Brisbane: England rode on fifties from Jos Buttler and Alex Hales, and a superb bowling effort by Sam Curran to register a clinical 20-run win over New Zealand in their Super 12 encounter of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at the Gabba here on Tuesday.
With this win, England have now displaced Australia from the second position in Group 1 on account of better NRR. New Zealand, however, is still sitting at the top of the group as their NRR of +2.233 is far superior than that of England and Australia.
Buttler made a cautious start to his innings, going at just about a run-a-ball for the first-half, with Hales going on the charge from the other end. The England openers built a stand of 81 runs, with Hales doing the bulk of the scoring. The partnership came to an end when Hales got stumped by Devon Conway off Mitchell Santner’s bowling for a well-made 52 from 40 deliveries.
But the England skipper carried on and continued to anchor their innings. He started accelerating with around six overs remaining and that’s when things went a bit out of control for New Zealand. Buttler also got dropped once before reaching his fifty and that only increased the miseries for the Kiwis. Buttler hit seven fours and two sixes in his 47-ball knock of 73.
He was finally dismissed by a superb effort from Tim Southee and Kane Williamson in the penultimate over of the innings while trying to sneak a run. But he had already done the job for England by then and the lower middle-order played its part to take their total to 179/6.
The 24-year-old stepped up with a brilliant spell once again. Curran bowled two overs up front and as many overs at the death, and he was equally brilliant in both phases. The left-arm pacer picked up the important wicket of Finn Allen inside the powerplay and then came back at the death to dismiss Glenn Phillips, who was threatening to take the game away from England. Curran ended his spell with brilliant figures of 4-0-26-2.
The middle-order batter rescued New Zealand with a brilliant century in the game against Sri Lanka and he looked all set to guide the Kiwis home in this contest against England as well.
After New Zealand lost two wickets early in their innings, Phillips walked in and stamped his authority with some brilliant shots. He played the aggressor in his 91-run stand with Williamson and then batted until the 18th over to get the Kiwis as close to the target as possible.
But he perished finally for an excellent knock of 62 from 36 deliveries while attempting to clear the straight boundary off Curran’s bowling. New Zealand didn’t get any impetus in their innings after his dismissal and fell short by 20 runs.
Brief scores: England 179/5 in 20 overs (Jos Buttler 73, Alex Hales 52; Lockie Ferguson 2-45) beat New Zealand 159/6 in 20 overs (Glenn Phillips 62, Kane Williamson 40; Sam Curran 2-26, Chris Woakes 2-33) by 20 runs.