Brendon McCullum and Ronnie Hira celebrate the wicket of
England's Alex Hales. REUTERS/Simon Watts
New Zealand cricket captain Brendon McCullum played down
his personal contribution to his side's emphatic 55-run T20 win
over England in Hamilton last night.
He had no need to. Without McCullum's rasping 74 off 38
balls, New Zealand would have been in big trouble.
As it is, he carried them to 192 for six, then found his
bowlers in purposeful mood to seal a convincing win, bowling
England out for 137.
That neatly sets up the decider in the three-game rubber at
Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Friday night.
It was New Zealand's second win in eight T20s against
England, and McCullum's first T20 half century in 10 innings
was just the tonic for his bowlers to produce a committed
display to reduce England to 47 for five.
"I'm just happy to have made a contribution," McCullum said.
"There were other contributions which shouldn't go unnoticed.
I just try and play a role as a batsman first and foremost,
and as captain it's nice to make a contribution as well."
McCullum had high praise for openers Martin Guptill and
Hamish Rutherford, with their 75-run partnership which got
the innings moving.
McCullum oversaw a late flurry, with 38 off the final two
overs getting New Zealand to a position the bowlers could
Ian Butler, at 31 and in his first match for New Zealand in
two years, was outstanding, taking two for nine off his four
overs, with left armer Mitchell McClenaghan knocking the top
off the England innings and James Franklin's cheap four
wickets wrapping up the job.
"I thought Butler was brilliant. The way he got his wickets
as well," McCullum said. "He hurried the batsmen, managed to
bowl at a reasonable pace and get bounce. I'm really
delighted for him."
McCullum said New Zealand knew where they had to step up
after England's equally convincing 40-run win in the opening
game at Eden Park last Saturday.
"We were all disappointed with the other night's performance.
Even though we've got young fellows in the team, we're savvy
enough to know T20 can be turned around pretty quickly. We
knew were we needed to improve."
However McCullum is expecting England - much as New Zealand
did at Seddon Park - to hit back hard in Wellington.
"You only have to be a little bit off and there's a bit of a
gulf between the sides. We know England are going to come
back strong, so we have to ensure we go up again."
England captain Stuart Broad praised New Zealand's display,
but expects his team to smarten up for Wellington.
"I thought they batted really well. It takes a lot of skill
to hit the ball like the New Zealand players did," he said.
"When you have a loss, obviously, you look at what we did
wrong and try to improve.
"We weren't quite as clinical with our plans and skills and
New Zealand were.
"Obviously they've had a really good day. We need to look
back and make sure we get our standards right for Friday."
- David Leggat of the NZ Herald