New Zealand v England: Hosts reach T20 tri-series final despite defeat

New Zealand opener Colin Munro hits as six in defeat by England
Opener Colin Munro helped New Zealand qualify with a blistering 18-ball fifty
Twenty20 tri-series, Hamilton:
England 194-7 (20 overs): Morgan 80*, Malan 53, Boult 3-50
New Zealand 192-4 (overs): Guptill 62, Munro 57, Chapman 37*
England win by two runs; New Zealand qualify for final

England beat New Zealand by two runs but failed to reach the Twenty20 tri-series final against Australia.

Captain Eoin Morgan hit 80 not out to help England post 194-7, ensuring they needed to restrict New Zealand to less than 175 to go through on net run rate.

The hosts surged past that mark thanks to Colin Munro's 57 from 21 balls and Martin Guptill's 62 off 47 at Hamilton.

Tom Curran's superb final over meant the Kiwis fell short in a thriller, but England bowled poorly early on.

New Zealand face Australia in the final at Auckland on Wednesday because of a superior net run rate over that of England, who ended a run of three consecutive defeats with their first win of the series in the final group game.

England will next play New Zealand in a five-match one-day series, with the first game at Hamilton on 25 February.

Munro does the damage

Knowing they had to win by at least 20 runs, England ultimately squandered the chance to reach the final with a careless bowling display as New Zealand reached 77-0 after the opening six-over powerplay.

David Willey and Curran continually strayed onto Munro's pads, allowing the opener to smash several sixes deep into the stands over square leg.

He reached his half century off only 18 balls with his seventh six before he was removed for 57, holing out to Willey at deep mid-wicket off Adil Rashid.

Rashid bowled superbly, taking 1-22 off his four overs, while recalled all-rounder Liam Dawson also conceded just nine off his first three overs of slow left-arm before leaking 18 from his fourth.

Dawid Malan took some punishment but the part-time leg-spinner also bowled Guptill on a turning pitch, suggesting Morgan might have introduced his spinners earlier than Rashid in the seventh over.

With Munro gone, Guptill took charge, backing up his century in Friday's record-breaking defeat by Australia with another fifty - this one more measured before he kicked on to reach 50 off 44 balls.

Although the final was soon out of reach, England's seam bowlers finally learned from the approach of New Zealand's Tim Southee (2-22), bowling a more consistent line but varying their pace and sending down yorkers.

Mark Chapman (37 not out) was reprieved after Chris Jordan bowled him with a no-ball, but Jordan and Curran otherwise showed their death bowling skills to ensure the hosts needed four off the last ball, with Colin de Grandhomme only able to pick out deep mid-off for a single.

Morgan fires on return

England captain Eoin Morgan hits a shot during T20 victory over New Zealand
Captain Eoin Morgan made an unbeaten 80 on his return from a groin strain

England skipper Morgan impressed on his return to the side after missing the previous two matches with a groin strain, anchoring the innings alongside Malan (53) before accelerating superbly.

He picked up length, spin and changes of pace adeptly, striking powerfully down the ground and in his favoured arc between wide mid-on and deep square leg, hitting six sixes in total, including one that sailed out of Seddon Park.

Malan also hit one out of the ground as he continued his remarkable run in Twenty20 internationals, reaching his fourth fifty from his first five matches off 32 balls, with two fours and five sixes.

Rebuilding after openers Alex Hales (1) and Jason Roy (21) both miscued slower balls to be caught at mid-off, Malan expanded his range, clearing the straight boundaries before he was caught by Chapman at mid-wicket.

Jos Buttler and Sam Billings both fell cheaply after scratchy innings but Willey and Dawson made useful cameos, both hitting 10.

Jordan struck the final ball of the innings for six as the tourists compiled their highest total of the series in a much-improved batting performance,

Ups and downs

Failure to reach the Twenty20 tri-series final brings an end to a mixed Ashes tour for England in all three formats.

After surrendering the urn to Australia in a disappointing 4-0 Test series defeat, Trevor Bayliss' side responded with an excellent 4-1 victory in the ODI series.

But England's T20 performances seem to have regressed while the ODI side has progressed, the tourists suffering two heavy defeats by Australia in this series.

England will hope the return of Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali, who all played no part in this series, will improve their fortunes in the shortest format.

After the five ODIs, England complete the New Zealand leg of their winter tour with a two-Test series, starting on 22 March.

They are next in T20 action with a one-off match against Australia at Edgbaston on 27 June, before a three-match series with India.

A fan takes a one-handed catch in the crowd during England's T20 victory over New Zealand
A fan took a one-handed catch off a Dawid Malan six to win NZ$50,000 (£26,339)

'We didn't deserve to go through' - reaction

England captain Eoin Morgan, speaking to Test Match Special: "It is a great result and I thought it was our best performance of the T20 campaign.

"We didn't do enough to go through to the final, which is unfortunate given the way we performed but we can't complain. We haven't played good cricket throughout this campaign, we've been slow out of the traps, slow to get our skills up to the level that Australia and New Zealand have, which is disappointing because we have a huge amount of talent in the changing room."

England coach Trevor Bayliss on Sky Sports: "We failed to score runs at the top of the order again. I don't think we've batted well since the third ODI against Australia.

"I wouldn't play T20 internationals. If you want to play a World Cup every four years, then let the teams play T20s for six months before that. I'd just let the franchises play."

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson on Sky Sports: "Colin Munro was brilliant at the top of the order. Spin on that surface was probably the biggest challenge. England's spinners were clever throughout that period. Credit to how England played tonight."

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