ALEX Hales and Michael Lumb’s record opening stand exemplified a series-clinching win which captain Stuart Broad described as the most “powerful” he has seen from an England Twenty20 team.
Hales (80no) and Lumb (53no) hit nine sixes between them as England made a nonsense of New Zealand’s 139 for eight, overhauling their target with more than seven overs – and ten wickets – to spare at the Westpac Stadium.
Their unstoppable hitting resulted in England’s highest opening partnership in the sprint format, and the second-best for any wicket. England, however, could have felt confident even before their openers got going that they had an outstanding chance of completing the 2-1 series victory after Broad had led from the front in an impressive demonstration of collective talent with the ball and in the field.
Only opener Martin Guptill (59) provided any substance for the hosts – and, albeit on a pitch which characteristically improved for batting in the second innings, his tally of one six and two fours paled in comparison to Hales and Lumb.
Broad was therefore able to reflect with satisfaction after England had done almost everything right. “All round, it was probably the most powerful performance I’ve seen from an England [Twenty20] side,” he said. “The result, and the way we adapted to the conditions with the ball, was brilliant. The fielding was strong as well, catches being held. It was a pretty perfect performance really.”
Hales and Lumb then merely emphasised England’s superiority and suitably impressed their club-and-country team-mate Broad in the process.
“We know early wickets ‘kill’ you in Twenty20,” he said. “So it was great to see the guys take their time and get used to the wicket a little bit for two or three overs. Then once Alex Hales got going, it looked hard to stop him.”
Broad deserves plenty of credit himself, having finished with three for 15 after he and new-ball partner Steven Finn in particular made life tough for the Kiwis.
It was all too much for New Zealand, whose captain Brendon McCullum said: “We were blown off the park tonight. [Our] batting, bowling and fielding was nowhere near the standards they need to be. England were ruthless and thoroughly deserved the series victory. There was some excellent hitting.”