England have won the ANZ Twenty20 International Series after comfortably beating the BLACKCAPS by ten wickets in the deciding match at Westpac Stadium, Wellington.
Having dominated proceedings in the most recent encounter at Hamilton, the BLACKCAPS struggled after being put into bat by England and in the end only managed to post 139 for eight.
In reply England’s opening pair of Michael Lumb and Alex Hales put on a show, with Hales in particular showing aggression throughout the innings. Their partnership of 143 was a record breaking one for England and one which helped them claim the title in emphatic fashion.
A couple of missed opportunities in the field, albeit hard ones, cost the hosts dearly and once the opening duo had found their feet there was no respite for the Kiwis.
Hales blasted 80 from 42 deliveries, in an explosive innings which featured nine fours and four sixes. Lumb too was dynamic, with one four and five maximums. Their fireworks saw the match finish prematurely, with the winning runs coming after 12.4 overs.
Earlier, Martin Guptill had been forced to play an uncharacteristically subdued innings as he watched a steady stream of partners come and go at the top of the innings.
Brendon McCullum showed signs of his good with 26, but apart from cameos from Grant Elliot (15) and James Franklin (15), Guptill was the only one to make any real contribution.
The 26 year-old made a crucial 59 off 55 balls, in which he anchored the innings all the way through to the 19th over. While it didn’t feature the glitz and glam fans are used to seeing from Guptill, it did a much needed job for his team.
The English bowlers though were right at the top of their game and at no point did they allow the BLACKCAPS to seize the momentum. They took wickets at important times and took their catches, creating more and more pressure on the home side.
Stuart Broad was devastating with the ball, taking three for 15 from four overs. Jade Dernbach too snared three scalps, while James Tredwell and Joe Root took one apiece.
It was a fine all-round display by England and one that will be sure to give them confidence ahead of the first ODI on Sunday. For the BLACKCAPS they’ll be desperate to rebound and put this game behind them.