Hard-hitting Hales and Lumb seal England series win

England sealed a Twenty20 series win over New Zealand with victory in Wellington. It was one of the most comprehensive results ever witnessed in this form of the game, with England’s bowlers in devastating form and the opening batsmen Alex Hales and Michael Lumb knocking off the required 140 runs with more than seven overs to spare.

It was a remarkable recovery after England had slumped to defeat in the second match of the series, in Hamilton. This time the bowlers Steven Finn, Stuart Broad and Jade Dernbach found line, length and pace and the New Zealand batsmen were unable to live with them. Broad’s form in particular will encourage England fans ahead of the Test series. His bowling was aggressive and intelligent, suggesting he is back to his intimidating best.

If the bowlers were impressive, the batsmen were coolly dismissive, hammering boundary after boundary. Sloppy New Zealand fielding reprieved Lumb and Hales on a couple of occasions, but they took advantage ruthlessly, hitting nine sixes between them. It was England’s highest-ever opening partnership in Twenty20.

"All round, it was probably the most powerful performance I've seen from an England side," Broad said. "The result, and the way we adapted to the conditions with the ball, was brilliant. The fielding was strong as well, catches being held. It was a pretty perfect performance really."

Broad pointed out that Hales and Lumb had weighed up the situation before choosing to attack. "We know early wickets kill you in Twenty20," he said. "So it was great to see the guys take their time and get used to the wicket a little bit for two or three overs. Once Alex Hales got going, it looked hard to stop him. Some of the sixes were huge."

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum admitted, "We were blown off the park tonight. The batting, bowling and fielding was nowhere near the standards they need to be - and England were ruthless, and thoroughly deserved the series victory."

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