By BV Swagath
Just a couple of days after the ICC Champions Trophy Final, England for a second consecutive time lost a match by 5 runs, this time it was in the 1st T20I against New Zealand at The Oval. Irrespective of the result, the 1st T20I between the two teams was a cracking contest with the Kiwis piling up 201 and the hosts just falling short of it.
It was a new look English team led by Eoin Morgan. Boyd Rankin, the tall fast bowler who played for Ireland in ODIs made his English debut. New Zealand, who were asked to bat first after losing the toss, seemed to have batted England out of the match with a huge total of 201 for 4. Opener Hamish Rutherfold provided the impetus with his 35-ball 62 (with 6 fours and 4 sixes).
Skipper Brendon McCullum with a 48-ball 68 (with 7 fours and 2 sixes) and Ross Taylor with his 19-ball 32 ensured that Rutherfold’s knock was well utilized. For England, Boyd Rankin who changed his country bowled well for his 1 for 24 in 4 overs.
England got a dream start of 50 for 1 in just 3.4 overs with Michael Lumb scoring a breezy 29 from 15 balls. Lumb’s opening partner Alex Hales did equally well with a 29-ball 39 to help England knock out half of the target by the 11th over. Luke Wright sustained the momentum with a 34-ball 52 but was dismissed at the wrong time by the end of the 15th over. Ravi Bopara was left to do the finishing act but his unbeaten 18-ball 30 had England six runs short of the target. Hamish Rutherford got the Man of the Match award for his 35-ball 62.