Generated with Avocode. Generated with Avocode.
7th February 2008


Employing the tactics that served them so well in Auckland on Tuesday to even greater effect, they set a daunting target of 194 before strangling New Zealand in the field.

The hosts managed just 143 for eight, slipping to as heavy a defeat as you are likely to see in the shortest form of the game as England warmed up in fine style for the one-day series which starts on Saturday.

If Phil Mustard and Luke Wright provided the early impetus with an opening stand of 65 in under six overs, Paul Collingwood and Owais Shah’s record 102-run partnership for the fifth wicket was the feature of an often brutal England innings.

Collingwood blazed 54 off just 28 balls while Shah hit 47 off 35, serving to wrest the momentum back from New Zealand after the loss of four wickets in the space of 16 deliveries at the AMI Stadium.

Only once have England scored more in Twenty20 internationals, but one suspects a disciplined display with the ball – again featuring leading roles from Ryan Sidebottom and Dimitri Mascarenhas – will be a source of equal pleasure to the coaching staff.

Sidebottom followed up his three-wicket haul at Eden Park with figures of 2-19, while Mascarenhas took 2-24 and Graeme Swann 2-30 against a New Zealand side lacking anything resembling a coherent game plan.

There was little in the first over of the England innings, bowled by Kyle Mills and costing just two runs, to suggest the carnage that was to follow.

Mustard hit a six in both subsequent overs, top-edging Chris Martin over third man and drilling Mills over long-off, but Paul Hitchcock came in for the harshest punishment.

His first ball back in international cricket after a four-year absence was despatched over his head for six by Mustard, and Wright dished out similar treatment later in the over, which also contained two fours and went for 22 in total.

The loss of a wicket in each of the next four overs checked England’s momentum as they slipped to 76 for four, a mini-collapse sparked by Wright’s departure for 30 off 19 deliveries.

He was yorked by Martin making room, and Kevin Pietersen was trapped in front by a Tim Southee full toss as he attempted to work the ball to leg.

Hesitancy as he went in search of a single to mid-on saw Ian Bell run out by Jesse Ryder’s direct hit, and Southee’s removal of Mustard – caught at long-on for 40 off 24 deliveries – further lifted New Zealand spirits.

Collingwood and Shah restored the balance of power emphatically as they embarked on a stand of 102 – England’s highest in Twenty20 cricket – the captain displaying his fondness of the leg side en route to a savage 24-ball half-century which included five fours and three sixes.

Scott Styris and Southee were both struck for six and four off successive deliveries, although Shah’s paddle-sweep of Ryder’s medium-pace, which almost cleared the fine-leg rope on the full, proved England’s approach was not based solely on power.

Shah was fortunate to see Brendon McCullum fluff a stumping chance later in the over, and Peter Fulton stepped over the midwicket boundary after catching a powerful pull immediately before Shah drilled Hitchcock to Ross Taylor at long-off.

Collingwood departed next ball courtesy of a mistimed mow, but the prospect of being the third victim in a hat-trick mattered little to Mascarenhas, who contrived to hit Hitchcock over backward point for six.

Ryder’s fine throw from deep cover accounted for Mascarenhas, and Stuart Broad was hurried into a pull by Mills as New Zealand ended the innings with two wickets in as many balls.

The Black Caps, as they did in Auckland, lost two early wickets in reply, Ryder’s expansive drive providing Shah with a steepling catch at cover and Sidebottom bowling McCullum via an inside edge.

Taylor’s belligerent 21 contained two sixes over midwicket – the second the biggest of the evening off Broad – but the pace bowler struck back straight away to have him taken by a back-pedalling Bell at cover as he stepped away to cut.

Mascarenhas’ slower ball did for Styris, while Jamie How, walking across his stumps, was bowled round his legs for 31, the highest score of the innings.

Those wickets sandwiched the dismissal of Fulton, caught at deep backward square-leg sweeping Swann, who tempted debutant Daniel Flynn into driving to a juggling Wright at deep cover in his next over.

That left New Zealand 94 for seven, but it said much for England’s almost total dominance that any doubt over the identity of the winners of this match had long since been banished.

Mills’ late hitting proved immaterial, and Sidebottom capped a hugely impressive display on an individual and team level by uprooting Hitchcock’s middle stump.