Nepal | September 18, 2020

England beats New Zealand by 7 wickets in first T20

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CHRISTCHURCH: England kept up its recent sporting superiority over New Zealand with a seven-wicket win Friday in the first of five Twenty20 internationals.

James Vince of England bats during the T20 cricket game against New Zealand at Hagley Oval, in Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday November 1, 2019. Photo: AP

James Vince struck 59 from 38 balls, his maiden T20 half century, as England (154-3) ran down New Zealand’s inadequate total of 153-5 with nine balls to spare.

Jonny Bairstow launched England’s successful run chase with 35 from 28 balls at the top of the order and captain Eion Morgan supported Vince, hitting an unbeaten 34 from 21 deliveries including a six off New Zealand captain Tim Southee for the winning runs.

“It’s nice from a personal point of view to make a contribution, more importantly to get the tour off to a winning start,” said Vince who was Man of the Match.

“I thought the bowlers were outstanding in the first half and about halfway it felt comfortable chasing that total down. It was a decent wicket, maybe lacking a bit of pace as the ball got older. But the outfield was fast and the wind helped with some of the boundaries.”

The teams were meeting for the first time since July when England beat New Zealand on a count back of boundaries in the final of the ICC World Cup after the scores were tied after 100 overs and a tie-breaker Super Over.

Only last weekend England beat New Zealand 19-7 in the semifinals of the Rugby World Cup, denying the All Blacks a third consecutive world championship.

England’s team for the current five-match series is under-strength, lacking as many as seven front line players. Its lineup on Friday included three players — Sam Curran, Lewis Gregory and Pat Brown — making their T20 international debuts.

They were still to good for New Zealand, which was without its captain Kane Williamson and principal fast bowler Trent Boult, but still entered the match as marginal favorite.

England won the toss and chose to bowl on a pitch at Hagley Oval which was slower than it appeared. The English bowlers made effective use of length and slower deliveries to make scoring difficult for New Zealand’s top order.

Brothers Sam and Tom Curran set the tone with the new ball, regularly using slow balls to tie down New Zealand’s hard-hitting openers Colin Munro and Martin Guptill.

Gutpill was out early, dragging a delivery from Sam Curran onto his stumps and Munro, who made a century against England in a warm-up match, fell for 21.

Tim Seifert made 32 from 26 balls before hitting a waist-high full toss from Chris Jordan to Bairstow. New Zealand wasn’t able to find a productive partnership until near the end of its inning when Ross Taylor, who made 44 from 35 balls, and Daryl Mitchell, who ended 30 not out, combined to add 56.

The second match of the series is at Wellington on Sunday.

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