James Vince smashed his maiden fifty as England defeated New Zealand by seven wickets to go 1-0 up in the five-match Twenty20 International series. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
For New Zealand, it has been a tough sporting week. Their rugby team, the All Blacks, suffered a crushing loss in the semi-final of the 2019 Rugby World Cup. At the Hagley Oval, the two cricketing teams squared off for the first time since THAT epic 2019 World Cup final in Lord's. The England team featured new faces in Patrick Brown and Lewis Gregory but that was enough as England won the first Twenty20 International against New Zealand at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Friday. A combined effort of disciplined bowling and aggressive batting by the middle order helped England start their 2019/20 winter on a high.
England chose to bowl and they achieved immediate success when Sam Curran, making his debut in Twenty20 Internationals, got the wicket of Martin Guptill for 2. Colin Munro and Tim Seifert tried breaking the shackles, with Munro launching Sam Curran for two sixes and Seifert launching the bowler over the ropes in the fifth over which yielded 21 runs. However, Chris Jordan struck in his first over as Munro perished to a full toss for 21.
Colin de Grandhomme and Seifert looked to revive the innings but Adil Rashid removed de Grandhomme while Jordan struck again by removing Seifert for 32. Daryl Mitchell and Ross Taylor stitched a solid stand but New Zealand suffered with not a single batsmen converting their starts into a big score. Taylor neared his fifty with a six off Jordan but he became Patrick Browne's maiden T20I wicket and New Zealand ended on 153/5.
Jonny Bairstow and Dawid Malan started aggressively but Mitchell Santner accounted for Malan. Bairstow continued to hit boundaries, smashing three boundaries and a six off Scott Kuggelejin. Bairstow struck boundaries at will before he became Santner's second victim. However, the contest tilted in England's favour when James Vince and Eoin Morgan stitched a 54-run stand. Vince got going with two boundaries off Ish Sodhi while Kuggelejin continued to leak runs with Vince hitting a six and a four. The Hampshire right-hander smashed a boundary off Lockie Ferguson to bring up his maiden fifty and celebrated it with a six off Tim Southee.
When Santner took his third wicket by getting rid of Vince for 59, England still held the advantage and Morgan, along with Sam Billings ensured the game was done in the 19th over as England took a 1-0 lead in the series. The second match of the series will take place on November 3 at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington.