Sun, Jun 15, 2008 - Page 20 News List

Bell and Pietersen crush the Black Caps

AFP , MANCHESTER, England

New Zealand’s Ross Taylor, right, is bowled by England’s Paul Collingwood as wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose looks on during their International Twenty20 match at Old Trafford in Salford, England, on Friday.

PHOTO: AFP

Ian Bell responded to the challenge of opening with an unbeaten 60 as England thrashed New Zealand by nine wickets in their Twenty20 international at Old Trafford on Friday.

Bell, normally a middle-order batsman and often accused of not making runs when they are needed, produced a chance-less innings.

Together with Kevin Pietersen, dropped on a duck by New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori, he saw England to their modest target of 124 with 15 balls to spare.

Pietersen finished on 42 not out, at just over a run-a-ball, and shared an unbroken stand of 79 with Bell in 12 overs as New Zealand lost their seventh straight Twenty20 international.

By contrast, this was England’s third consecutive Twenty20 victory against the Black Caps after two wins in New Zealand in February.

New Zealand’s total of 123 for nine was their lowest in 15 Twenty20 matches after they had lost the toss on a lively Old Trafford pitch.

Fast bowler Stuart Broad led England’s attack with two wickets for 17 runs and off-spinner Graeme Swann had two for 21.

England have struggled for a reliable opening batsman in limited overs cricket since the international retirement of Marcus Trescothick.

But Luke Wright and Bell, England’s 10th different first-wicket pair in 14 limited overs matches, got the run-chase off to a rapid start with a stand of 48 which left the hosts needing under a run-a-ball for victory.

Pietersen had a lucky break when, on nought, he saw Vettori drop a high, one-handed, caught and bowled chance in the left-arm spinner’s first over.

Bell’s single off Mark Gillespie took him through to a 39-ball 50, with one six and seven fours, before his boundary off Scott Styris ended the match.

New Zealand saw several batsmen get a start but no-one pushed on, with 25 from Ross Taylor the top score.

England did not have to wait long for a wicket.

Anderson struck with his first ball when Jamie How was caught by Owais Shah at first slip and Collingwood — with his fourth ball — bowled Taylor between bat and pad.

Wright, punished by Brendon McCullum for bowling short, made amends by yorking the New Zealand danger-man for 24 to leave the Black Caps 67 for four — a position from which they never recovered.

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