After England’s dominant performance in Christchurch two days earlier the two teams went on to Wellington. The Westpac stadium which is primarily used for Rugby was the venue and because of its regular day job the square boundary’s either side are much shorter than the straight ones. Under blue skies Eoin Morgan won the toss and elected to bowl again where he announced of England’s slight change in personal by bringing in Lancashire’s Saqib Mahmood for Tom Curran.
With New Zealand batting first again they were very aware that a much more positive start was needed. Despite Sam Curran’s opening economic couple of over’s Martin Guptill did manage to find some much needed form for himself by targeting the smaller square boundaries with three fours and two sixes.
Morgan changed his thinking from the first match and made a change after two Curran over’s as in Christchurch his third took some punishment. At the other end the swift Mahmood on debut had gone for a few runs but did manage to claim his first wicket in getting Seifert caught behind. Rashid’s experience proved invalid as he gave one a bit of extra flight that Guptill couldn’t resist but only managed to spoon it to Vince on the boundary.
The general theme of the innings was New Zealand batsman getting starts but England every so often putting the squeeze on and forcing mistakes from the Kiwi batsmen. There was a nice moment when Lewis Gregory who had a fresh air match on debut in Christchurch bowled Colin De Grandhomme with his first delivery in international cricket.
Despite the good bowling performance there were however serious concerns for the tourists about their fielding on this tour so far. Today they dropped four with a couple from Vince and one from Malan that was very catchable. In the end some wonderful death bowling from Jordan restricted New Zealand to 176-8 which felt like just short of par.
A good start therefore was required, and that’s exactly what they got in their captain Southee’s first over when Bairstow chipped one up to Mitchell. Vince quickly followed and the game was on for the hosts. Captain Morgan steadied the ship by taking on Feguson with the short boundaries however he misjudged a slower one from Santner and was caught half way back.
With middle order wickets falling Dawid Malan looked to put England back on the front foot with some lusty blows including hitting Jimmy Neesham out of the stadium. Malan’s luck ran out however and Curran soon followed him back and England’s lower order looked a little depleted with Jordan coming in at eight. Santner was all over Jordan as he began to join up the dots for the hosts. The 14th over though definitely went England’s way as Jordan hit three sixes and took Sodhi’s over for 24.
Jordan was looking for the shorter boundaries deliberately unlike his teammates but in the end he slightly mishit one of Santner and was caught at long on. The game felt gone at that point and England was left to think about the areas of the ground they looked to score from. Far too many batsmen were caught at long on or off for a ground of this size.
The batting line up looked a little short to so you would have thought Tom Banton will come in for his debut to sure things up in that department. England’s biggest issue though by far is their fielding which they will have to improve. For New Zealand though they will be pleased to bounce back from such a poor performance in the first match and some excellent bowling and fielding assured them the victory.
New Zealand won by 21 runs
Man of the match Mitchell Santner