Sorry England succumb to Black Caps

Published: Friday 20th February 2015 by The News Editor

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England were dealt a second chastening defeat to begin their World Cup campaign as New Zealand powerfully cast them aside by eight wickets in Wellington.

Eoin Morgan’s side were left humiliated as they were skittled for a paltry 123 – England’s lowest World Cup total on foreign soil – before Brendon McCullum’s 18-ball half-century swept New Zealand to the target in just 12.2 overs and before the Wellington Regional Stadium lights were even required.

Tim Southee’s vintage display of swing bowling set the stage for McCullum’s ferocious hitting as he first brought England to their knees with seven for 33, the best figures by a New Zealand bowler in one-day internationals.

McCullum then crashed 77 in 25 balls, at one point belting Steven Finn for four successive sixes as his two overs cost 49, to leave England completely awestruck and scrambling to pick up the pieces of another heavy reverse after Australia handed them a 111-run defeat to start the World Cup.

England will barely have time to catch their breath before they meet Scotland in Christchurch on Monday with the weight of pressure now squarely on their shoulders against an Associate nation they will still be expected to beat.

Morgan had opted to bat under cloudless skies but England’s woeful record at the venue – they were bowled out for 89 and 130 on their previous two ODI visits – was to continue as they lost their final seven wickets for just 19 runs.

Joe Root was the lone England batsman to supply any worthwhile resistance with 46, while skipper Morgan unconvincingly ended his run of outs with 17 from 41 balls. But England have now been bowled out in 13 of their past 19 ODIs.

Openers Ian Bell and Moeen Ali were both undone by two excellent Southee deliveries.

Bell was bowled driving to a ball that faded away just enough to take the top of off stump before a slightly slow-footed Moeen was undone by a perfectly-aimed inswinging yorker.

McCullum had already been enthused enough to employ four slips and England concerned themselves simply with survival against the moving ball.

Gary Ballance survived a close lbw review before he tamely toe-ended a pull off Trent Boult to Kane Williamson at short cover. Out-of-form skipper Morgan was therefore sent out with his team in trouble at 57 for three.

He was able to guide away his first run in six innings – and since he made two against Australia on January 30 – off Daniel Vettori before dutifully digging in alongside Root in a 47-run stand.

But when Morgan tried to open his shoulders for the first time off Vettori he fell victim to a superb diving Adam Milne catch on the long-on rope.

McCullum sensed his chance to make a decisive move and brought back Southee to devastating effect as he snared five more wickets in 20 balls.

James Taylor was bowled by another superb outswinger, which clipped his off stump before he had scored. In Southee’s next over Jos Buttler wafted at a ball that left him before Chris Woakes became the fourth batsmen to be bowled by the right-armer when he defended down the wrong line.

England’s tail dissolved under the pressure as Stuart Broad stepped away to leg and got a leading edge to Vettori at mid-on before Finn nicked to Ross Taylor at first slip.

By that stage the home crowd were chanting Southee’s name – his figures were the third best in World Cup history – and England’s meek surrender was finalised when Root top-edged a pull at Milne and was held by Vettori at fine-leg.

England’s only comfort was that New Zealand struggled to chase down a similarly low total in their win over Scotland in midweek.

McCullum ensured that was never an issue as he crashed eight fours and seven sixes in a devastating display of hitting.

His first maximum came from the first Broad ball he faced, slapping him over the point fence, as he confirmed his intentions by taking 18 from the over.

Broad was promptly replaced by Finn, who conceded a pair of maximums, in an over costing 20 and England were in danger of suffering the indignity of losing before the schedule innings break.

Finn then saw four sixes race off McCullum’s bat, as the right-armer’s two overs cost 49, and New Zealand’s hundred came up in just 40 balls.

McCullum was on track to test AB de Villiers’ recently-set record for the fastest ODI century, from 31 balls, until he missed a swipe at Woakes’ first delivery.

New Zealand needed just 12 when the break was taken, much to the disgust of the home fans who by that stage were baying for a quick kill.

Woakes bowled Martin Guptill with the third ball after the restart but the Black Caps’ third win in as many games to start the tournament was confirmed when a Broad bouncer slipped through Buttler’s gloves and to the rope.

Published: Friday 20th February 2015 by The News Editor

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