All-rounder Andrew Flintoff lifted England to a drought-breaking three-wicket win over New Zealand in the triangular series one-day international yesterday.
England had to work hard to beat New Zealand's modest total of 205 and secure their first victory since arriving in Australia in early November.
Man of the match Flintoff hit 72 not out off 75 balls as England reached the required 206 runs with one ball to spare at Bellerive Oval.
England captain Michael Vaughan, who suffered from hamstring tightness during the match and is in doubt for Friday's game with Australia in Brisbane, said it was a relief to finally taste victory.
"It was an important day for us all, I knew we had to come out here and play a good game and I knew that we had to win today, just for the whole momentum of the tour," said Vaughan, who batted with a runner.
"We've had a tough tour, we haven't won any games," he said. "It's a huge game for us, we've got the season up and running, and we must take the momentum from this game into a big game against the Aussies on Friday."
But it wasn't easy for England.
When Ian Bell fell for 45, England was 138-5 and the game was in the balance. But Flintoff and Paul Nixon (15) put on 60 to guide their side to within eight runs to win before the latter was run out.
With 17 balls to go, victory seemed a formality, but New Zealand clawed their way back, leaving England chasing four runs in the last over.
Eventually, Flintoff picked up the winning run with a straight drive down the ground off part-time seamer Craig McMillan.
McMillan was needed as injury-plagued Kiwi fast bowler Shane Bond was off the field with back soreness during the latter stages of the England innings.
Flintoff, who also bowled impressively, batted with more restraint than usual and survived some anxious moments as the victory loomed.
In the 45th over, Flintoff just cleared New Zealand fieldsman Ross Taylor on the mid-wicket boundary from the bowling of Daniel Vettori.
With the game in the balance, Taylor was in a few meters from the fence and got a hand to the ball as he retreated, but it went for four.
In the 47th over, Flintoff was caught at mid-on from the bowling of Mark Gillespie, only for square-leg umpire Steve Davis to rule the waist-high full toss a no-ball.
The tight bowling of young Kiwi spinner Jeetan Patel, who took 2-34 and also fielded brilliantly, forced England to work hard for the win.
Earlier, seamer James Anderson took four wickets to give England an excellent chance of finally breaking their two-month drought.
As professional soccer returned to Denmark, fans used Zoom to be part of the action. Thousands of Danish soccer fans on Thursday logged on to the conferencing software and were transported to Ceres Park for a league match between AGF and Randers that heralded the resumption of the nation’s pandemic-affected soccer season. While the stadium itself was without fans, the faces of thousands of supporters who joined the Zoom call were shown on giant screens that ran along one side of the pitch. Families wearing club shirts and scarves cheered inside their living rooms. Some were seen clenching their fists in joy after
DRIVING AMBITION: ‘I was excited by playing at the Olympics ... Who knows what’s going to happen? Hopefully, I could have a chance to win a medal,’ Tiffany Chan said After just three tournaments this year, a chance of Olympic glory postponed and two weeks alone in quarantine, golfer Tiffany Chan could be forgiven for feeling sorry for herself. Instead, Hong Kong’s first LPGA Tour player is sporting a broad grin and taking the positives from the game’s COVID-19 shutdown, determined to establish herself in the fiercely competitive world of women’s golf. The talented 26-year-old kept herself fit physically and mentally during the lockdown, and is happy to be back on the fairways since the easing of coronavirus restrictions last month. “When I came back to Hong Kong [in March], I actually did
Eleven-year-old skateboarder Sky Brown, who is hoping to become Britain’s youngest Olympian next year, fractured her skull and broke bones in her left hand after falling from a ramp during a training session in California. Brown posted a video of the accident on Instagram, but reassured supporters that she was fine. “I don’t usually post my falls or talk about them ... but this was my worst fall. I just want everyone to know that it’s OK — don’t worry, I’m OK,” she said. “I’m going to push boundaries for girls with my skating and surfing. I’m going for gold in 2021
It is the land of the world champions, but is it really a soccer country? That is the question that some in France have been asking this week while its European neighbors work to bring the sport back after the COVID-19 shutdown. Debate has raged ever since Ligue 1 decided in late April to bring a premature end to the season with 10 rounds of matches unplayed. By contrast, two weeks have passed since the Bundesliga restarted, while Italian Minister for Sport Vincenzo Spadafora on Thursday confirmed that Serie A would return on June 20, and La Liga and the English Premier