Mascarenhas relives his Twenty20 glory
Dimitri Mascarenhas hammered England towards a competitive 184 for eight in today's Twenty20 International at Eden Park to rescue an inconsistent batting display against New Zealand.
The Hampshire all-rounder, who hit five successive sixes against India's Yuvraj Singh at The Oval last summer, injected badly-needed momentum into England's innings after New Zealand had threatened to restrict them to a modest total.
Surprisingly put into bat after losing the toss, England seemed unable to build on a sparkling innings of 43 off 24 balls from Kevin Pietersen and were heading for an under-par total. But Mascarenhas arrived at the crease and threatened to repeat his Oval heroics by hitting off-spinner Jeetan Patel for four successive sixes, which at least gave England a target to defend in front of a healthy crowd.
His 31 off 14 balls, which also included a four, was ended when he was caught at deep third man off seamer Kyle Mills having been dropped earlier in the over despite a full-length dive from debutant Jesse Ryder.
England had decided to overlook in-form Alastair Cook, who hit a century in Sunday's warm-up win over Canterbury, and instead choose Sussex all-rounder Luke Wright as Phil Mustard's opening partner. The decision backfired badly with Wright falling to his third ball when he edged seamer Chris Martin behind, and he was quickly followed by Mustard who top-edged a pull to deep mid-wicket after an entertaining 20 off 13 balls.
Ian Bell also fell cheaply, bowled by a Jacob Oram yorker, but the key dismissal which perhaps prevented England from reaching a major total was that of Pietersen's. The Hampshire batsman had looked in dominant form from the first ball, which he clipped behind square for four to get off the mark, and looked on course for a big innings. But he advanced down the pitch to spinner Patel and drove fiercely through mid-on only for Ross Taylor to take a brilliant low, diving catch to halt England's momentum.
It took Mascarenhas's big-hitting and useful contributions from Graeme Swann and Ryan Sidebottom to take 12 off the last over from New Zealand debutant Tim Southee to take the tourists over the 180-run mark.