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Cricket news - Malan-Morgan batting frenzy helps England level series
McLean Park's modest ground dimensions notwithstanding, there was a lesson or two on approach and intent to learn for all the aspirants of next year's T20 WC title from the batting clinic that Dawid Malan and Eoin Morgan put up on Friday. Their whirlwind 178-run stand for the third wicket - off just 76 balls - powered England to their highest-ever T20I total - 241/3, which their bowlers defended comfortably. New Zealand started alright but fell away soon enough, as their attempts to clear the ground as frequently as Malan and Morgan didn't come to fruition. Almost as if the chase was happening on a ground with bigger dimensions, each of the top-six batters were out caught - five of them caught it in the deep. Tim Southee hit four of the nine sixes that came in the New Zealand innings but the hosts fell short by 76 runs in the end.
How good or bad was New Zealand's start with the ball?
It was actually very good.
Trent Boult got the ball to swing a bit early, and Mitchell Santner arrived to dismiss Jonny Bairstow first ball - the returning opener found the only fielder in the outfield on the leg side with a slog sweep. Banton and Malan attempted a swift move on, as evidenced by the 17-run sixth over from pacer Blair Tickner, but Santner returned after the PowerPlay overs and broke another stand. Banton, who was looking good with his strokeplay, fell while attempting a reverse sweep.
How did England's recovery come about?
Santner had conceded just five runs in his first two overs, but the coming together of two left-handers rendered the left-arm spinner a little ineffective, while Tickner continued to endure a horrendous evening. 20 came off Santner's third over - in the 11th - forcing Southee to bring back his trump card - Trent Boult - as early as the 12th over.
Malan's big frame gave him an advantage whenever he played on the front foot - almost every big hit, well connected or otherwise, would sail over the fence - while Morgan kept shuffling across the stumps and targeting the mid-wicket and long on fence. He also cleared his front foot for extra bit of room every time the New Zealand quicks bowled full. When Southee returned for his third over, England were scoring at 10-an-over and had two batters batting on 46 off 30 and 42 off 19.
Even the captain, who tried to mix it up by unfurling the knuckle ball every now and then, wasn't spared. Morgan's mistimed swipes at slower ones ended up past the boundary line as both the batters raced away to their respective fifties - Malan off 31 balls, Morgan off 21 balls.
New Zealand also suffered through the ineffectiveness of their leggie - Ish Sodhi - who finished with figures of 0 for 49 in 3 overs, 28 off those coming in a single over when Malan went 6,4,6,4, 6 and 2. In the 18th over, Malan reached his maiden T20I century - off 48 balls - while England zoomed past the 200-run mark. There was a 100 for the taking for the England skipper too after he went after Daryll Mitchell in the penultimate over - smashing three sixes and a four. Morgan missed the milestone by nine runs as he couldn't get fully under a low full toss from Southee in the final over, getting caught at deep extra cover.
New Zealand knew what they needed. Did they start well?
Yes and no.
Martin Guptill and Colin Munro smashed 49 off the first four overs, ripping Sam Curran and Chris Jordan to shreds in an 18-run and 15-run over. But where New Zealand couldn't replicate England was putting everything into a shot even on deliveries that weren't there to be hit. Guptill got caught at mid-wicket when he couldn't put away a low full toss, giving Tom Curran an early wicket.
Tim Seifert was foxed by an interesting slower ball from Jordan, which looked like seam up on first view, but travelled a lot slower than the No.3 batsman anticipated. He tried to tuck it away on the leg side, but the ball flew off the leading edge and Malan completed a simple catch.
New Zealand still scored 10-an-over in the PowerPlay. How did they lose their way?
In the period between the sixth and the 10th over, as every second attempt at a big hit found a deep fielder. New Zealand went from 61 for 2 in 6 overs to 91 for 6 in 10.
How good was Matt Parkinson?
He had a regulation catch dropped off his bowling and an LBW appeal wrongly turned down and not reviewed, and still finished with a four-fer. On a bowlers' graveyard, the 23-year-old showed courage against batters only looking to go aerial. He tossed one up in his first over that Colin de Grandhomme smashed into the stands down the ground.
Parkinson followed it up with a delivery that was given a little more air, luring the No.4 batsman to attempt another big hit. De Grandhomme opted to go leg side, and towards the longest side of the ground, which ended with another dismissal. Parkinson then bowled a googly to the left-handed Munro, and got him to sweep against the turn and perish.
Daryl Mitchell's attempt to go big against the spinner didn't yield the desired results either, while the leggie also drove the final nail in New Zealand's coffin by trapping Southee leg before.
Brief Scores: England 241/3 in 20 overs (Dawid Malan 103*, Eoin Morgan 91; Mitchell Santner 2-32) beat New Zealand 165 in 16.5 overs (Tim Southee 39; Matt Parkinson 4-47) by 76 runs
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