England beat Kiwis in 4th T20 to level series
A brilliant batting display by Dawid Malan and skipper Eoin Morgan followed by a four-fer from spinner Matthew Parkinson helped England thrash New Zealand in the fourth T20I at McLean Park on Friday.
Put into bat, England first posted a monstrous 242-run target and then restricted the hosts to 165 inside 17 overs to register an emphatic 76-run victory and level the five-match series 2-2.
Earlier, England lost Jonny Bairstow early as he got out after contributing just eight runs. Malan -- who came into bat at No.3 -- started from the word go and bludgeoned the New Zealand bowlers to all parts of the ground. Along with Tom Banton (31), he took the England total to 58/2 before the opener was out leg-before wicket to spinner Mitchell Santner.
However, Malan scored 103 not out and stitched a 182-run partnership with Morgan (91) to help England post their highest T20I total of 241/3, surpassing their previous-best of 230/8 against South Africa at the 2016 T20 World Cup.
Malan reached his maiden T20I century off 48 balls, becoming the fastest centurion for England in T20 cricket. The 32-year-old smashed 9 fours and 6 sixes during the course of his innings. He became just the second Englishman to make a century in the format after Alex Hales who had scored the hundred in 60 balls against Sri Lanka in 2014.
Morgan - who smashed six fours and as many sixes during his 21-ball knock -- also broke the record for scoring the fastest half-century for England.
The 182-run partnership between Malan and Morgan for the third wicket is now the highest ever stand for the Three Lions.
The Black Caps began their chase on a brisk note with Martin Guptill (27) and Colin Munro (30) adding 54 runs for the opening wicket inside the first five overs.
However, once Guptill fell, the hosts suffered from a collapse and literally bowed down before the English bowlers, particularly Parkinson who picked up four wickets, giving away 47 runs in his allotted four overs.
Stand-in skipper Tim Southee did contribute with 39 runs down the order. However, his knock couldn’t save the Black Caps from suffering an embarrassing defeat to the Three Lions.
The two teams will now face each other in the series-deciding final at Eden Park, Auckland on Sunday.
Brief Scores: England 241/3 (Dawid Malan 103*, Eoin Morgan 91; Mitchell Santner 2/32) beat New Zealand 165 all-out (Tim Southee 39, Colin Munro 30; Matthew Parkinson 4/47)