29 September 2012

England Keep World T20 Hopes Alive With Comfortable Win Over New Zealand

England produced a much-improved performance to keep their World T20 title defence alive with a comfortable six wicket win over New Zealand. Set 149 to win from their 20 overs they cruised home with seven balls to spare, Luke Wright smashing 76 from just 43 balls.

England looked a vastly superior side to the one that was out-played by the West Indies on Thursday with all sections of their game functioning at it's top level. The bowling and fielding performance was unrecognisable from the one that saw Gayle and Charles take them apart, Steven Finn the star performer with magnificent figures of 3-16 from his four overs. 

It was Finn who made the early inroads that immediately put the Black Caps on the back foot as he claimed the big scalps of Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum to leave them 20-2. Guptill was trapped in front plumb L.B.W for just five, before McCullum fell after being caught by Wright for only 10. 

Kane Williamson (17) and Ross Taylor (22) gradually brought the Kiwis back into the game, but the run-rate was painfully slow before James Franklin hammered 50 off just 33 balls to drag them back into the match and set a challenging total of 148-6. 

England started slowly as Craig Kieswetter once again struggled to find his timing and was eventually bowled by Daniel Vettori for four from 14 balls. Alex Hales batted fluently for his 22 but it was Luke Wright who did  most of the damage as he hit five huge sixes in his destructive innings of 76. Eoin Morgan played a typically mature innings alongside him as they put on 89 for the third wicket to bring England within 22 runs of victory.

Morgan fell to a stunning catch by Doug Bracewell before Luke Wright's knock came to an end when he skied a ball from the fast bowler and was caught by Ross Taylor. However by then the result was not in doubt and when Yorkshire batsman Jonny Bairstow pulled his first ball for four England needed just three runs from nine balls. 

Stuart Broad and coach Andy Flower will be very pleased with their team's efforts today, but will know that nothing other than a win will do in their final group game against Sri Lanka if they are to hold any hope of defending their world title. Broad echoed these thoughts when he said: "It was really important for us to get a win, Steven Finn set the tone with the new ball and then Luke Wright and Eoin Morgan batted beautifully. We've got a big game on Monday, we've still got areas to improve and we'll take the positives."

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