Bowled Over – T20 Game is Superb – By Luqman Liaqat

England fell five runs short once again after losing the ICC Champions Trophy final by the same margin on Sunday, leaving England with a must win match on Thursday to save the T20 series.

The Kiwis piled up a massive score on a flat pitch of 201-4 which is their highest total away from home, Hamish Rutherford (62) and skipper Brendon McCullum (68) top scored and Eoin Morgan’s men chased well in reply but couldn’t cross the winning line.

Luke Wright made 52 but the tourists kept picking up wickets at vital moments, debutant Corey Anderson bowled a strong final over to win the match.

After electing to bat first, New Zealand lost James Franklin early when he inside edged debutant Boyd Rankin (1-24) behind to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler for a duck. Rutherford and McCullum put on a blistering 114-run stand, Chris Woakes’ went for 19 runs in his first over including a huge six from Rutherford.

Bopara’s opening over was also very costly as went for 18 runs and Wright finally had Rutherford caught at deep mid-off in the 12th over leaving New Zealand on 116-2.

McCullum scored 68 from 48 balls, his innings featured seven fours and two sixes and he fell when Wright bowled him out with a swinging yorker.

From 161-3, Ross Taylor and youngster Tom Latham added another 39 runs inside the last four overs to take the Black Caps’ past 200 for the third time, however a positive for England was that they restricted them to only 45 in last five overs of the innings.

The England ballers proved to have very expensive figures, James Tredwell and Bopara’s two overs went for 32 runs but despite that Rankin impressed on his debut and Wright finished with (2-31).

Chasing 202 the England openers dug a strong foundation as Michael Lumb (29) and Alex Hales (39) brought up fifty in the fifth over.

After towering a huge six over mid-wicket, Lumb misplayed the ball as it hit his pads and rolled back onto the stumps.

A 55-run partnership from Hales and Wright put England well above the required run-rate as the 100 came up in the 11th over. Although Hales mis-hit Ronnie Hira’s (1-34) full toss to Franklin at deep mid-wicket, Wright continued his brutal hitting bringing up his half-century off 29 balls.

With England 132-3 after 13 overs they looked well on track for victory, before McCullum put in a slip which worked as Morgan (7) edged behind and Taylor took a stunning one handed catch and once Mitchell McClenaghan removed Wright England still needed another 63 from 30 balls.

Bopara and Buttler decreased the required runs to 26 from the final two overs and Buttler (1-35) scooped Butler for six at the start of the penultimate over.

Buttler was run out for 17 by Latham to leave England needing 16 in the last over bowled by Anderson, despite Ben Stokes first ball maximum and Bopara quick-fire innings of 30 from 19 balls wasn’t enough to take the men in red home.

The teams will now play on Thursday in the second T20 here at the Oval in a game which is a must-win for England as Kevin Pieterson will also be back in action.

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