England ease to seven-wicket win in T20 opener against New Zealand
England got their Vitality T20 International series off to a winning start after beating New Zealand by seven wickets in the first game at Chester-le-Street.
In their first 20-over contest since the whitewash defeat to Bangladesh in March, England got off to a flying start, taking three wickets in the powerplay.
Glenn Phillips top-scored for the visitors with 41 off 38 before falling to Luke Wood, who finished with three wickets alongside Durham quick Brydon Carse.
Although Jonny Bairstow was dismissed early on, Dawid Malan’s 54 off 42 balls put England in the driving seat along with Harry Brook’s unbeaten 43 off 27 balls, giving the hosts the advantage going into the second T20 at Old Trafford on Friday.
Despite being given an early scare when Finn Allen smashed three consecutive sixes off the first over, a change of ends in the fourth helped Wood kick off a dominant powerplay for England.
The Lancashire bowler took the first wicket of the evening as Devon Conway feathered behind to Jos Buttler and more wickets tumbled when Carse resumed from the Finchale End to earn his first T20 international scalp for England after clean-bowling Allen.
Wood struck again to send Tim Seifert’s bails flying as New Zealand were suddenly 38 for three after six overs.
Their woes continued when Moeen Ali clipped Mark Chapman’s off-stump in the eighth over but Phillips and Daryl Mitchell tried to regain control with some good running to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
Liam Livingstone ended the partnership, however, tempting Mitchell into looping the ball to long-off aiming for a six, but Brook was on the boundary to comfortably catch.
Phillips was the dominant batter at the crease looking to keep his foot on the gas, but he was beginning to run out of partners when Mitchell Santner sliced the ball straight to Wood off Adil Rashid.
Wood’s return in the 17th over saw Phillips eventually fall for 41 after Sam Curran made an excellent dive to his left.
Carse was handed the ball for the final over and ended Ish Sodhi and Adam Milne’s quickfire 26-run partnership, taking both of their wickets to finish with figures of three for 23.
Set 140 to chase, Bairstow opened the batting, smashing four off Tim Southee, but was caught out by the Black Caps captain as he edged to Mitchell at slip.
Aiming to capitalise on their positive start, Milne and Southee restricted England to singles but the introduction of Lockie Ferguson saw Will Jacks suddenly tee off, smashing back-to-back fours before thumping one into the stands for six.
Not to be outdone, Malan put away three consecutive fours off Santner and some more tidy running brought England to 61 for one at the end of the powerplay.
Sodhi struck in the seventh over when Jacks appeared to accidentally clip the ball with his bat twice allowing Allen to comfortably catch, but Malan instantly responded by belting a huge six over an outstretched Chapman at deep midwicket.
Not letting his omission from the provisional 50-over World Cup squad phase him, Brook dispatched two successive Sodhi deliveries into the stands and just after England reached the 100-run mark, Malan fired another ball into the crowd to bring up his 50.
Ferguson soon ended Malan’s heavy hitting with Mitchell catching the batter at mid-on, but Brook continued to put runs on the board before Livingstone put the game to bed in style with a huge six with 36 balls to spare.
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