A super display on the field and then a clinical finishing job with the bat gave England a dominant six-wicket victory over New Zealand in the second of five one-day internationals, played on Wednesday, 28 February at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui.
Asked to bat first, New Zealand – led by Tim Southee in the absence of Kane Williamson, who had a hamstring niggle – slipped to 9/2 quickly, and kept losing wickets to be at a tricky 147/8 before recovering through Mitchell Santner’s efforts to get to 223 in 49.4 overs. It looked competitive, but with Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes slamming half-centuries, England got past the target comfortably enough, getting to 225/4 with 73 balls left.
England’s innings began shakily too as they lost Jason Roy and Joe Root to Trent Boult (2/46) for single-digit scores to be at 47/2 by the 10th over. But Jonny Bairstow was going well, and with Morgan settling down quickly, the scoring didn’t flag. Bairstow fell in the 16th over after scoring a 39-ball 37, with five fours and a six, to leave England at 86/3 but if the home side felt that gave them a shot, Morgan and Stokes quickly put paid to any such hope.
The two batted together for just over 15 overs and took the total past 170. Stokes was by far the more dominant partner, but Morgan played his part well as the two found the boundary often enough to make sure New Zealand never really got a look in. Morgan had added 33 runs to Stokes’s 48 for the 88-run partnership when New Zealand found success for the fourth time on the day, Colin Munro’s slower delivery coming right back to him as Morgan attempted a cut that just didn’t come off. Morgan scored 62 from 63 balls with four fours and three sixes.
That made it 174/4 but with just under 20 overs left and only 50 runs left to get, New Zealand needed a miracle. Instead, Jos Buttler walked in all swinging, and Stokes and he got the runs with one ball to go in the 38th over, making it a comprehensive win for England.
By the time the target was breached, Stokes remained unbeaten on 63 from 74 balls, with seven fours and a six, while Buttler, in next to no time, had reached 36 from 20 balls, with two fours and three sixes.
Earlier, incisive English bowling and fielding, and Santner’s runs towards the close were the highlights of the New Zealand innings.
Chris Woakes (2/42) had New Zealand two down with only nine runs on the board early on. He first got Munro to nick one on the waft outside off stump through to the wicket-keeper and then got Mark Chapman to pull awkwardly to David Willey at mid-wicket.
It was an excellent effort from Willey to run back from his position and grab the catch, and he did even better soon after when he dived to stop a Ross Taylor cut at point – as the batsman strolled out thinking about a run, he sent in a rocket throw to Buttler that Taylor, despite putting in a dive, couldn’t beat.
All along, Martin Guptill went well and got to his half-century. But he holed out to Roy off Moeen Ali just three balls later when Roy took a sharp catch off the slog sweep. Guptill hit 50 off 87 balls, with seven hits to the boundary.
Wickets continued to fall, Henry Nicholls sent back by another good catch by Roy off Stokes at point and Tom Latham then top-edging a cut to Tom Curran at short third man off Ali. That left New Zealand at 108/6 from 30 overs, and it looked like they were down for the count, looking at a total of 180 or thereabouts.
Colin de Grandhomme, however, had settled in by then and once Santner came in, the tide turned a bit. The two added 33 together to revive things somewhat before a brilliant throw from deep square-leg by Bairstow caught de Grandhomme short and sent him back for a 40-ball 38, scored with four fours and a six.
Southee fell just six runs later to leave New Zealand at 147/8 and even 180 was looking far away at that stage. But Santner, like he had in taking his team over the line in the first game, took off just around then. Lockie Ferguson, the No.10, was a willing ally, and the two – Santner in the main – scored quickly, the 19-run over off Curran, the 48th of the innings, taking the total past 200.
Ferguson fell for a 38-ball 19 to Stokes in the next over and the innings was over with two balls left when Boult became fourth player to be run out – Southee was the third – and Santner was left unbeaten on 63 from 52 balls, with six fours and a six.
The series will now move to Wellington’s Westpac Stadium for the third fixture, to be played on Saturday, 3 March.