World T20 Results: New Zealand Sneak Past England Via D/L After Thunderstorm Plays Spoilsport
By Deepak Vikraman | March 23, 2014 4:20 AM EST
England, with their don't-know-what-we-are-gonna-get-with-our-batting situation heading into the World T20, actually put up a big total in their first match against New Zealand, with Moeen Ali leading the way and Michael Lumb and Joss Buttler providing good support acts.
However, with the match nicely poised, the possibility of it going either way, rain decided to come calling in a dew-filled Chittagong with New Zealand sneaking through by nine runs via the Duckworth/Lewis method.
Ali, Lumb and Buttler all scored quickfire 30s to take England to a now-that's-more-like-it 172 for six from their 20 overs. New Zealand looked primed for an assault at the target, with Kane Williamson and Brendon McCullum comfortable at the crease on a pitch which was tailor-made for shot-making, before a scary thunderstorm brought proceedings to a premature end with the Kiwis on 52 for one in 5.2 overs, enough to be ahead by the D/L method.
England, who did have their captain Stuart Broad back in the XI, started off proceedings with a spinner, giving Moeen Ali the ball first up to try and fox the two New Zealand openers - Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson.
It didn't quite work, as the batsmen saw off the first over comfortably enough, with the duo then looking to take-off and set the perfect platform for the rest of the unending attacking batsmen to take charge.
However, Guptill, looking to do just that, fell to Jade Dernbach in the fourth over, mistiming a pull shot and allowing Chris Jordan to take a simple catch at midwicket.
Brendon McCullum came in and while the right-hander is generally known to unleash some thunder with the bat, it was Nature that decided to bring some of that power out as thunder and lightning made it very very frightening, and dangerous, for the players to be out in the middle, with McCullum smashing a six for good measure, right before the players were forced off, to ensure New Zealand stayed ahead of the Duckworth/Lewis par score and with it enough to start their assault at the World T20 title with a victory.
Earlier, it was the best possible beginning for New Zealand, with the Kiwis picking up the dangerous Alex Hales in just the third ball of the innings. Hales, looking to chip one to the leg side, only managed a leading edge which looked to be escaping past Corey Anderson at mid-off only for the all-rounder to stick a hand out and snare a stunning catch.
New Zealand, though, seemed to get a little too excited by the early dismissal, and with the pitch providing some zip and bounce, the ball ended up being bowled too short far too often, which in turn fell right into England's hands.
Moeen Ali came in at No.3 and immediately looked in the mood, taking the bowlers for one boundary after another, with Michael Lumb, buoyed by his partner's form, also getting in on the act as England went at nearly ten runs an over.
The Powerplay overs produced 55 runs and the boundary glut showed no signs of abating with 11 runs coming off the seventh - the first by a spinner, Nathan McCullum.
However, with the foot firmly pressed on the pedal with no signs of stepping on the brakes, a wicket was inevitable and Ali, after an wonderful attacking innings of 36 (23b, 6x4, 1x6), fell prey in the deep while attempting another six, with the excellent Anderson (two for 32) picking up his first scalp as the second wicket partnership of 72 from 7.2 overs was brought to an end.
Lumb (33, 24b, 4x4, 1x6) followed suit soon after holing out to Anderson, who took another brilliant catch, this time down low, at third man off Mitchell McClenaghan.
England needed another partnership to ensure the momentum created by Ali and Lumb wasn't lost with vice-captain Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler looking to do just that. However, Morgan, after a circumspect 15-ball 12 fell to Tim Southee, who otherwise had a forgettable day with the ball, going for 46 runs from his four overs, even if he was unlucky not to add another wicket with wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi missing a sitter which would have sent Ravi Bopara packing.
Bopara (24 n.o., 19b, 1x6), though, did take advantage of that lifeline, staying at the crease until the end, while the likes of Buttler (32, 23b, 4x4), Chris Jordan and Tim Bresnan (17 n.o., 8b, 2x4, 1x6), smashed a few over the boundary to take to total to a quite competitive total.
What might have transpired over the next 20 overs we shall never know, as England were left wondering and having to overcome an opening match loss.
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