England slump to record T20 defeat
Cricket: England slumped to a 55-run defeat in pursuit of a record Twenty20 run chase as New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum led the hosts to a series-levelling success at Seddon Park in Hamilton.
McCullum (74) hit five sixes and six fours to help New Zealand set England 192 for six, 11 more runs than their best previous chase, against India in Mumbai less than two months ago.
After Mitchell McClenaghan then took two wickets in two balls to leave England nine for two in the second over, only Jos Buttler (54) spared some of the tourists’ blushes by carrying them past both their record low score and worst defeat in this format.
McCullum reached his 50 from 32 balls but took even more severe toll of England in the final two overs of the innings as Stuart Broad conceded 22 in his and then Jade Dernbach 16 in the 20th.
Buttler hit nine fours and a six in his 28-ball half-century, but it was a lone hand from England’s number six and could salvage a total of only 137 all out.
McCullum had begun slowly but timed his acceleration expertly, until he was caught on the cover boundary off Dernbach (three for 38) from the penultimate ball of the innings.
He completed the first half-century of this series with a six over square-leg off Broad, and duly added two more sixes in the next three balls to leave his opposite number with figures of 4-0-53-0.
Kiwi openers Martin Guptill and Hamish Rutherford had 50 on the board when the former welcomed Dernbach to the match by thrashing the first ball of the sixth over for four past cover.
England sprang a minor surprise by opening the bowling with James Tredwell, after winning the toss. But the ploy did not work, Guptill striking the off-spinner for the first six of the match as 10 came off the over.
Broad was unfortunate to have a six on his card too, in his first over, when Rutherford miscued an attempted hook which thudded into the sightscreen high over fine third-man.
Rutherford cleared the ropes twice more before falling 10 short of his 50, trying to manufacture runs into the off-side off Luke Wright only to edge behind and end a stand of 75.
McCullum could manage only one run from the first seven balls he faced, but then hoisted the next from Samit Patel over long-on for six and greeted the return of Tredwell with another maximum to bring up the hundred in the 12th over.
Tredwell stopped Guptill on 47, though, caught sweeping to deep backward-square. Ross Taylor could not get set and got right underneath a big hit to leg to become Wright’s second victim.
When Colin Munro was also caught in the deep off Dernbach, much depended on McCullum and he did not disappoint the home crowd.
He left England’s batsmen with a significant task too, all the more so after Alex Hales tried to push left-armer McClenaghan to leg but lost his off-stump and then Wright speared a catch to point next ball.
Jonny Bairstow connected with two off-side fours off Trent Boult, but nothing more before mis-pulling Ian Butler for a simple catch at square-leg.
Birthday boy Michael Lumb stayed longer, but to little significant effect, eventually bowled off his pads by Nathan McCullum.
Morgan, meanwhile, had two let-offs on five and 10 - McCullum missing a stumping off his brother and Rutherford dropping a straightforward catch at deep midwicket off Butler.
But the Irishman, passed fit for this match only a few hours beforehand after jarring his back in England’s win at Auckland on Saturday, never looked like taking advantage.
He struggled to lay a bat on Butler, and when he finally did merely mistimed one high to deep point.
Butler finished with the remarkable figures of two for nine in his four overs, in his first Twenty20 international since 2010, and took the honours ahead of James Franklin despite the latter’s four for 15 as England folded.
The match was already decided, but Buttler once again demonstrated his rich potential to take England into three figures with their first of just two sixes, a massive blow over long-on off Grant Elliott.
Tredwell also redressed a little balance with some late hitting from number nine. England have nonetheless gone to extremes of performance in their two matches here so far, and must now reverse the process to prevail in the decider in Wellington on Friday.