An excellent performance in the field followed by fifties from Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes helped England beat New Zealand by six wickets
Ben Stokes produced a starring all-round performance in his second match back in the England fold to help level the ODI series. He helped seal a reasonably straightforward chase of 224 with a crisp 63 off 74 balls to follow two sharp run-outs, as part of an outstanding fielding display, and a brace of wickets.
Stokes – who could have been run out on nought when Colin de Grandhomme side-footed past the stumps in his follow-through – and captain Eoin Morgan added 88 in 15 overs to break the back of the chase in Mount Maunganui’s first day-night ODI. Stokes, playing increasingly fluently, reached his fifty from 54 balls and gave a muted raise of the bat around the ground, before finishing the task alongside Jos Buttler, who clubbed 36 off 20 balls. They won with more than more than 12 overs to spare.
This was a victory set up in the field, by the fielding. Four run outs, equalling England’s most in an innings, and three fine catches keeping the pressure on New Zealand throughout. After defeat in Hamilton, both Morgan and Buttler spoke of needing to sharpen up in the field – this was a stirring response. David Willey set the tone with an over-the-shoulder catch, Jason Roy took two excellent grabs while four out of five run-out chances were taken.
Only a ninth-wicket stand of 69 between Mitchell Santner, who made his maiden ODI fifty, and Lockie Ferguson nursed New Zealand over 200.
England’s chase did not get off to an ideal start. Roy picked out square leg pulling at Trent Boult, Joe Root fell to the most spectacular catch of the match – de Grandhomme low to his right at short midwicket – and Jonny Bairstow lazily ramped to third.
Yet while de Grandhomme’s grab had taken the catching to new heights, two tough chances which escaped New Zealand were costly. Morgan began in ultra-aggressive mode and after three fours and two sixes in the space of 16 balls, on 28, top-edged a pull towards wicketkeeper Tom Latham who couldn’t quite grab the chance, followed on 40 when he clipped what would have been another belting catch to Henry Nicholls at short midwicket.