England keep T20 hopes alive
A brilliant innings of 76 from just 43 balls from Luke Wright kept England’s hopes alive in the World T20 as they handed New Zealand a convincing six-wicket hiding in their second Super Eight game at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on Saturday.
Full Scorecard: England v New Zealand
Wright shared a match-winning, third wicket stand of 89 with Irishman Eoin Morgan who contributed a more sedate 30 from 31 balls as England chased down their victory target of 149 with seven balls to spare.
Craig Kieswetter continued his nightmare tournament with four from 14 balls before Daniel Vettori ended his agony, and fellow opener Alex Hales was also bowled by a spinner, Nathan McCullum, although at least his 22 runs came from just 15 balls.
But that merely brought Morgan in to join Wright and the match was quickly and decisively dragged England’s way.
Both men were dismissed before the close but by then the match was all but won and lost.
This video is not available in your region
The result almost certainly ends New Zealand’s interest in the tournament while England may still have to beat the Sri Lankans in front of their boisterously enthusiastic fans to make the semifinals.
New Zealand chose to bat first and James Franklin led a spirited recovery batting at No 6 with a half century from just 33 balls with four boundaries and a pair of sixes which enabled the Black Caps to post a competitive score after limping to 67-4 in the 12th over.
The left-hander had a couple of disagreements with Australian umpire Simon Taufel – set to retire after the tournament – when a bouncer comfortably cleared his head and a Stuart Broad delivery in the final over went a long way down the leg side.
Neither delivery was called ‘wide’ and replays suggested the batsman had every reason to be upset on both counts.
Even more frustrating for Franklin was the boundary and three further runs which were disallowed following the call of ‘dead ball’ on the three occasions when Finn dislodged the bails with his trailing leg during his delivery stride.
Nonetheless, Franklin’s frustrations might more accurately have been aimed at the rest of the top order, none of whom were able to offer him the support he needed to build a significant partnership.
ENGLAND: C Kieswetter (wk), AD Hales, LJ Wright, EJG Morgan, JM Bairstow, JC Buttler, TT Bresnan, SCJ Broad (capt), GP Swann, DR Briggs, ST Finn
NEW ZEALAND: MJ Guptill, JEC Franklin, BB McCullum (wk), LRPL Taylor (capt), RJ Nicol, DL Vettori, DAJ Bracewell, KS Williamson, NL McCullum, TG Southee, KD Mills