New Zealand defeated England by 14 runs in the third T20I of the five-match series at the Saxton Oval on Tuesday, courtesy a 55-run innings from Man of the Match Colin de Grandhomme followed by a disciplined bowling performance by the pacers.
Chasing 181, England at one stage were 139 for 3 in the 15th over, but a tight bowling attack from the Kiwi bowlers held the guests well behind the finishing line and the Three Lions could only end up scoring 166 for 7 in their allotted 20 overs.
For New Zealand, Lockie Ferguson and Blair Tickner picked two wickets apiece and conceded 50 runs in their eight overs.
Earlier, after electing to bat, the Black Caps went all guns blazing and amassed 40 runs within the first four overs before Martin Guptill – after scoring 33 off 17 balls – became the first scalp of Patrick Brown.
After that, the hosts lost two quick wickets before de Grandhomme (55) stitched together a 66-run partnership with Ross Taylor (27) to provide the team with a launch pad to unleash.
Towards the end, Mitchell Santner and James Neesham played cameos of 15 and 20 to help New Zealand post 180 for 7.
For England, Tom Banton and Dawid Malan collected 27 runs in the first three overs before Banton was clean bowled by Tickner at his individual score of 18.
Malan, who has recently been signed by Yorkshire, didn’t get affected by his partner’s loss and along with James Vince, stitched a 63-run partnership, taking England to 90 in 10 overs. However, just when England seemed to be cruising, Malan lost his wicket after contributing with 55 runs from 34 balls.
After this, skipper Eoin Morgan took the team to 139 for 3 within the 15-over mark and the match seemed to be going away from the clutches of New Zealand. But Santner struck on time to send the England captain back to pavilion after a well-made 18. Morgan’s wicket led to a mini-collapse as the Three Lions went on to lose four wickets in the next three overs and could add only 10 runs.
Tom Curran and Saqib Mahmood were not enuogh to take England across the line and the Englishmen fell short by 14 runs to concede a 1-2 lead in the series.
The two teams meet next in Napier in the fourth T20I on Friday.
Brief scores: New Zealand 180 for 7 (Colin de Grandhomme 55, Martin Guptill 33; Tom Curran 2 for 29) beat England 166 for 7 (Dawid Malan 55, James Vince 49; Lockie Ferguson 2 for 25) by 14 runs.