New Zealand’s thrilling tour of England drew to a close on Tuesday night, but they would leave British shores without a series win in any of the formats, as the hosts sealed victory in the one-off T20 international at Old Trafford.
Joe Root produced a sublime 45-ball 68 earlier in the day, among useful contributions here and there for the hosts to post a competitive 191-7, and despite lethal knocks from Brendan McCullum and Kane Williamson, his teammates failed to follow suit as they fell 56 runs short of the mark.
England chose to bat first and Jason Roy got them off to the best possible start. Despite not scoring double figures all year in the format, he smashed two sixes off Mitchell McClenaghan, before a run that wasn’t there led to his demise as he fell short of his crease for 23.
Alex Hales built on Roy’s start and amassed 51 with Root, before Hales skied one, which McCullum did well to hold on to.
The middle overs were patchy from the English as Johnny Barstow and skipper Eoin Morgan fell cheaply, but Root struck the ball as sweetly as ever, and cruised to a second T20i half-ton.
Sam Billings and Ben Stokes played handy roles in pushing the run-rate near ten an over towards the end of the innings, to eventually finish on 191-7.
Skipper McCullum opened the batting in a T20I for the first time since 2011, but he was forced to look on from the other end as David Willey, on debut, sent down a gem of a delivery to clean bowl Martin Guptill. McCullum then unleashed however, and struck four sixes.
His innings would come to an end when he chopped the ball on to his stumps. His 35 runs came off just 15 balls, but McCullum didn’t do enough to have a decisive impact, something England have contained well throughout the Black Caps’ tour.
ODI Player of the Series Kane Williamson then put on 41 with Ross Taylor to remain well-set, but Taylor departed for 17, triggering a complete collapse.
Williamson’s valiant 57 came to an end when he was run out, spelling the end of their challenge. The last seven wickets fell for just 46 runs, prompting further celebrations for the English, days after winning the ODI series 3-2. They drew the Test series 1-1.