Written by Staff Writer
20 Feb, 2015 | 11:01 am
England batting crumbled once again in the face of determined bowling in World Cup 2015. After their lackluster performance against Australia in the opener, the Three Lions were destroyed by a Kiwi pace attack led by Tim Southee at Wellington on Friday. England scored 123. Little surprise then that dejected fans joined staunch critics in slamming the performance of Eoin Morgan’s team
Opting to bat first against New Zealand after failing to chase Aussie target earlier, England’s batting looked horribly woeful. Wickets fell at a dizzying pace with Southee finishing with seven for 33 the best ODI figures for Kiwis ever. It was only third time a New Zealand bowler had bagged five in the global tournament – joining Sir Richard Hadlee and Shane Bond – and Southee soon left that illustrious pair in the shade with a performance that finished as the third best in World Cup history.
His new-ball partner, Trent Boult, with who he has formed a devastating combination over the last 18 months, was all over Gary Ballance as the left hander limped through his innings. He survived a review for lbw on 1 and would then have been gone for 5 if New Zealand had not used up their DRS option. A painful 26-ball stay ended with a toe-end to cover against the worst ball Boult produced.
Morgan entered on the back of four ducks in five innings and looked bereft of form, but he and Joe Root began something of a recovery operation without ever convincing. Key to New Zealand never losing control during this period was their outstanding fielding, led by Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson, which must have left England’s batsmen feeling as though they were playing against 13 men.
A shell-shocked England emerged into the field with nothing left to give. James Anderson’s first ball was a wide and things did not improve. McCullum upper cut his first delivery from Broad over third man – New Zealand did not need to make further statements, but the captain was not of that frame of mind.
The fifty was brought up with the first of the four sixes in a row off Finn, which also struck a sponsor’s car, and McCullum kept launching him with fearsome power over the off side. Staggeringly, thoughts briefly turned to whether he could manufacture enough of the strike to challenge the fastest hundred – AB de Villiers’ 31-ball against West Indies – but that would have been one record too many on an extraordinary day.
McCullum crunched seven sixes of varying ferocity; Stuart Broad was taken for 18 off his first over while Steven Finn was brutally dispatched for 49 off two including four consecutive sixes. If he had not been bowled by a Chris Woakes full toss, New Zealand would have won before the break, and considerable boos rang around as the players trudged off. The formalities were completed 45 minutes later, fittingly with five wides, to equal England’s heaviest defeat in terms of ball remaining – 226.
Tim Southee walked away with the man of the match award.
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