* Spectacular performance says England captain after series win
* New Zealand blown off park in all departments (Adds quotes)
By Greg Stutchbury
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 that landed on the roof to win the match and bring up his half century, as the pair pushed England to victory in just 12.4 overs.
”The power the two openers have shown there was pretty spectacular,“ England captain Stuart Broad told reporters. ”What was it 12, 13 overs to chase down 140?
“We know that early wickets kill you in Twenty20 cricket so it was great to see the guys get used to the wicket and take their time for two or three overs and then once Alex Hales got going it looked hard to stop him.”
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 a six, a four and two more sixes in four successive deliveries to race towards the victory target on the drop-in pitch at Wellington Regional Stadium.
“We were blown off the park,” New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said. “Batting, bowling and fielding nowhere near the standard it needed to be. England were ruthless in their approach and thoroughly deserved their victory.”
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.
Broad finished with three for 15 from four overs, while Jade Dernbach also took 3-36, while Steve Finn was bristling aggression as he conceded just 18 runs from four overs.
”We knew the wicket would be good and outfield potentially a bit slow, but the way we started with the ball, the tone we set was fantastic,“ Broad said. ”We probably kept them to 20-30 (runs) under par.
“All round, probably the most powerful performance I have seen from an England side.”
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 John O‘Brien)