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Bell steers England to easy T20 win over Kiwis
June 14, 2008 01:55 IST
Bell's fluent innings was the highlight of a day in which England won a one-sided contest by nine wickets with 15 balls to spare at Old Trafford in Manchester.
The home side, replying to New Zealand's below-par 123 for nine on a pitch encouraging both pace and spin, reached 127 for one. Kevin Pietersen [Images] made 42 not out and put on 79 with Bell, who faced 46 deliveries and struck nine boundaries and one six.
"It was a fantastic performance, you can't ask for anything better, we hit our straps from ball one," Pietersen told Sky Sports. "What a great knock from Belly, he's a fantastic player who can hit boundaries from good cricket shots. We want to take this win into the one-day series now (on Sunday)."
New Zealand needed to make early breakthroughs and restrict England's scoring rate but they managed neither. Luke Wright (24) and Bell combined in an opening stand of 48 before Mark Gillespie had Wright caught at long-on.
England's top-ranked batsman Pietersen was then dropped before he had scored a run by Daniel Vettori [Images] off his own bowling, after shrewdly introducing himself early. The missed opportunity summed up the Kiwis' match.
After England won the toss, off-spinner Graeme Swann, who extracted significant turn, Stuart Broad and his fellow pace bowler James Anderson claimed two wickets each. Ross Taylor's 25 from 18 balls was his team's highest score.
Even New Zealand's most dangerous batsman Brendon McCullum (24) uncharacteristically failed to score until the seventh over. He also took 42 minutes to score his first boundary.
New Zealand's key all-rounder Jacob Oram [Images] had to be replaced by Peter Fulton shortly before the match after sustaining a hamstring injury. England won the three-Test series last week 2-0.