London: England go into the second Twenty20 against New Zealand of the two-match series with the hope of leveling the series at The Oval on Thursday after being defeated by five runs in the first at the same venue.
The hosts didn't do that bad either in the first match where they were expected to be mowed down easily by an experienced New Zealand side. But the new looking England side comprising of youngsters put up an inspired show to almost pull off a win. New Zealand batting first put up a massive 201 on the board riding on the knocks by Hamish Rutherford (62) and Brendon McCullum (68).
Coming out for the chase, England started off well with both the openers - Michael Lumb and Alex Hales getting starts. However, the crucial 34-ball 52 from Luke Wright at first down and Ravi Bopara's 30 down the order nearly took the game away from the visitors.
Boosted by the return of Kevin Pietersen, England will hope to level the two-match Twenty20 series against New Zealand at The Oval.
However, England would be a satisfied unit considering their performance and in the second T20 will stay assured with the return of Kevin Pietersen. For England, bowling will remain their major concern as the bowlers conceded runs and that can be attributed to their lack of experience. Boyd Rankin (1 for 24) in his debut match impressed with his bowling and so also Jade Dernbach (1 for 31) coming into the match at the back of poor form.
Much was expected from James Tredwell but he went for runs and in the final match he needs to come up with better show being the lead spinner of the team. Surely Kevin Pietersen with his offspinner can fill in couple of overs.
On the other hand New Zealand are the favourites to clinch the series and just need to show the same amount of intensity in the decider. The batting looks to be in great shape with Rutherford and McCullum looking to continue in same vein. Moreover, the other batsmen following them are contributing to the team scorecard. Mitchell McClenaghan has been the revelation with the ball and will be leading the attack, supported well by Ian Butler and Nathan McCullum.
If England manage to sneak in a win to level the series then that will usher in a change for the youngsters who aim to make a mark for themselves and also provide options for the selectors in the shorter formats.
England: 1 Michael Lumb 2 Alex Hales, 3 Luke Wright, 4 Eoin Morgan, 5 Kevin Pietersen, 6 Ravi Bopara, 7 Jos Butler, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 James Tredwell, 10 Jade Dernbach, 11 Boyd Rankin
New Zealand: 1 Hamish Rutherford, 2 James Franklin, 3 Brendon McCullum, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Tom Latham, 6 Colin Munro, 7 Ian Butler, 8 Nathan McCullum, 9 Corey J Anderson, 10 Mitchell McClenaghan, 11 Ronnie Hira