Dawid Malan leads England to record total as tourists thrash New Zealand to set up T20 series decider

Evening Standard
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Dawid Malan scored the quickest Twenty20 century by an Englishman as the tourists thrashed New Zealand by 76 runs in Napier this morning to set up a decider in Auckland on Sunday.

Malan became only the second ­English player to score a ton — he scored 103 not out — in this format of the game and eclipsed the pace of Alex Hales’s previous century by reaching three ­figures in just 48 balls.

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His knock was part of a record partnership by an English pair as he put on 182 runs in just over 12 overs with ­former Middlesex team-mate Eoin Morgan to set a record England total of 241 for three, which the hosts never came close to reaching.

In response, New Zealand were bowled out for 165, with 19 balls remaining of the innings. Matt Parkinson starred with the ball, with figures of four for 47 as every England bowler picked up at least one wicket.

Malan credited his century to his captain, saying: “Morgs came out and took the initiative. We had a decent start but Morgs changed the momentum of the game.”

England had got off to a good start in the five-match series, but this was a must-win game after struggling in their last two matches, letting a winnable position slip in the preceding match.

“We’re better than we showed in that last [match] and the ­mistakes we made were pretty silly,” said Malan.

“It’s about sticking to the game plan of being aggressive and smart. We just had to add that smart bit to it.”

Tom Banton again got England off to a solid start with a rapid 31, but Jonny Bairstow, recalled to steady the top order, could only make eight.

Banton’s departure paved the way for the game-changing partnership, as England went on to hit 168 runs of their total in boundaries alone.

New Zealand, so clinical in the preceding two matches with the ball in hand, look wayward as they struggled to find answers to Malan and Morgan’s prolific hitting. There was a point when Malan’s record looked destined to be held for only a matter of minutes before Morgan was caught in the deep, going for another big hit on 91.

The Black Caps got off to a blistering start in response, moving to 50 without loss in the fifth over before Martin ­Guptill miscued straight to Malan off Tom Curran’s second over. A Curran catch moments later gave Chris Jordan a wicket on his return to the side.

But the game swung even more in England’s favour with spinner Parkinson. He took three wickets in five balls to reduce New Zealand to 78 for five, then took some punishment off Tim Southee before trapping him leg-before.

With his departure, New Zealand’s innings fizzled out, but Morgan said England still need to improve. “I think we have to get better and better as the series goes on,” he said. “I think we’ve done that, but the Black Caps have done the same. Sunday lines up to be an epic game.”

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