Chris Jordan starred as England got the better of New Zealand in another Super Over, prevailing in the end by a not all that bare a margin of nine runs after a truncated thriller in the fifth Twenty20 in Auckland.
Four months on from their nerve-shredding World Cup final, the teams found themselves on familiar terrain as they were deadlocked after an 11-over shootout, shortened because of intermittent showers at Eden Park.
Jordan’s last-ball four ensured England levelled New Zealand’s 146 and the paceman then held his nerve with the ball after Jonny Bairstow and Eoin Morgan had each bludgeoned a six to lift England to 17 in their Super Over.
Despite sending down a wide with his second delivery, Jordan bowled expert lengths to restrict New Zealand to eight for one in reply, helping England seal a 3-2 series victory.
Martin Guptill was the batsman run out in the World Cup final that led to England’s triumph on boundary countback alone – a rule since abolished – and he perhaps should have had more of a say in this Super Over.
Having earlier clubbed a 19-ball half-century in New Zealand’s 146 for five, he deferred to Tim Seifert, who faced the first four deliveries in the Super Over and perished to a superb running catch from Morgan at wide mid-off.
Seifert’s dismissal left New Zealand requiring 11 for victory, and Guptill’s inability to get underneath a Jordan yorker from the penultimate delivery meant the equation came down to an impossible 10 from one as England sealed a fourth successive T20 series win.
Such a prospect seemed remote after Guptill, plus boundary laden cameos from Colin Munro (46 from 21 balls) and Seifert (39 off 16), carried the Kiwis to a daunting total in the regulation 11 overs.
But England are rarely outgunned – even if they are missing several first-team players – and Bairstow’s 47 from only 17 deliveries as well as some important contributions down the order kept them in contention.
They still needed 16 from the final over – and 13 from the last three deliveries when Jordan walked out to bat, but a maximum from his first ball was followed by a four from his third after Jimmy Neesham had erred in line and length as the tourists responded with 146 for seven.
The riveting finale to the series came after rain delayed the start by two hours and led to an abridged encounter, with England deciding to field first.
Dawid Malan was rotated out of the side despite a buccaneering ton in Napier and it seemed England might miss his power after they slumped to 39 for three in their reply – despite the inviting short straight boundaries.
Banton bludgeoned his fourth ball for a straight six but was given lbw off Trent Boult immediately afterwards, the decision upheld on review despite there being a suspicion the impact on HawkEye was incorrect.
James Vince and Morgan then fell but Bairstow’s 61-run alliance with Sam Curran would later prove crucial, with the Yorkshireman crunching three successive sixes off Ish Sodhi.
Bairstow would fall with the total on 100, attempting to uppercut Neesham, he merely got a thin edge through to wicketkeeper Seifert, who stumped Curran for 24 off 11 from Mitch Santner’s wide.
Lewis Gregory departed two balls later but not before creaming a six as England were left needing 40 from the final 22.
Sam Billings and Tom Curran struggled to find the boundary rope and the latter chipping to short third man in the final over seemed decisive, only for Jordan to have the final say.
New Zealand had earlier started the carnage almost from the off as both Curran brothers and Jordan were dispatched to all parts as Guptill and Munro took a whopping 55 from the three-over powerplay.
England had leaked seven sixes in the opening 21 balls but Guptill’s departure for 50 off 20 deliveries – caught on the deep midwicket boundary off Rashid – would lead to a brief respite for the tourists.
Colin De Grandhomme also holed out off Saqib Mahmood as 83 without loss after five overs became 95 for two after seven, but Seifert asserted his authority with back-to-back sixes off Rashid, entrusted with a third over.
Munro was caught in the deep for 46 from 21 overs in the penultimate over off Sam Curran, who saw Seifert take 16 from his last three balls, including a daring baseball-style club over midwicket for six.
Seifert’s 16-ball 39 came to an end when he was yorked by Tom Curran while Ross Taylor was run out coming back for a second from the final delivery – a crucial wicket on reflection.
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