New Zealand fight back to draw T20 series against England

England fail to build on Jonny Bairstow’s blistering 73 as New Zealand fight back to claim six-wicket victory and draw the T20 series 2-2

  • England convincingly beaten by six wickets by New Zealand in the fourth T20 
  • Jonny Bairstow thrashed 73 but England posted 175-8 having slipped from 105-1
  • Tourists always ahead of the rate and completed the chase with 16 balls to spare 

A resurgent New Zealand squared the T20 series in Nottingham on Tuesday night after England threw away a blistering innings by Jonny Bairstow.

At the scene of his Test heroics against the same opponents last summer – a performance that triggered the Bazball era under Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes – Bairstow thrashed 73 off 41 balls to give an England side captained by Moeen Ali in the absence of the rested Jos Buttler a red-hot start on a warm evening by the Trent.

But, from 105 for one in the 12th over, England subsided to 175 for seven, as one batsman after another came unstuck trying to hit New Zealand’s spinners out of the ground.

Dawid Malan and Liam Livingstone each made 26, but ate up 21 and 20 balls respectively as the innings lost momentum, heaping further pressure on both players as the selectors mull over who to leave out of their World Cup squad to make way for Harry Brook.

To make matters worse, Bairstow injured his right shoulder while batting. England insisted it was not serious, but Buttler was given permission by the New Zealanders to take the gloves as a substitute. So much for a night off.

Jonny Bairstow thrashed 73 off 41 balls to give England a red-hot start at Trent Bridge

England posted 175-8 having slipped from 105-1 in the 12th over on Tuesday night 

Brook himself made just four off eight balls before top-edging leg-spinner Ish Sodhi to deep square leg – one of six England wickets to fall to New Zealand’s slow bowlers. Between them, Sodhi, Santner and left-armer Rachin Ravindra took six for 68 from 10 overs, while the tourists’ three seamers managed one for 105.

With England’s team including as many as five spin options, it was clear where the chase would be won or lost, but by the time Moeen introduced a slow bowler – Adil Rashid – into the attack for the fifth over, New Zealand already had 50 on the board.

A brilliant piece of fielding on the deep cover boundary by Luke Wood ran out Daryl Mitchell with the total on 74, but first Tim Seifert, then Glenn Phillips, kept the tourists well ahead of the rate. Between them, they pummelled 90 runs from 57 balls and hit five sixes over Trent bridge’s short boundaries.

Both men fell during a mature spell of leg-spin from Rehan Ahmed, playing only his third T20 international, but a flurry of strokes from Mark Chapman meant victory came with six wickets and 16 balls to spare – the fourth one-sided encounter in a series which has ended 2–2.

But England’s senior spinners couldn’t support their younger team-mate – or match the success of their New Zealand counterparts. Rashid’s four overs cost 41, and Moeen went for 23 from 2.2. Livingstone’s allsorts weren’t used at all.

Meanwhile, ahead of Friday’s first ODI between these sides in Caridff, white-ball coach Matthew Mott has insisted Brook can still be drafted into England’s 15-man World Cup squad, and said ‘loyalty’ to familiar faces was one of the reasons behind Brook’s original omission. 

Tim Seifert provided a quick start with 48 from 32 balls as New Zealand cruised to victory

The tourists were always ahead of the rate and completed the chase with 16 balls to spare

‘Harry has not played a lot of one-day cricket,’ Mott told Sky Sports. ‘He’s done exceptionally well at Test and T20 cricket and in leagues around the world, but the guys we did pick have done a great job for England over the last couple of years. It’s always harder to get into sides than it is to get out of it.’

‘You can be too loyal, of course you can. But I find it hard when you look at that 15 to think anyone doesn’t deserve that spot. When you’re picking teams that are that strong, there’s always going to be a story.’

But Mott repeatedly stressed that England’s squad could still change. 

‘What I’ve been most impressed with is Harry’s response since missing out,’ he said. ‘That’s what great players do. There’s a lot to play out before we pick that first squad against New Zealand in India. Everyone will get a really good opportunity to show what they’ve got.’

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