WELLINGTON: Alex Hales produced a batting masterclass as England dominated New Zealand with both bat and ball to race to a 10-wicket win in the T20 series decider in Wellington yesterday.
Stung by a heavy loss in the second match in Hamilton on Tuesday, England bounced back to restrict New Zealand to 139 for eight after sending the home team into bat, with Stuart Broad and Jade Dernbach bagging three wickets apiece.
Hales and fellow opener Michael Lumb then dismantled the New Zealand attack to overhaul the 140-run target in just 12.4 overs in front of a stunned Wellington crowd.
Hales scored 80 off 42 balls, including four sixes and nine fours, while Lumb notched 53 off 34 deliveries, sending the ball onto the roof of Westpac Stadium to bring up the winning runs with his fifth six of the night.
Opener Martin Guptill (59) top-scored for New Zealand but the Black Caps struggled for runs and their bowlers allowed England to score at will, giving them no chance of defending their modest total.
“I’m delighted we could put on a display like that. The bowlers were fantastic then the batsman entertained,” Broad said. “We’ve played hard-fought cricket.” Despite admitting he was wrong to make the Black Caps bat first in Hamilton, Broad again elected to bowl after winning the toss, aware the chasing side has won all four previous T20 internationals at Westpac Stadium.
The gamble paid early dividends when he enticed Hamish Rutherford (11) into a pull shot with a short-pitched delivery in the fourth over which sailed to Dernbach in the field for an easy catch.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum and Guptill steadied the innings. But they struggled for runs before McCullum tried to break the shackles and was caught on 26 attempting to cart James Tredwell over the boundary.
Incoming batsman Ross Taylor managed the first six of the innings in the next over off the bowling of Joe Root before being caught out.
It capped a disappointing T20 series for Taylor, who has averaged less than eight in three innings since he returned to the international fold after being dropped as captain late last year.
With Grant Elliott (15) and Colin Munro (1) failing to produce, the pressure was on Guptill to play out a big innings for the Black Caps.
He managed 59 off 55 balls and looked threatening in the latter stages of the innings before Broad caught and bowled him for his third wicket.
Dernbach mopped up in the last over, dismissing Nathan McCullum for a golden duck and dismissing James Franklin for 15 with the final ball of the innings.
New Zealand’s disappointments continued in the field as Taylor and McCullum both missed difficult catches in the opening overs and the England batsmen punished lacklustre bowling.
Lumb swatted consecutive sixes off Mitchell McClenaghan, while Alex Hales took three fours as Ian Butler conceded 23 runs off his second over, including five wides and four leg byes.
It was then Hales’s turn to take the long handle to McClenaghan, taking three sixes and a four off one over as he brought up his half century in 34 balls.
With England scoring at will, New Zealand should have run out Lumb to gain a consolation wicket but McCullum missed the stumps and the Englishman went on to emphatically belt the ball out of the park for the win.
New Zealand will now look to regroup before the first one-day international in Hamilton tomorrow.