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Review: New Zealand v England (1st T20)

— 13 February 2018

Save some of that for summer, Kane!

Man-of-the-match Kane Williamson’s first fifty in 10 T20 international innings helped his New Zealand edge England in today’s T20 tri-series clash in Wellington, leaving England’s hopes of qualifying for the final against Australia hanging by a thread.

The Yorkshire overseas star, who is returning to Emerald Headingley this July to play in a minimum of eleven Vitality Blast clashes, top-scored with an excellent 72 as the BlackCaps posted 196-5 and won a pulsating clash by 12 runs.

Williamson hit four sixes and as many fours in a 46-ball assault, including an MS Dhoni style helicopter shot through mid-wicket for four.

Opener Martin Guptill laid the platform with 65 off 40 balls, and the pair shared 82 in nine overs for the second wicket.

Liam Plunkett returned to the England line-up following injury, and this was his first appearance of the series.

But the visitors were poor with the ball, displaying little consistency in line and length.

There was, however, the highlight of a stunning one-handed boundary catch from Chris Jordan at long-off to remove Colin de Grandhomme. It was Adil Rashid’s second wicket in two balls having removed Guptill caught at short fine-leg and left the hosts 121-3 in the 14th.

  • That was when Williamson took the innings on.

    By his own admission, Williamson has struggled of late in this format.

    His last three scores have been nought, nine and eight, and former New Zealand seamer Simon Doull had even questioned his place in the side.

    But Williamson showed his class and harnessed power and innovation here as he helped post the highest ever innings score at the Westpac Stadium, nicknamed the Cake Tin by the locals.

    His personal score was just one short of an international career best in this format, and this was his eighth fifty in all.

    Rashid’s 2-36 from four overs was the pick of England’s bowling figures.

    Jason Roy fell early in the chase, but Alex Hales was quickly into gear as England moved to 51-1 after five.

    Hales hit a quick fire 47, but he was the first of four wickets to fall for 50 as the score went from 79-1 to 129-5 in the 15th over.

    Dawid Malan continued his fine winter form with 59 off 40 balls, but it was too little, too late as the hosts set a target of 25 off the last over.

    Left-arm spinner Mitch Santner was excellent for his 2-29, while fellow spinner Ish Sodhi added two wickets alongside Trent Boult.

    England must now beat New Zealand in their final game on Sunday whilst hoping finalists Australia beat the Kiwis in the other game on Friday to have any hope of reaching next week’s final on net run-rate.