Saturday, September 23, 2023 | Rabi' al-awwal 7, 1445 H
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England wrap up the series with 3-1 win

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LONDON: With the momentum gained after comfortable victories in the previous two ODIs, England had little difficulty in inflicting a significant 100-run defeat on New Zealand to complete the four-match series with a 3-1 result. For form and confidence this win seems fine preparation for the forthcoming World Cup.

Chasing a substantial target of 312 to win and level the series, New Zealand had to score at the rate of just over 6 an over. They began reasonably well at 5 an over in the first ten overs but lost three wickets by the 12th over.

The first fell to an unlucky run out, that was Devon Conway, and his opening partner Will Young, on 24, got a ball which moved away considerably taking a thin edge. Brydon Carse then bowled Daryl Mitchell for four.

Moeen Ali came into the attack for the 19th over and he struck with his third ball bowling Tom Latham for 13 to reduce New Zealand to 88 for four. With Liam Livingstone at the other end, England effectively operated a double spin attack.

Henry Nicholls had moved on to 41 from 48 balls before Moeen struck again trapping Nicholls leg before. He departed after a review showed the ball would have hit leg stump. While picking up the runs was a priority, keeping wickets intact was imperative as half the side was back in the pavilion for 122 in 24.5 overs.

An innocuous leg side full toss from Livingstone which should have been hit for six instead went into the hands of mid-wicket and Glenn Phillips departed for 25. Thereafter, the end was soon is sight with the seventh and eighth wickets falling in successive balls on 169.

Finally, after some lusty hitting by Rachin Ravindra which brought him 61 from 48 balls, the innings ended on 211 for 9 in 38.2 overs as Tim Southee was unable to bat having sustained a dislocated thumb.

Earlier, England started well after deciding to make first use of a fine pitch and in sunny conditions. Although they lost the first wicket on 28 in the fifth over when Jonny Bairstow edged to first slip where Daryl Mitchell held a superb catch around his boot laces, Dawid Malan and Joe Root combined in a 79-run stand taking the total to 107.

Root did struggle and was dropped twice before he reached double figures and on 29, he missed his sweep shot to be bowled by Ravindra. The left-armer struck again three overs later having Harry Brook held for 10 at short mid-on with some luck as it was a long hop which Brook failed to connect well and England had lost their third wicket on 139.

Meanwhile, Malan had brought up his half century in the 17th over and was continuing to dominate the bowlers. He took his score to 70 at the rate of a run-a-ball with a lovely cover drive for 4 off Kyle Jamieson and promptly square cut the next ball for four. In the same over he pulled over deep mid-wicket for six and with that he brought up 1,000 runs in ODI in his 21st innings.

His fifth ODI hundred followed in the 32nd over with a drive for two to long off, having faced 96 balls with 14 fours and a six. He struck a six off Ravindra from a slog/sweep and then went on to hit two huge sixes in three balls off Henry which took him to 123.

His marvellous innings ended on 127 from 114 balls including 3 sixes and 14 fours and was just 7 short of his highest score in ODI. England were 243 for 5 in 40 overs at his dismissal and the lower order contributed a further 68.

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