Eng beat New Zealand to level series at 2-2

Sport360 staff 01:11 18/06/2015
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Eoin Morgan's 73-ball hundred led England to victory over New Zealand.

Eoin Morgan was centre stage as England breezed to a national record run chase of 350 to level the Royal London Series at 2-2 and set up a weekend decider against New Zealand.

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Morgan (113), passing 50 for the fourth successive time, is the architect-in-chief of England's new-found commitment to all-out attack in one-day international cricket.

It was appropriate therefore that he was the driving force with his 73-ball hundred – in a record third-wicket stand of 198 with Joe Root (106no) – as they made light of a target of 349 for seven at Trent Bridge.

England exceeded by 45 runs, and remarkably with six overs and seven wickets to spare, their previous highest total to win batting second – an achievement which takes them from also-rans in this category to near world leaders, with the joint fourth-highest chase of all time.

Morgan had his helpers – most significantly perhaps Alex Hales with a wonderful 67 from 38 balls on his home ground, and then Root.

Collectively, in this day-night fixture, they put notable opponents such as Kane Williamson (90), Martin Guptill (53) and Grant Elliott (55no) in the shade.

The prolific Williamson, and brutal late hitting from Elliott and Mitchell Santner, appeared to present England with a major challenge.

England let slip several half-chances, and one more clear-cut. But none was especially costly, Brendon McCullum escaping when Jos Buttler could not hold an inside edge off Mark Wood only to go caught-behind anyway in the same bowler's next over to end an opening stand of 88.

Ben Stokes got his reward with a slower ball, but Steven Finn chiefly responsible with a brilliant outfield catch – running 40 yards from mid-on to deep midwicket to hold a skier at full stretch.

Williamson and Taylor had just brought up their third successive century stand when Taylor missed a mow across a full ball from Finn and was lbw.

With the bat Root still needed a little luck, on nine, when Taylor never sighted a sharp catch at slip off Mitchell McClenaghan.

By the time Morgan accelerated to three-figures, England had reached a position from which it was no longer possible to envisage defeat.

Morgan eventually holed out at long-leg. But there was to be no late stumble, Root completing his century from 94 balls, and so a series already containing more than 2,600 runs will seek a suitably exhilarating conclusion at Chester-le-Street on Saturday.

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