England tie with New Zealand in fourth ODI

New Zealand and England played out a dramatic tie in their fourth one-day international (ODI) at Napier on Wednesday.

Both teams finished on 340 runs, leaving New Zealand with a 2-1 lead in the series with one match to play.

England batted first and made 340-6 with four players scoring half-centuries. New Zealand lost seven wickets in their run chase with Jamie How top scoring with a superb 139 and Brendon McCullum making 58.

How was run out off the penultimate ball of the match, leaving the Kiwis requiring two runs off the final ball to win. However, captain Daniel Vettori could only manage a single off Luke Wright’s delivery, leaving the teams all square.

”It’s a game we should have comfortably won after the positions we put ourselves in,” Vettori told a news conference.

”We have to give some credit to the way England bowled in those last six overs — they way they hit their lengths was outstanding, but I think we just threw it away — we were fortunate to get the tie in the end.”

England captain Paul Collingwood thought his team’s impressive batting performance was all in vain as the Kiwis closed in on victory in the final few overs.

”With six of seven overs left we were dead and buried,” Collingwood said.

”You do fancy your chances when you put 340 on the board, but with the short boundaries you can’t count your chickens.”

Phil Mustard (83) and Alastair Cook (69) had given England the perfect start by putting on 158 for the opening wicket before they were dismissed in successive balls by Jesse Ryder.

Kevin Pietersen and Collingwood continued the attack. Pietersen’s 50 came off 47 balls and Collingwood smashed six sixes to finish unbeaten on 54 from 30 deliveries.

Vettori, who had sent England into bat after winning the toss, captured two wickets but it was a day when bowlers were very expensive.

New Zealand are one of only two teams to have chased more than 340 runs to win a one-day international, achieving that feat against Australia a year ago.

How struck 10 fours and three sixes in his 139, the highest score by a New Zealander in a one-day international against England, while McCullum smacked six fours and a six to lay the foundations for an epic encounter.

”It doesn’t feel as good now. It was a bit of blur out there and to be honest the focus was on the runs we needed,” How said.

”While it’s great to get a hundred it would have been nice to just chip a few more boundaries at the end.”

Wednesday’s match was only the 23rd tie recorded in one-day internationals but was the second between New Zealand and England at McLean Park in Napier. The teams played out another stalemate in 1997.

The final match of the series will be played in Christchurch on Saturday. — Reuters

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