Kiwis condemn England to another defeat
ENGLAND'S hopes of qualifying for the tri-series final have nosedived following a 12-run loss to New Zealand in Wellington.
A third successive defeat for the English, including two to Australia, means a trans-Tasman final will be assured if the Black Caps can beat Australia in Auckland on Friday.
The home side's 5-196 proved too steep at Westpac Stadium on Tuesday night, with an English chase that went in fits and starts, eventually ending at 9-184. A
blinding 47 off 24 balls from opener Alex Hales and 59 off 40 from Dawid Malan gave England some hope but they didn't get sufficient support as the required run rate steadily climbed.
The wickets of Hales, James Vince - who was guilty of lazy running and was caught out by Kane Williamson's sharp throw - and stand-in captain Jos Buttler in quick succession through the middle stages proved crucial.
Spinner Mitchell Santner, rated the world's premier T20I bowler, took 2-29 off his four and had Malan caught in the deep in the 17th over to further tighten the noose.
Earlier, Martin Guptill and captain Williamson blazed half-centuries after New Zealand were insertedon a pitch that played truly despite its patchy appearance.
Opener Guptill raced to 65 off 40 balls and Williamson accelerated late in his 72 off 46 as both put some modest form by their lofty standards behind them.
Newcomers Mark Chapman (20) and Tim Seifert (14 not out) provided the late fireworks on their international debuts.
Buttler said England were too loose early on and the target was 10-15 runs more than acceptable.
"We were just off with our skills.We probably didn't bowl as well as we could have and Guptill and Williamson put us under a lot of pressure," he said.
Williamson's spot has been under pressure after several ineffectual knocks in T20 internationals and his selection in the shortest form was called into question last week by former Black Cap Simon Doull.
Williamson responded with an innings that began cautiously but later flowered with four fours and four sixes, defying a back niggle that had made him a doubtful starter.
He wasn't flustered during his post-match interview with Doull. "You can write what you like, that's fine," Williamson said.
"Don't get me wrong, there's been a number of occasions recently where I've wanted to contribute more but it wasn't to be.
"It was nice to spend some time in the middle today to help our side get a good total."