First T20, Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street:
New Zealand 139-9 in 20 overs: Glenn Phillips scores 41 off 38 balls; Luke Wood and Brydon Carse snag 3 wickets apiece with figures of 3-37 and 3-23, respectively.
England 143-3 in 14 overs: Dawid Malan racks up 54 runs off 42 deliveries, Harry Brook contributes an unbeaten 43 from 27 balls.
England triumphs with a seven-wicket win and 36 balls remaining.
England decisively trounced New Zealand with an effortless win by seven wickets in the first of a four-game T20 series at Chester-le-Street. Fresh from their Ashes action a month earlier, the English team cruised to their victory target with a whole six overs left in the tank.
After an early dismissal of Jonny Bairstow, who nicked the second ball he faced, Dawid Malan stepped in to deliver a measured 54 from 42 balls. Although Malan was ousted with 24 runs left to score from 48 balls, Harry Brook arrived at the crease to hammer two gigantic sixes on his way to an unbeaten 43, leaving spectators wondering why he wasn’t included in England’s preliminary squad for the upcoming 50-over World Cup in India.
England’s formidable bowling attack set the tone for their win, limiting New Zealand to a modest 139-9. Despite being hammered for three sixes in the opening over, Luke Wood rebounded spectacularly, taking 3 wickets for 37 runs. Making his T20 debut at his home ground, pace bowler Brydon Carse also had a day to remember, registering an excellent 3-23. The Kiwis struggled to find their groove throughout the match.
The action resumes this Friday in Manchester, with England’s T20 campaign serving as a prelude to their World Cup defense, slated to start in five weeks with a riveting rematch against New Zealand.
Even though England hasn’t played T20 cricket since March, there were zero cobwebs to shake off—something the Black Caps could not claim. English Captain Jos Buttler expressed his intentions to continue experimenting with the lineup during the T20 matches against New Zealand and Ireland, in preparation for the World Cup. Surprisingly, the day’s most impactful players, Wood and Carse, aren’t even on the World Cup squad.
Malan, who is part of the World Cup-bound team, started slow but steadily built momentum, offering a glimmer of what could be a promising few months ahead. Despite his lowered position in the batting order, Buttler saw his team through to a compelling win, a promise of what might be a thrilling series and tournament ahead.
Standout Performances by Wood & Carse
Initially, it looked like New Zealand would post a total well above 160, especially when Finn Allen started his onslaught against Wood. However, England’s bowlers quickly adapted to the pitch conditions, and the wicket-taking began. Carse showcased his skills, yielding only one run in his opening over and taking down Allen shortly thereafter.
Wood mixed up his pace brilliantly, dismissing Tim Seifert with a slower delivery and nailing Glenn Phillips, the only Kiwi batsman to offer any resistance, with a cunning cutter. In the end, neither of the two teams managed to capitalize fully on their fast starts, but England emerged far superior.
Player of the Match, Brydon Carse: “An incredible start to my T20 career. It’s always a treat to perform well in front of the home crowd in Durham, and it’s even better when it contributes to a team win.”
England Captain Jos Buttler: “[Harry Brook] is world-class. Nobody doubts his talent or his future contributions to the side. He’s been pivotal in T20s for nearly a year and will continue to be for the next decade.”
Regarding future experimentation, Buttler added: “We’re eager to give Gus Atkinson an opportunity. Winning the series is essential, but we also want to evaluate new talent.”
New Zealand Captain Tim Southee: “We’re well aware that we underperformed today. However, we have a couple of days to regroup and bounce back. The English bowlers made early inroads that we couldn’t recover from, and our own assessment of the pitch was slightly off.”
And there you have it. Round one goes to England, but as any sports geek knows, the series is far from decided. Stay tuned for what promises to be an electric couple of weeks of cricket.