It was an incredible match at the Kia Oval in London. England were fresh from their massive first ODI win at Edgbaston, where they went past 400 runs for the first time in their ODI history and the Kiwis fell way short to lose by 210 runs. At the oval on Friday, New Zealand batted first and scored 398/5 in 20 overs. Six out of seven New Zealand batsmen scored 30+ runs with Ross Taylor notching up a century and Kane Williamson missing it narrowly. The huge score made the victory target pretty hot to chase for England. Rain made it even more difficult as England needed to score at 8.23 per over after the officials curtailed the innings to 46 overs, in which England needed 379. Eoin Morgan, Adil Rashid and Liam Plunkett nearly pulled it off in the end but a great combination catch from Tim Southee and Trent Boult in the penultimate over sealed England’s fate. New Zealand won by 13 runs to draw the 5-match series level.
Brendon McCullum chose to bat after winning the toss in the second ODI at the Oval and opened the innings with Martin Guptill. The first wicket stand of 61 came in the 8th over but McCullum got out for a 22-ball 39 that included 5 fours and 2 sixes. Guptill was relatively slower but he had Kane Williamson at the other end. They continued until the 18th over and added 53 before Guptill departed. Ross Taylor joined Williamson and the two batsmen played freely and briskly to make it 235/3 in the 36th before Williamson got out for 93 scored off 88 balls. Taylor kept hammering the English bowlers and with two nearly identical but useful cameos from Grant Elliott and Luke Ronchi took the score to 398/5 in 50 overs. Taylor remained unbeaten for 119 off 96 balls with the help of 10 fours and 4 sixes.
England began strongly for chasing 399. The first wicket stand between Jason Roy and Alex Hales produced 85 before Roy got out in the 13th over. England lost Joe Root early and Hales followed him to make it 100/3 in the 16th. But Eoin Morgan played solidly and quickly in the company of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler before losing them by the 33rd over, when the score had reached 259/5. England still had 17 overs and target was still achievable. A jolt came for England, when Morgan holed out to deep point after scoring a 47-ball 88 with 6 fours and 6 sixes. Sam Billings also followed the skipper to the pavilion to leave England at 275/7 in the 37th over. Plenty of runs were still required at this stage but Adil Rashid and Liam Plunkett brought England back into the match. They had already added 70 for the eighth wicket and looked dangerous. But the match was interrupted in the 44th over because of rain before and the target had been revised to 379 in 46 overs and England needed 34 off 12 at resumption. In the 45th over England literally lost the game. After Plunkett was taken out by Nathan McCullum, Rashid was their only hope but on McCullum’s last ball, Rashid lofted the bowler hard and high and it seemed that ball would clear the ropes as Tim Southee went for hunting it. As he caught it, he realized that his momentum would carry him beyond the boundary. Showing a great presence of mind, Southee flicked the ball back to the field and Trent Boult, who had also been running, grabbed Southee’s flick in a typically brilliant fielding show from New Zealand. In the last over England needed 24 but with 9 wickets gone, there was no one, who could make England reach the victory target as they lost the second ODI by 13 runs.
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