Wicket-keeper batsman Jos Buttler and Joe Root cracked brilliant centuries to help England register a comfortable 210-run win over New Zealand in Birmingham. Batting first, the hosts posted a gigantic 408/9 in 50 overs, their first-ever total in excess of 400 in ODIs. The visitors were then bowled out for a paltry 198 in 31.1 overs, thanks to some disciplined bowling by Steven Finn and Adil Rashid who bagged 4 wickets each. England lead the 5-match series 1-0.
England off to a brisk start despite losing an early wicket
New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum won the toss and elected to field. Alex Hales and Jason Roy opened the batting for the new-look England side but the latter was sent back into the pavilion in the very first ball of the match by Trent Boult. Roy hit an outswinging delivery straight to Martin Guptill at backward point. Joe Root, in at no. 3 showed no signs of nervousness and found the middle of the bat every time he had a go at the ball. A quick 50-run stand between Root and Hales was put to an end by Boult who dismissed Hales (20) caught at deep backward square-leg.
Root sets tone with century, England poised for big total
At the end of the mandatory powerplay, England were 68/2. In came skipper Eoin Morgan and the left-handed batsman counter-attacked the opposition with fluent batting. Joe Root also batted flawlessly and displayed his range of shots during the course of his innings. The duo added 121 runs for the 3rd wicket and Morgan departed soon after a quickfire fifty. Root went on to bring up his 5th ODI hundred in just 71 balls and his century had laid a strong foundation for the batsmen to come. England then witnessed a mini-collapse where they lost 3 wickets in no time. Root (104) nicked one to the wicket-keeper off Trent Boult’s bowling and the left-arm seamer struck once again to get rid of Ben Stokes (10) who was clean bowled. Debutant Mitchell Santner trapped another debutant Sam Billings LBW to reduce the hosts to 202/6 from 171/2. As wickets kept tumbling, the English batsmen ensured that their run-rate did not dip. They surpassed the 200-run mark with a little under 20 overs still remaining.
Jos Buttler, Adil Rashid put up record stand to power England to 400
All-rounder Adil Rashid joined hands with Jos Buttler and the duo had the responsibility of leading England to a big score. The batsmen plundered runs, hitting fours and sixes at will and rotating the strike. Jos Buttler was the aggressor, as he scored boundaries in every over and raced to a 42-ball fifty in no time. The batting powerplay yielded 56 runs in just five overs and Jos Buttler already had his eyes on the 400-run milestone. He went berserk post his fifty and smashed Mitchell McClenaghan all over the park. Rashid at the other end was playing responsibly and brought up his fifty in just 37 balls.
It was the Jos Buttler show all the way and he got to his hundred in 66 balls. He now holds the record for the fastest and second fastest hundred by an English batsman in ODIs. The Birmingham crowd were up on their feet as the run-fest gained more momentum. Jos Buttler (129) and Rashid (69) added 177 runs in 17 overs, a new world-record for the highest 7th wicket partnership in ODIs. Sadly, they could not finish the innings by themselves but Liam Plunkett came in at no. 10 and blasted two sixes to take England to 408/9. A total of 14 sixes were hit in the innings and 5 of them were hit by Jos Buttler alone. Amidst the carnage, only Trent Boult managed to record decent bowling figures. He was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 10-0-55-4.
McCullum departs early, Guptill and Williamson steady the chase
Conceding 400 runs is a moral defeat in itself but New Zealand had the batting to chase 409 for victory. Skipper Brendon McCullum (10) charged down the track right from the beginning and scored consecutive boundaries off Steven Finn. He failed to connect for a third one and the ball crashed into the off-stump. Finn and the entire England unit were ecstatic as they knew the importance of the New Zealand skipper’s wicket. Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson however pulled things back with brilliant strokeplay and kept the required run-rate in check. Guptill (22) failed to capitalize on a good start as he edged one to Jos Buttler behind the stumps off Finn’s bowling, thus ending a 41-run partnership for the 2nd wicket.
Williamson, Taylor keep pace with run-rate; Rashid derails New Zealand
At the end of the batting powerplay, New Zealand made 70 runs for the loss of 2 wickets and were marginally ahead of England. Kane Williamson continued to play his shots while Ross Taylor played second fiddle by rotating the strike. The team hundred came in the 15th over itself and this partnership had started to look dangerous. Eoin Morgan introduced Adil Rashid into the attack and the leg-spinner got the breakthrough in his 2nd over. Williamson (45) hit a straighter delivery straight to Joe Root, who completed a good running catch at long-off.
Taylor departs after fighting knock, England bowlers clean up NZ for 198
Grant Elliott joined Ross Taylor in the middle and looked to pull New Zealand out of trouble. By this time, the required run-rate had escalated to 9 an over and the batsmen were finding it difficult to score boundaries. A fighting 66-run stand came to an end as Elliott was run out by Sam Billings in the 23rd over. Elliott’s dismissal triggered a major collapse as wickets fell like bowling pills. None of the middle order batsmen made noteworthy contributions and Taylor too departed after scoring a well-paced 57. The last six wickets fell within the space of just 13 runs and New Zealand were bowled out for 198 in 31.1 overs. Steven Finn and Adil Rashid finished with 4 wickets apiece and the new-look English side has certainly grabbed eyeballs. Jos Buttler was adjudged the man of the match for his 129 off 77 balls.
England 408 for 9 (Jos Buttler 129, Root 104, Rashid 69, Morgan 50, Boult 4-55) beat New Zealand 198 (Taylor 57, Finn 4-35, Rashid 4-55) by 210 runs.