Wellington:New Zealand defeated England by 21 runs to level five-match T20 series at 1-1, here at Wellington's Westpac Stadium on Sunday. Riding on right-hand batsman Martin Guptill's 41 off 28 balls and all-rounder James Neesham's 42 off 22 balls, the home side scored 176 in stipulated 20 overs before bowling England out for 155 runs in 19.5 overs.
Earlier in the day, England won the toss and put the host to bat first. Guptill and Colin Munro who came to open the innings put 23 runs on scoreboard for the opening stand in 2.4 overs. But soon Munro was trapped by left-arm bowler Sam Curran for just seven runs.
Munro was succeded by wicket-keeper Tim Seifert who added 34 runs for the second wicket. He was caught by Sam Billings off Saqib Mahmood for 16 runs in the seventh over. At one point in time, Kiwis were 96-3 in 10 overs, eyeing a big total, however, Colin de Grandhomme (28), Ross Taylor (28) and Mitchell (5) were unable to play big innings.
Skipper Tim Southe (4) and Neesham stitched together a crucial 25 runs off 11 balls for the eight wicket, helping the host score 176 runs in 20 overs. Chris Jordan was the most successful England bowler, returning with the figure of 3/23 in four overs, while Curran took 2/22 in his four over quota.
In reply, the visitors got off to a bad start as Southee and his new-ball partner right-arm pacer Lockie Ferguson ripped through the England top order to leave them at 3/2 in the second over.
English team captain Eion Morgan and Dawid Malan stitched together a 37 runs partnership for the third wicket. Left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner dismissed left-handed Morgan for 32 off 17 balls, his innings was studded with three fours and as much sixes.
After the dismissal of their captain, England kept losing their wickets at regular intervals and were reduced to 93/6 in 11.3 overs. However, Chris Jordan's blitz kept England in the hunt. In the last five overs, the visitors required 49 runs.
In the 16th over, Jordan (36 off 19 with 3 fours, 3 sixes) was removed by Santner in the form of seventh wicket to end all hopes of the visitors.England's last three batsmen could add only 21 runs in the tally. Santner took three wickets (25/3) in his quota, while Black Caps skipper Southe took two wickets ( 2/25) off his four overs. The third match of the series will be played at Nelson on Tuesday, November 5.(UNI)