Kiwis hold on to win opening T20

England

New Zealand held on for an exciting five-run victory against England at the Oval on Tuesday, winning the first of two T20s by holding their nerve in the final overs to defend their score of 201 by a whisker.

New Zealand held on for an exciting five-run victory against England at the Oval on Tuesday, winning the first of two T20s by holding their nerve in the final overs to defend their score of 201 by a whisker.

England looked on track to reach what would have been their highest T20 chase, when Luke Wright was in the middle on a half century, but a flurry of wickets near the end halted the momentum and the Black Caps stopped Ravi Bopara from being a hero in the final over. England ended on 196 for five.

England handed a debut to former Ireland fast bowler Boyd Rankin, and chose to bowl first after winning the toss. Rankin impressed immediately, removing James Franklin in his first over, but he went for six to the over in his four overs without further success.

Wright managed to take two of the four wickets to fall, removing both Brendon McCullum (68) and Hamish Rutherford (62), but not before they managed to put on 114 for the second wicket. Rutherford made 62 off just 35 balls, hitting four sixes.

He was caught by Alex Hales in the 12th over, leaving McCullum to add to the score alongside former skipper Ross Taylor. They pushed the score to 161, going at 10 to the over, before B-Mac was bowled by Wright for 68.

Taylor continued with Tom Latham beside him and they reached the 200 mark in the final over. Latham was dismissed with one ball to go, caught for 22 off Jade Dernbach by Bopara. Taylor ended on 32 not out.

The hosts' chase got off to a blistering start as Hales and Michael Lumb put on 50 runs in under four overs. Lumb was unable to stick it out though, and was bowled by a darting Nathan McCullum delivery after making 29 off just 15 balls.

Hales was next to fall, 55 runs later, after a nifty partnership with Wright. Hales had made 39 runs before succumbing to Roni Hira's spin, caught by Franklin.

Wright continued apace and the England worm was well above the rate required, but his skipper was unable to stick with him for long. Morgan was caught superbly in the slips by Taylor for seven, the former skipper taking it one handed off Ian Butler's bowling.

Bopara, who did well in the Champions Trophy final too (where the losing margin was also five runs), made sure everyone stayed on the edges of their seats as he and Jos Buttler pushed the chase again.

Buttler was run out for 17 in the penultimate over though, when wicketkeeper Latham scored a direct hit from the other side of the pitch.

Corey Anderson was given the final over, which required 16 runs from it, and when the first ball went for six, English hearts soared. But the medium pacer pulled it back well, and only singles were added after that as the Black Caps celebrated their win.

The second and final game will be played on Thursday 27 June, also at the Oval.

England: Alex Hales, Michael Lumb, Luke Wright, Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, James Tredwell, Jade Dernbach, Boyd Rankin

New Zealand: Hamish Rutherford, James Franklin, Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, Colin Munro, Ian Butler, Nathan McCullum, Corey Anderson, Kyle Mills, Roni Hira

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