New Zealand beat England by five runs


ENGLAND just fell short in the first of two Twenty20 (T20) cricket Internationals against New Zealand with the Kiwis pulling off a five run victory at the Kia Oval.

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The tourists compiled 201-4, their highest total on foreign soil, and it proved too much for Eoin Morgan’s side despite a brave run-chase.

Luke Wright made 52, but the Black Caps picked up wickets at vital moments after half-centuries from a Rutherford (62) and Brendon McCullum (68) set up the win.

Ravi Bopara (30 not out) was left needing a six off the final ball to take the game into a super over, but could only clip it to deep square leg.

He had carried the baton after Michael Lumb (29) and Alex Hales (39) set a solid foundation with 50 from 28 balls. The former then jammed the ball into his pads and onto the stumps before Hales ensured his side were 13 runs ahead of their rivals after the first six over powerplay.

Although Hales mis-hit a Ronnie Hira full-toss down the throat of deep mid-wicket it was Wright who loomed as the key man as he reached 50 off 29 balls.

With New Zealand starting to need wickets McCullum bravely inserted a slip to Morgan (7) who duly edged to Ross Taylor, and, when Wright followed caught behind, England suddenly needed 63 from the last five overs.

Bopara and Jos Buttler reduced the ask to 26 from the last two overs, which further decreased when Buttler scooped Butler for six to start the penultimate over.

But he was then run out by wicket-keeper Tom Latham to leave 16 needed from the final over from Corey Anderson, and although Ben Stokes hit the first ball for six Bopara was unable to repeat the dose.