WELLINGTON, Feb 15 (Reuters) - England’s opening batsmen Alex Hales and Michael Lumb made a mockery of the New Zealand bowling attack to guide the visitors to a 10-wicket win in their third Twenty20 international and a 2-1 series victory on Friday.
After England’s bowlers restricted New Zealand to 139 for eight, Hales blasted 80 off 42 balls while Lumb scored 53, including a six to win the match and bring up his half century, as the pair pushed England to victory in just 12.4 overs.
Much of England’s damage was done in the fifth over when Ian Butler lost his composure and sprayed the ball all over the wicket, yielding five wides, four leg byes and three further boundaries by Hales.
Hales then took to Mitchell McClenaghan in the 11th over, blasting four successive deliveries for six, four and two more sixes, to race to the victory target on the drop-in pitch at Wellington Regional Stadium.
Martin Guptill had anchored New Zealand’s innings, scoring 59 runs off 55 balls, but was forced to work the ball around rather than attack as wickets kept falling at the other end.
Guptill tried to force the pace at the end of New Zealand’s innings but was dismissed in the penultimate over to end any chance of the hosts posting a score in excess of 150.
England’s frontline pace bowlers were much more aggressive than in the second match in Hamilton and bowled short of a length, hurrying the New Zealand batsmen into mistimed pull and hook shots with the ball skying into the outfield.
Captain Stuart Broad finished with three for 15 from four overs, while Jade Dernbach also took three for 36, while Steve Finn was bristling aggression as he conceded just 18 runs from four overs.
England won the series after taking the first match in Auckland by 40 runs, while New Zealand won the second in Hamilton by 55 runs.
The first game of the three-match one day series will be in Hamilton on Sunday. (Editing by Peter Rutherford)