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Match Coverage

The big six: Dawid Malan makes his case for World Cup selection

by Taha Hashim 5 minute read

Dawid Malan (103*) and Eoin Morgan (91) were brutal with the bat as England secured a 76-run win over New Zealand in Napier. Taha Hashim picks out six balls to tell the story.

Malan lets loose

10.2 Mitchell Santner to Dawid Malan, SIX

After 10 overs England looked solid if not spectacular on 88-2. Eoin Morgan had got going with 23 from 11 balls, while Dawid Malan was more watchful, having hit 24 from 20 balls.

On came the typically miserly Mitchell Santner, who had conceded five from his first two overs and taken the wickets of Jonny Bairstow and Tom Banton. This would be the over to decide the direction of England’s innings.

The switch flicked for Malan: Santner darted his second ball wide, and Malan’s slog-sweep sounded delightful – it didn’t look too bad either. He showed his range from the very next ball as Santner went across him again; this time, Malan decided to thump it past extra cover for four. New Zealand’s most reliable presence with the ball was suddenly under siege, and 20 runs came from the over. Malan and Morgan were up and running.

Morgan bumps Buttler down to second place

13.4, Tim Southee to Eoin Morgan, FOUR

Morgan’s batting often escapes credit, with any discussions surrounding him usually about captaincy. And while it’ll be Malan who takes the headlines with Friday’s performance, Morgan was brilliant himself.

His snappy hands and rubber wrists tortured poor Blair Tickner and when he carved Tim Southee for four in the 14th over, it brought up his half-century from just 21 balls. It was the quickest an England batsman has reached fifty in T20Is, edging out Jos Buttler’s 22-ball effort against Australia last year. It’s no mean feat surpassing Universe Jos.

Who would want to be a bowler?

16.3, Ish Sodhi to Dawid Malan, SIX

By the time Ish Sodhi returned to the attack for his third over, Malan and Morgan were salivating at the prospect of any ball coming their way. Having gone past fifty for the sixth time in his brief nine-match T20I career, Malan was set to go bigger and almost as if he had a napkin tucked into his shirt, his hands upright with knife and fork, he tucked into Sodhi for dinner.

There was a reverse-sweep for four and then a maximum over the leg side after he shifted across the stumps. The most boastful of shots came next as he advanced down the track and pummelled Sodhi over long-off. Malan single-handedly took 28 from the over and reached his century – the fastest by an Englishman in T20Is (48 balls) – from the final ball of the next over. Let’s get up those stats: Malan now averages 57.25 from nine T20Is at a strike rate of 156.31. A World Cup place beckons.

Guptill and Munro offer some hope

3.4, Chris Jordan to Martin Guptill, SIX

With Morgan and Malan putting on 182 together and England finishing on a mighty 241-3, to say New Zealand were in a spot of bother would have been quite the understatement. However, the Black Caps hold a mighty opening duo in the form of Colin Munro and Martin Guptill, and the pair made a good go of it early on in the reply.

While Munro took a liking to the Currans, Guptill put Chris Jordan through the wringer with back-to-back sixes in the fourth over. On 49-0 after four overs, a historic chase didn’t appear to be a laughable prospect. That all changed when Guptill launched a full toss into the hands of Malan at midwicket. Suddenly, the energy was zapped out of the match.

Slow and steady wins the race

6.5, Colin de Grandhomme, c Tom Banton b Matt Parkinson, 7 (3)

A leg-spinner on a ground with short boundaries in a run-fest of a match. And still, Matt Parkinson came up trumps. Colin de Grandhomme is one of the most dangerous six-hitters in world cricket and when Parkinson was deposited for six from the fourth ball of his first over, you wondered if this was going to be Malan-Sodhi all over again.

The young leggie showed why the hype around him is justified. He didn’t play it safe by going flat and quick; he stuck to his guns and showed some flight. De Grandhomme couldn’t resist another heave, but this time it wasn’t big enough. Banton’s safe hands in the deep did the rest.

The next ball saw Parkinson repeat his trick, and Munro was the victim, finding Pat Brown at midwicket. The Lancashire man added two more wickets to his haul later on and while he received some treatment from the flashing blade of Southee, his contribution was what was required from him. Wrist-spinners enter the fray to take wickets, and the early days of Parkinson’s international career are showing plenty of promise.

Nothing’s perfect

10.4, Matt Parkinson to Tim Southee, one run

It wasn’t the complete performance by England. Brown dropped a regulation chance at long-on when Southee attacked Parkinson, and a bit of silliness followed when Lewis Gregory failed to account for spin on the ball when running from behind square to make a stop at midwicket; he threw out one hand, but Southee collected four and Parkinson did not appear best pleased by what had occurred.

Brown’s tough night in the field continued when he hesitated under another high ball that dropped just short of him and beat his body on the way to the boundary. Nevertheless, Jordan – forever capable of delivering the spectacular – showed everybody the way with a direct hit from mid-off to send Sodhi on his way.

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