England batsmen Dawid Malan and Eoin Morgan smashed a 182-run partnership off just 74 deliveries to help their team win the fourth Twenty-20 International (T20I) and level the series 2-2 at the McLean Park in Napier, on Friday.
Opting to bowl first, the Kiwi bowlers got off to a decent start as they sent back Jonny Bairstow in the fourth over. The other opener Tom Banton, too, headed back to the pavilion in the eighth over. Mitchell Santner took both the wickets.
Joined by his skipper Morgan, Malan lifted the scoring-rate and all of a sudden the home bowlers found themselves going all over the park. Both the batsmen played their shots freely and boundaries came in plenty.
The duo scored at a strike rate of above 200 as Malan reached his hundred at the end of the 18th over. Morgan hit Daryl Mitchell for three sixes in the penultimate over but missed his century by nine runs when he was dismissed in the second last over of the innings by Tim Southee.
However, the damage that was to be done was already done as the visitors piled up a humongous total of 241, their highest ever in T20I history. Malan remained not out at 103 in his 51-delivery innings.
New Zealand started their chase on a positive note as Martin Guptill and Colin Munro added 54 runs for the first wicket in less than five overs. But the tourists came back strong and dismissed Guptill and Tim Seifert in successive overs.
The chase never looked in shape from there on as the hosts kept on losing wickets at regular intervals. All the English bowlers chipped in with vital contributions. Matt Parkinson was the pick up of the lot after he returned with the figure of 4/47. Chris Jordan picked up another two for his figure of 2/24.
Tim Southee, though, tried to bring some respite and smashed 39 runs in just 15 balls. But his efforts were short-lived and he was dismissed by Parkinson. With him the hope of a record-breaking chase ended as well.
The series stands level at 2-2 and the final match of the series and the decider will be played at the Eden Park in Auckland, on Sunday.