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After England was pegged back in Wellington the two teams headed back to New Zealand’s South Island and to the city of Nelson. Under snow sprinkled mountains Matt Parkinson and Tom Banton both made their internationals debuts as England rang the changes once more.
Continuing the theme of the series New Zealand batted first and instantly showed more aggression up top then at any other point of the first two matches. Martin Guptill especially capitalised on some generous leg sided bowling with seven fours of just seventeen deliveries.
On debut Matt Parkinson looked very impressive and managed to dismiss Seifert in his first over. It was surprising to see by the end of the innings that the man from Lancashire had only bowled two overs. De Grandhomme locked horns in an absorbing battle with the leg-spinner as Parkinson went through his variations and it was a shame we didn’t see more of it.
De Grandhomme was constructing a very good T20 innings which included three sixes, however in the end he found Banton on the boundary and he was out for 55. His dismissal did rather pull things back for England as the hosts would have been looking for something over 200 but in the end fell short.
Saqib Mahmood’s pace didn’t work out as he went for just over twelve an over and conceded a string of boundaries. As a result though of the ball taking a bit of punishment from the advertising boards reverse swing started to take affect for the two Curran brothers. This came to fore when Sam Curran excellently bowled Jimmy Neesham with an in swinging yorker that would have done for most batsmen at that stage of an innings.
In the end New Zealand posted a competitive score of 180 and an exciting second half was in prospect. Tom Banton in his first knock in international cricket looked at home when he flipped Ferguson for six however his bales were trimmed a couple of balls later and his first innings was over for eighteen.
Malan and Vince steadied the ship and began to put their feet down after a slow start to the partnership. Malan was the key aggressor but when Sodhi came in to start his second over after a poor first one Malan picked out Guptill in the outfield of a full toss.
Morgan who came in next hit Sodhi for two huge leg side sixes and was appearing to hit the ball better than he had at any point on the tour thus far. When he clothed one however and Sam Billings was run out New Zealand were right back in the game with James Vince and Sam Curran out in the middle.
Vince who had been playing the anchor role would have desperate to be out in the middle when England hopefully won but he couldn’t get the impressive Tickner over mid on and was out for 49.Gregory didn’t last much longer and England were seven down with the Curran brothers out in the middle.
Sam Curran probably batting one place to high at seven never looked comfortable and when he was dismissed for two England looked finished. Tom Curran did hit Sodhi for a six to leave him needing 19 of the final over but some excellent Tim Southee death bowling ensured New Zealand victory.
England will now have to reflect on two poor chases that their batsmen have perhaps made poor shot selections once they have got themselves in and exposed a weak middle order. It would be a surprise if Gregory maintains his place over Bairstow for what is now two must win final games.
The hunt for a finisher continues on this tour as the current middle order just doesn’t look strong enough. Some slack will be given due to the inexperience of the team but with two World T20’s in two years the players on this tour will be eager to impress.
New Zealand win by 14 runs
Man of the match Colin De Grandhomme.