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England v New Zealand ODI series

Twenty20 international, Old Trafford
England 127-1 bt New Zealand 123-9 by nine wickets

By David Ornstein

Ian Bell
Bell was short of form in England's Test series against New Zealand

Ian Bell hit a majestic half-century as England cruised to a nine-wicket triumph over New Zealand in their one-off Twenty20 game at Old Trafford.

Bell's 46-ball 60, featuring nine fours and one six, helped England to their target for the loss of just one wicket.

A highly disciplined bowling display had seen England reduce New Zealand to 123-9, their lowest Twenty20 score.

James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann took two wickets each before Bell and Kevin Pietersen (42) coasted home.

The pair capped an assured all-round performance from England, who will head into Sunday's opening one-day international at the Riverside in high spirits.

For Bell in particular, it was a timely return to form following a succession of disappointing displays with the bat during England's 2-0 victory over New Zealand in the recent Test series.

Coach Peter Moores's men will play only one more Twenty20 international, against South Africa on 20 August, before the winner-takes-all 10m match against Sir Allen Stanford's Super Stars in Antigua on 1 November.

About 500,000 per winning player will be at stake when England travel to the Caribbean and, although that figure stood a comparatively meagre 636 against the Kiwis, their desire to taste victory was apparent from the outside.

New Zealand suffered a setback before Friday's match started when all-rounder Jacob Oram damaged his left hamstring during the warm-up. He is likely to be out of action for up to 10 days.

Having won the toss England opted to bowl and, in the absence of Ryan Sidebottom, who was rested, the seam bowling responsibilities fell on the shoulders of Anderson (2-25) and Broad (2-17).

After Broad had contained the opposition to just one run off the opening over, Anderson had Jamie How snapped up at slip by Owais Shah with the second ball of the second.

New Zealand have played 15 Twenty20 internationals, more than any other country, but for James Marshall this was just a second innings in the game's shortest form and his inexperience quickly shone through.

Marshall hit a quick-fire 13 before continuing his poor form of late by kissing one behind when attempting to cut Broad through point.

One of the few New Zealand players to emerge from the Test series with his reputation enhanced, Ross Taylor, was quickly into his rhythm, crashing Broad for four and then Anderson for two fours and a six in the following over.

Taylor was one of four New Zealanders to play in the inaugural Indian Premier League season and his spell with the Bangalore Royal Challengers appeared to have paid off as he drove Luke Wright straight down the ground for a maximum in the seventh over.

But five balls later he succumbed when Paul Collingwood got one to nip back and rattle Taylor's middle stump.

Brendon McCullum, always likely to be integral to New Zealand's hopes of victory, was initially subdued in the face of some highly disciplined bowling.

He did open his shoulders to cut Collingwood for four and clubbed Wright for six over midwicket in a 23-ball knock of 24, but Wright then flummoxed the 26-year-old with a sublime yorker.

New Zealand's last six Twenty20 games all ended in defeat and it appeared to be heading that way once again after Peter Fulton was deceived by a Swann off-break which crept between bat and pad.

Under glorious early evening sunshine in Manchester, England's bowling and fielding was near-perfect but Collingwood missed a chance to make further inroads, putting down an awkward catch off Daniel Flynn's outside edge.

Stuart Broad is congratulated
Broad continued his impressive form of late with figures of 2-17
Flynn and Scott Styris failed to lift the run-rate above six an over before Styris was clean bowled by Broad and then Flynn stumped off Swann, who finished with 2-21.

Kyle Mills and Daniel Vettori lifted their team's run-rate but in the final over Anderson had Mills caught by Bell at long-on and the Michael Mason was run out off the last ball.

In Bell and Wright, England were auditioning their 10th different opening combination in 13 Twenty20 internationals.

Bell's one previous match as opener saw him make just 14 but he returned to form with 42 off 35 balls for Warwickshire against Glamorgan on Wednesday.

And the right-hander picked up where he left off in Cardiff with two boundaries off Mills' opening over.

Wright's explosive performances for Sussex hastened his interntional call-up last year but he has since failed to contribute big scores on the international stage.

Mills and Mark Gillespie were offering a fairly generous line and length but Wright's timing was poor early on and he was fortunate to escape when a top-edge off Gillespie could not be grasped by any of the three Kiwis closing in.

But after hitting Gillespie for a hat-trick of boundaries in the fourth over, Wright pulled Mason to Gillespie at long-on.

England should have been two down when Pietersen miscued a Vettori delivery but the ball sailed just above the New Zealand skipper's despairing leap.

From there on in, however, the England pair proved unstoppable and raced towards their target.

Bell lofted Mason for a sublime six over long-on and passed his highest Twenty20 international score before recording his 50 with a driven single.

Pietersen swatted Vettori for consecutive leg-side boundaries in the 15th over and then pulled Gillespie to the rope in the 16th.

Bell angled Flynn for four to put England within two runs of victory and, fittingly, he pulled Styris over midwicket to seal the win.

see also
England v NZ Twenty20 photos
13 Jun 08 |  England
Vaughan fear over Twenty20 event
08 Jun 08 |  Cricket
New Zealand in England in 2008
12 May 08 |  Cricket

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