New Zealand defeat England

New Zealand stormed to victory over England at Kingsmead in the 17th game of the Twenty20 World Championships, virtually ensuring their progress to the semi-finals and virtually knocking their opponents out. England now require a complicated set of permutations to progress, involving New Zealand and India beating South Africa, plus victory of their own over the Indians.

New Zealand had started poorly, slipping to 40 for 4 after 9 overs. Paul Collingwood had rotated his bowlers regularly, often using single-over spells. However, Scott Styris and Craig McMillan turned the tide, emphatically. Their work begun in earnest in the 10th, when Styris smashed Dimitri Mascarenhas for thee consecutive sixes. The two clobbered 42 in the 3.5 overs which began with that one, and though Styris was run out going for a second to deep-mid-wicket, it did not stop McMillan, who dominated a 3.3-over stand with Jacob Oram, scoring 38 out of 43. Darren Maddy grabbed two wickets in his only over, and New Zealand continued to lose them regularly as the innings drew to a close, but they nonetheless managed to post a competitive 164.

Vikram Solanki, called into the side to replace Matthew Prior as both opening batsman and wicketkeeper, had done his job with the gloves well, and played his part in an opening stand with Darren Maddy which realised 62 in 7.5 overs as Mark Gillespie, Oram and Chris Martin all struggled. Daniel Vettori finally broke the stand, and despite the cheap dismissal of Collingwood England were relatively cruising at 103 for 3 in the 14th. When Kevin Pietersen missed an attempted reverse-sweep and was bowled, and Andrew Flintoff was run out 2 balls later, though, things changed rapidly. Vettori, with 4 overs for 20, applied a firm brake once again, and though Owais Shah and Luke Wright scored at well over a-run-a-ball and kept their side in the hunt, they could not get the rate down and needed 19 from the final 2 overs. Shane Bond bowled the penultimate over, and after Shah was run out off the first ball and Mascarenhas caught off the next, the Kiwis had got the edge. When Wright was caught off the fifth ball, England’s chances were all but gone.

New Zealand eventually won by 5 runs. Of more concern in the long-term to England fans, however, will be the continued troubles of Andrew Flintoff with his ankle. He managed just 3 overs, was obviously in discomfort throughout, and now appears highly unlikely to make the trip to Sri Lanka. It is a plane England are likely to be catching very soon.

New Zealand 164-9
Craig McMillan 57, Scott Styris 42, Daniel Vettori 17*
Darren Maddy 2-6, James Anderson 2-24

England 159-8
Darren Maddy 50, Vikram Solanki 24, Kevin Pietersen 24, Luke Wright 24
Daniel Vettori 2-20, Shane Bond 2-20

New Zealand won by 5 runs
Cricket Web Man of the Match: Craig McMillan

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