Williamson fires NZ to T20 win

Posted February 15, 2018

New Zealand managed to bag their first win of the T20I Tri-series as England lost their third match chasing 197 for victory.

New Zealand's 196 for five - having been sent in - equalled the previous highest T20 score on the ground, against Pakistan two years ago. New Zealand were the better side. Australia are already through to next Wednesday's final at Eden Park.

Malan signalled his intention with a six and a four in the 12th over off Sodhi but Jos Buttler's (2) ambitious shot had him caught in the deep. England needed 48 runs in the last four overs. It was New Zealand's game to lose. There were two wickets for Sodhi, Santner and Boult.

Instead of New Zealand's batsmen struggling, the visiting bowlers made harder work of it. His last three T20 innings had produced innings of 0, 9 and 8 off a combined 36 balls against Pakistan and Australia. Colin Munro though didn't do much as he failed to pull the ball over the line was caught by Sam Billings in the 5th over bowled by Mark Wood.

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His stay should have been over instantly, charging for a single he would never have made had Wood hit the stumps from a prime position. He fell to the ground in despair.

It was a classic situation of a missed opportunity by one player presenting another one to an opponent.

England attempted to follow the example set by the hosts' big-hitters in their reply, albeit without the same success.

Opener Guptill raced to 65 off 40 balls and Williamson accelerated late in his 72 off 46 as both put some modest form by their standards by their lofty standards behind them.

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Boult's first ball, to Jason Roy, was the first to misbehave as the England opener raised the periscope to a short one that startled him.

The brio has gone out of Rashid, who was fortunate to pick up his two wickets, the first with a full toss, the second with a superlative one-handed leap at long-off by Chris Jordan whose foot, when he eventually landed, was only an inch from the rope.

Unhelpful - for ground staff - weather conditions in Wellington recently, hot and humid, ate away at a large, rectangular shape of the pitch, giving it a bald, weird appearance.

Williamson said it was a crucial win for New Zealand, who can seal a spot in the final of the triangular series with a win over Australia on Friday in Auckland. If they lose and England prevail in their second game against the Blacks Caps on Sunday then they will have a mathematical chance of progressing to the final.

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