Eoin Morgan and Joe Root lead England to extraordinary win over New Zealand
A pair of brilliant hundreds from skipper Eoin Morgan and Joe Root led England to a comprehensive seven-wicket victory over New Zealand in the fourth One-Day International (ODI) at Trent Bridge in Nottingham on Wednesday. Courtesy of their win, England have levelled the series 2-2 going into the fifth and final ODI at Chester-le-Street, Durham, on Saturday. It was also their highest ever successful run chase in ODI history and the 4th highest in all.
Chasing a target of 350, England got off to a dazzling start with openers Alex Hales and Jason Roy stitching together a partnership of 100 for the opening wicket. Hales, in particular, was in a completely destructive mood as he smashed 67 from just 38 balls before walking back to the pavilion.
Once Hales and Roy were dismissed, the New Zealanders would have felt that they can bring the scoring rate down and claw their way back into the game, but Morgan and Root just proved too good on the day. They notched up a 198-run partnership for the third wicket and all but ensured England a victory that they will savour for a long time to come.
Talking about the victory, Morgan said: "It's certainly up there with one of the best games of cricket I've ever played in. The boys showed that aggressive intent right from the get-go."
Brendon McCullum, meanwhile, was all praise for the England batsmen and felt that there was very little they could have done to help have a different outcome.
"It was an incredible run chase," he said. "We knew they were going to have to play well to beat us and play well they did. They blew us off the park again."
Earlier in the day, New Zealand had themselves put on a fantastic batting display with Kane Williamson, who scored 90 from 70 balls and became the fastest New Zealand batsman to reach 3000 ODI runs in the process, being the star of the show. He got able support from the likes of Martin Guptill and Grant Elliott, as the Black Caps posted a score of 349 for 7 from their 50 overs. On a pitch where most of the bowlers were found wanting, Mark Wood was clearly the pick of the bowlers with figures of 1 for 49 from his 10 overs.
New Zealand 349 for 7 in 50 overs (Martin Guptill 53, Kane Williamson 90, Grant Elliott 55*; David Willey 2 for 89, Ben Stokes 2 for 73) lost to England 350 for 3 in 44 overs (Alex Hales 67, Joe Root 106*, Eoin Morgan 113; Matt Henry 2 for 77) by 7 wickets.