By Andy Hyslop
- England hand T20 International debuts to Mark Wood, David Willey and Sam Billings
- Joe Root top scores with 68 as England set New Zealand 192
- Mark Wood and David Willey take three wickets apiece
England thrashed New Zealand by 56 runs in the one-off T20 International at Old Trafford to end the series of games against the Blackcaps on a high after drawing the test series 1-1 and winning the one-day series 3-2
England kept the same eleven that played in Saturday’s win at Durham in the final one-day match for this T20 International, which meant that Mark Wood, David Willey and Sam Billings all made their T20 International debuts. England captain Eoin Morgan won the toss and decided that his team would bat first.
New Zealand decided to play two spinners in the match in Mitchell Santner and Nathan McCullum, throwing the ball to Santner for the first over of the match. England’s opening partnership made a decent start until Jason Roy was run out for 23. England were scoring at 10 an over and reached the end of the 6 powerplay overs on 60/1.
England then lost Alex Hales for 27 and Jonny Bairstow for 1 as they lost two wickets in quick succession – they had reached 85/3 by the end of the 10th over. Joe Root was going along nicely at this, playing some shots you would find in the MCC coaching manual and some you wouldn’t.
Root reached his 50th off 36 balls, this was his second T20 International 50 in 10 games, and the 15th over was a big one for England as they hit 23 runs off it to be 137/4 with 5 overs to play. Billings was the next man to be for a quick-fire 21 off 11 balls, which left England 144/5.
Ben Stokes joined Root at the crease as England looked to kick-on and set New Zealand a big target, Root was the next man to go for England, out for 68 off 46 balls, and Willey came and went quickly, his only impact on the scorers was a big 6.
England went into the final over on 177/7, with Stokes and Adil Rashid now at the crease, they hit several boundaries between them to take 14 runs off the final over and set New Zealand a target of 192 to win this one-off T20 International.
New Zealand Innings
Willey bowled the first over of the New Zealand reply, the first two balls going for 6 runs, before bowling Martin Guptill with the third ball of the over. Brendon McCullum then went on the attack, racing to 34 off 12 balls. McCullum was then bowled by Wood for 35 of 15 as he picked up his first wicket of the match. New Zealand reached 73/2 off their 6 powerplay overs.
With the score on 88/2 and Ross Taylor on 17, he nicked one from Stokes to Bairstow behind the stumps, and Bairstow dropped what seemed to be a regulation catch. In the end this did not matter as Taylor was caught by Willey off the bowling of Rashid off the next ball he faced.
Bairstow made up for his earlier drop by catching Luke Ronchi as he tried to chip one over the keeper that just looped up, which left New Zealand on 101/5 needing 91 off the last 10 overs. Kane Williamson reached his 50 off 31 balls. Wood then removeed Santner for 9 to leave New Zealand on 131/6, and needing 61 runs from 33 balls.
A couple balls later and the danger-man Williamson was gone, as Willey threw down the stumps to run him out for 57 off 37 balls. Tim Southee was the next batsman in and he hit his first ball straight the throat of Morgan, who made no mistake.
Willey took the last two wickets off the first two balls of the 17th over, New Zealand were all out for 135, losing their last 5 wickets for 4 runs off 11 balls, as England sealed an emphatic 56 run victory.
There were three candidates for man of match: Root for his 68 in England’s innings. Willey for his 3/22 and the run-out of New Zealand’s best player Williamson, and Wood for his 3/26, bowling with great pace and really troubling the New Zealand batsmen. Root got the vote this time but it could have gone to any of the three England players.
The majority of the England players will now go back to their counties, hoping to impress the selectors more and be called on if their needed for the Ashes. Root, Wood, Steven Finn and Jos Buttler who missed this game through injury will join the pre-Ashes training squad as they to Spain on Saturday 27th June.
The squad for the first test, which starts on July 8th, will be named a few days after their return from Spain.