This time, England’s batsmen didn’t perform well in the last two defeats in T20 tri-series from Australia. On a blotchy pitch, it was their bowlers who underperformed in their third defeat from Black Caps with 196/5. Even the pitch played better than England.
Even though there were only 12 runs of final margin, it seemed deceptive. England were behind the game when Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill took charge of their bowling. The scoreboards of New Zealand were hovering from 1 to 3 percent for most of the run-chasing. This Wasp got the gist, though not a positive creature.
Without a point after three matches, England can easily qualify for the final in tri-series over Australia. For that to happen, in their past two fixtures, New Zealand will need to lose to Australia on Friday in Auckland and to England on Sunday in Hamilton.
Rather, it was played like a Test match, just like the last one played in Adelaide, when England’s skipper chose to bowl first and pace bowlers played under pressure. This time, they pitched too short which brought disaster on rugby ground where boundaries were short to either side. New Zealand made the opponent hit straight and pitched fuller, which took key wickets including Dawid Malan, when he made his third 50 in T20Is, along with Jos Buttler.
He had chosen to bowl first intentionally after winning the toss as the pitch seemed as if it had gone through drastic and recent surgery. He added, “We are little skeptical on how it will play.” Rather than banging it on length and short, to enhance the uneven bounce which is inherent to most drop-ins, the pace bowlers of England tried variations soon.
Suddenly, England moved from playing as they like in their ODI series with Australia to drains in this tri-series. One reason is that selectors from Australia picked tired Test players for one-dayers and right when they took young blood for their T20 side like a terrific batsman/keeper, Alex Carey in the making, and Billy Stanlake and D’Arcy Short. But it is not justifying this recent defeat from New Zealand.
The captaincy of Eoin Morgan was really missed. Talking with the bowlers and standing at additional cover, he would’ve made them stick to the basics. Total of New Zealand was around 20 runs ahead of par and captaincy of Morgan could’ve been worth that much. When bowlers were wandering off-piste, for a captain, it is virtually impossible to rein back if he is 40 yards behind wicket like Buttler.
All of the bowlers were unsatisfactory in England, especially Mark Wood. He was pressured to add changes but it was not the right time to go wide of the crease and swinging the ball in his first over, into Martin Guptill.