Hamilton: Captain Brendon McCullum scored 74 from 38 balls as New Zealand beat England by 55 runs in the second Twenty20 international on Tuesday to lock the three-match series at 1-1.
England crushed New Zealand by 40 runs in the first match in posting their highest-ever Twenty20 total of 214 for 7. But New Zealand wholly reversed that result at Seddon Park on Tuesday, making 192 for 6 after being sent in to bat and dismissing England for 137 in 19.3 overs.
The third and deciding match is at Wellington on Friday. McCullum hit five sixes and six fours, scoring at almost two runs per ball before being dismissed from the second-to-last ball of the innings.
He built on an outstanding start from openers Martin Guptill (47) and Hamish Rutherford (40), who put on 75 for the first wicket in 8.2 overs.
"Obviously the other night was disappointing for us and England blew us off the park," McCullum said. "But tonight I thought we played extremely well.
"I thought it was set up at the top of the order by Hamish and Mark and then with Mitchell (McClenaghan) and Trent (Boult). I thought overall tonight was a much better performance."
England won the toss and bowled, taking the unusual step of handing the first over to spinner James Tredwell. New Zealand took 10 runs from Tredwell's opening over and dashed to 47-0 after only five overs.
After 10 overs it was 84 for 1, having added only 37 for 1 from its second five overs, and after 15 overs it was 130 for 3, making 46 for 2 from its third five-over spell. But McCullum kept the score steadily ticking over. He hit three fours from the last three balls of Stuart Broad's second over - the 13th over of the innings - pulling one past fine leg, one past square leg and driving the third down the ground.
He then hit three sixes from Broad's last over, the 19th of the innings as New Zealand accelerated towards the close. Again, McCullum pulled two short deliveries over the boundary then, when Broad produced a perfect yorker, he stepped to leg and chipped it over extra cover.
With McCullum's efforts and Guptill's 47 from 31 balls, Rutherford's 40 from 18, England faced having to score its largest-ever total to win a Twenty20. Its previous highest successful run chase was 191 against India in Mumbai last year.
Its cause was severely damaged when young fast bowler McClenaghan dismissed Alex Hales and Luke Wright with the third and fourth balls of his first over - the second of the innings - to leave England 9 for 2.
After five overs, England were 25 for 3 and after 10 overs 47 for 5, having all but lost any chance of winning the match and taking the series with a game to spare. By 15 overs, England were 80 for 7 with Michael Lumb out for 17, Eion Morgan for 13, Jonny Bairstow for 8 and captain Stuart Broad for 1.
Only wicketkeeper Jos Buttler, who made 32 not out in the first match at Auckland, stood up to the New Zealand attack with an innings of 54, including a half-century from 28 balls. Buttler hit the only six of the England innings, drawing a striking contrast with the 15 sixes it hit at Auckland.
England's final wicket fell with three balls remaining. Recalled medium pacer Ian Butler produced an outstanding spell for New Zealand, taking 2 for 9 from four overs while James Franklin took 4 for 15, including the last wicket which was caught by Butler.
New Zealand's win ended a run of six-straight Twenty20 losses to England stretching back to 2007.
"We didn't play very well and credit to New Zealand, they played fantastically well," Broad said. "McCullum took the game away from us with the bat.
"We didn't execute our skills 100 percent tonight. Losing early wickets, we were always chasing the game from there."