England race out of the blocks
England’s batsmen made hay once more as they set New Zealand a daunting 194 to win the second Twenty20 international in Christchurch.
If Phil Mustard and Luke Wright provided the early impetus with an opening stand of 65 in under six overs, Paul Collingwood and Owais Shah’s record 102-run partnership for the fifth wicket was the feature of a hugely impressive batting performance.
Collingwood blazed 54 off just 28 balls while Shah hit 47 off 35, serving to wrest the momentum back from New Zealand after the loss of four wickets in the space of 16 deliveries.
Collingwood and Shah's assault carried England to 193 for eight, their joint second highest Twenty20 total. It also left them favourites to triumph in this game and wrap up a 2-0 series win following their 32-run victory in Auckland on Tuesday.
There was little in the first over of the innings, bowled by Kyle Mills and costing just two runs, to suggest the carnage that was to follow.
Mustard hit a six in both subsequent overs, top-edging Chris Martin over third man and drilling Mills over long-off, but Paul Hitchcock came in for the heaviest punishment upon his introduction into the attack.
His first ball back in international cricket after a four-year absence was despatched over his head for six by Mustard, and Wright dished out similar treatment later in the over, which went for 22 in total.
The loss of a wicket in each of the next four overs checked England’s momentum appreciably as they slipped to 76 for four, a mini-collapse sparked by Wright’s departure for 30 off 19 deliveries.
He managed two boundaries in four balls before he was yorked by Martin making room, and Kevin Pietersen was trapped in front by a Tim Southee full toss as he attempted to work the ball to leg.
Hesitancy as he went in search of a single to mid-on saw Ian Bell run out by Jesse Ryder’s direct hit, and Southee’s removal of Mustard - caught at long-on for 40 off 24 deliveries - left New Zealand marginally in the ascendancy.
Collingwood and Shah restored the balance of power emphatically as they embarked on a stand of 102 - England’s highest in Twenty20 cricket - the captain displaying his fondness of the leg side en route to a 24-ball half-century containing five fours and three sixes.
Scott Styris and Southee were both struck for six and four off successive deliveries, although Shah’s paddle-sweep of Jesse Ryder’s medium-pace, which almost cleared the fine-leg rope on the full, proved England’s approach was not based solely on power.
Shah was fortunate to see Brendon McCullum fluff a stumping chance later in the over, and Peter Fulton stepped over the midwicket boundary after catching a powerful pull immediately before Shah drilled Hitchcock to Ross Taylor at long-off.
Collingwood departed next ball courtesy of a mistimed mow, but the prospect of being the third victim in a hat-trick mattered little to Dimitri Mascarenhas, who contrived to hit Hitchcock over backward point for six.
Ryder’s fine throw from deep cover accounted for Mascarenhas as he went in search of a second run, and Stuart Broad was hurried into a pull by Mills as New Zealand ended the innings with two wickets in as many balls.