Bowled Over – England Set New T20 High Score – By Luqman Liaqat

England surpassed their best Twenty20 score on their way to 40-run win taking them ahead in the three match T20 series against New Zealand in Auckland.

The return of captain Stuart Broad seemed to have inspired the batsmen and the shortened boundary line (60 yards) at Eden Park made launching the ball over the top a lot easier taking England to a massive 214-7. Eoin Morgan (46) and Luke Wright (42) were the stars of the innings.

The three lions cleared the rope on 15 occasions, four more than they have ever before beating their previous best score of 202 against South Africa in 2010.

Having been put into bat first, Alex Hales made an announcement straight away showing England’s intent smashing the first maximum over deep mid-wicket off Trent Boult in the second over.

Left arm spinner Ronnie Hira had Hales stumped for 22; Wright brought the run rate up taking 21 runs from his second over. Michael Lumb swept a four and straight six before miscuing an attempted hook at Mitchell McClenaghan to short fine-leg.

After Wright’s and Lumb’s dismissals, a stand of 81 of 43 balls from Morgan (46 off 26 balls) and Jonny Bairstrow (38 off 22 balls) took England to 172-4 in the 16th over.

Morgan later said he had never batted on a better surface, an innings which included three maximums off the pacer bowlers and one from Nathan McCullum.

A late destructive hitting from Jos Butler launched England to a match winning batting display against the Black Caps. The Somerset man fired 32 from 16 balls launching two fours and three sixes.

It was a misery to forget for the home bowlers Boult, Hira, McCullum and Andre Ellis were all hit for more than 40 runs off their mandatory four overs.

With a score of 215 to chase, the New Zealand openers Harmish Rutherford and Martin Guptill struck at a run rate of 10 taking the score to 31 in 3 overs before Broad had Rutherford caught for 18 by James Tredwell at midwicket.

England achieved high standards in the outfield as Morgan took a brilliant catch running at point to dismiss the dangerous Brendon McCullum cheaply off Steve Finn.

Guptill played well launching Samit Patel over the top with a huge slog over midwicket and hit Tredwell off leg stump for four before holding out to Broad in the deep losing his wicket for 44 from 32 balls giving Finn his second wicket.

Despite a couple of distant strikes from James Franklin and Colin Munro. it wasn’t too damaging for the bowlers as they both fell in the 15th over to Broad. Broad bowled out Munro superbly with an off cutter which had a subtle change of pace.

After the score was 130-6, it left the hosts needing an amass 85 to win from 30 balls. A few lusty blows from Hira (20 from 11 balls) late on took them to 174-9.

Despite a fantastic effort in the end the Black Caps outfit led by returning Ross Taylor never looked like winning the match, Finn (3-39) and Broad (4-24) took the game away from them.

The English batsmen will be full of confidence heading into the second T20 match on Tuesday at Hamilton in an attempt to clinch the series.

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