England will need to chase 203 to secure an unassailable 3-0 lead in their four-match T20 series with New Zealand after Finn Allen and Glenn Phillips scored half-centuries at Edgbaston.
Southern Brave batter Allen smashed Adil Rashid for three consecutive maximums on his way to an excellent 83 and Phillips backed up the opener with 69 off 34 balls in the third T20 of the four-match series in Birmingham.
The duo put on 88 for the third wicket and it propelled New Zealand to 202 for five with Gus Atkinson the pick of England’s bowlers with two for 31, while Liam Livingstone was smashed for 55 from his four overs.
Total on the board at Edgbaston! 🏏
An 88-run partnership between Finn Allen (83) and Glenn Phillips (69) leading the charge. Follow play LIVE in NZ on @tvnz 2 and TVNZ+ 📺 or @senz_radio 📻 LIVE scoring https://t.co/ARcw94RX12 📲 pic.twitter.com/OAkkwUFi8q
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) September 3, 2023
Jos Buttler made two changes from Friday’s comprehensive win with Brydon Carse and Sam Curran the duo to miss out, while Chris Jordan was given his first international outing of the summer.
Luke Wood had played in Wednesday’s series opener at the Riverside and earned a recall, but Allen was able to inflict more punishment on the quick with two classy drives for four in his opening over.
The breakthrough did arrive in Atkinson’s second over through smart fielding by Moeen Ali and poor New Zealand running.
Allen spliced over the inner ring of fielders and wanted three runs, but Moeen raced in from deep and produced a flat throw which was perfect for Buttler, who whipped off the bails to send Devon Conway back for nine.
We have our first wicket! 💥
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) September 3, 2023
Black Caps opener Allen responded by driving Jordan for the first maximum of the match, but number three Tim Seifert struggled with his timing and received a life on nine when his slog sweep off Liam Livingstone was put down by Will Jacks.
It was a short-lived reprieve with Liam Livingstone’s turning delivery in his next over beating Seifert’s outside edge and unbalancing him enough to be stumped by Buttler for 19.
Allen continued on his merry way and after he hit Rashid for six, Livingstone was dealt with in a similar fashion and this latest maximum for the New Zealand batter brought up his half-century off 35 deliveries.
Rashid had managed to tie up an end and only went for 23 from his first three overs, but Allen sent him out of the attack with a bang after three successive sixes in the 15th over.
The first maximum was hit high over deep extra cover and Allen showed his range with another through cow corner before a stand and deliver shot down the ground moved him up to 77.
A second T20 century appeared in sight for Allen but his fine innings ended when he attempted one more big shot and lost his off stump to Wood’s inswinging yorker to walk off for an excellent 83.
Black Caps number four Phillips had provided able support to Allen in a crucial 88-run partnership and upped the ante following the opener’s departure with Livingstone’s final over smashed for 22.
Phillips pulled the all-rounder for back-to-back maximums before the last ball of the 18th over was driven for another six, but Atkinson concluded his fun.
The Surrey quick returned at the end and produced an excellent 77 miles per hour slower ball to dismiss Phillips for 69 before he accounted for Daryl Mitchell caught behind to end with respectable figures of two for 31 from his allotted overs.
Jordan wrapped up the innings by conceding nine with New Zealand setting England 203 for a series-clinching victory in Birmingham.