60 from 26 balls for the second-wicket. Both fell in quick succession, but England weren’t to be deterred as all of their top six made at least 20.
Eoin Morgan’s contribution to a fourth-wicket stand of 81 with Jonny Bairstow was 46 off 26 balls, with the Yorkshireman departing a couple of overs later for 38 off 22 balls. Jos Buttler then carried England past their previous highest total of 202 for six to equal the ground record as he continued his good form from the warm-up matches by striking 32 off 16 balls.
New Zealand’s bowlers were not helped by their fielders spilling five catches of varying difficulties during the evening, with the returning Ross Taylor dropping two of them. The end result was that the only one of their bowlers who kept his economy rate in single figures was Mitchell McClenaghan, who was one of three left-arm seamers that New Zealand employed.
Even so, New Zealand couldn’t be completely discounted at the halfway stage. Otago’s Hamish Rutherford on debut and the experienced Martin Guptill added 31 in little over three overs to make England sweat, but ultimately the home side’s middle-order wouldn’t be able to match the consistent fast-scoring contributions of England’s.
Stuart Broad carried on his encouraging recovery from his troublesome heel injury to end as the pick of the attack with four for 24, while Steven Finn took three wickets and Luke Wright surprised by delivering his full allocation of overs and returning figures of two for 29.
New Zealand eventually ended on 174 for nine with Guptill’s 32-ball 44 the highest score. Ross Taylor’s disappointing day got worse as he became the only batsmen of the day to reach double figures yet do so at a strike rate of less than 100. He was caught on the mid-wicket boundary as the required rate spiralled.
And so, England go one-nil up in the three-match series ahead of the second game at Hamilton’s Seddon Park on Tuesday.
© Cricket World 2013
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