LIVE – Updated at 10:03
Over-by-over report: England take on New Zealand at the Gabba in a match vital for their T20 World Cup fortunes. Join Geoff Lemon for updates.
3rd over: New Zealand 14-1 (Allen 8, Williamson 2) More spin in the Powerplay, with Adil Rashid brought on early. That works as well: Allen’s reverse hit for three is the only high-yield shot in the over, with six from it all up.
2nd over: New Zealand 8-1 (Allen 4) So that’s another win for England across the first two overs, with Kane Williamson heading to the middle to start the third.
WICKET! Conway c Buttler b Woakes 3 (9 balls), New Zealand 8-1
There’s the early one they needed! Chris Woakes bowls a poor ball, half-tracker on leg stump. Conway for reasons best known to himself decides to ramp it rather than baseball it out of the ground. He gets it very fine and Buttler dives across and makes up good ground to take the catch.
Or does he? There’s an umpire check before Conway leaves the ground. On the replay you can’t see if the ball hits the ground as Buttler lands, because his gloves were in the way. But he pretty much just gets up and lobs the ball back to the umpire rather than celebrating. There’s no visual of ball hitting ground, so the catch stands. Something feels a bit out of kilter about all of that.
WICKET! Stokes lbw Ferguson 8 (6 balls), England 176-6
WICKET! Buttler run out 73 (47 balls), England 162-5
What a passage of play that is! People have said that Ben Stokes needs to have an influence on England’s campaign, and he has here. Nails his cleanest shot of the tournament, lacing Southee, but straight at cover. Williamson stops the rocket, then has the presence of mind to hurl the throw to Southee near the stumps. Southee manages to catch that rocket, low and one handed, and swings his arm backhanded into the stumps. And Buttler is short of his ground! Backing up too far to regain safe territory. England’s best player of the night has been done in.
WICKET! Livingstone b Ferguson 20 (14 balls), England 153-3
1st over: New Zealand 4-0 (Allen 3, Conway 1) Here’s a surprise from Buttler: Moeen Ali opens the bowling. And it foxes New Zealand. They’re not expecting this. He bowls an outstanding over too, nearly getting Conway stumped with width, then burrowing one off the inside edge into pad, could have been caught or gone back onto the stumps. Only four runs from it! Early advantage England.
20th over: England 179-6 (Curran 6, Malan 3) Quite the over. A two and a one as Stokes swings and can’t get much of either. Curran does get hold of one! With Ferguson’s pace, the shot over midwicket beats the diving Santner on the rope and is parried over. It was going the distance anyway. But Curran doesn’t get another swing, because he gets a beamer and almost falls over evading it, then is called through for a bye. But Stokes can only get two runs from the free hit, a yorker well bowled, and then is out to the next one. Dawid Malan comes out after being bumped all the way down the order and clips the last ball for three, scrambling up and back and New Zealand keep misfielding. That’s a strike rate of 300 for the maligned first drop.
And there’s that target of 180 for New Zealand. Game on.
So a good score for England, but they didn’t take advantage of the start that Buttler and Hales gave them. They lost 4 for 23 in those last few overs, and it took the pace out of the innings even as Buttler was doing his utmost to keep it up. His run out at the non-striker’s end was more than a little symbolic.
Still! 180 is 180, it’s a tall task and it will take a big performance from New Zealand to keep being the only unbeaten team in the group.
Tom van der Gucht writes in. “It’s interesting what you were saying about England looking better on paper than in the flesh at the moment. It got me thinking about how quickly form can change within this format: two weeks ago, England were on a roll after dismantling Pakistan at home and taking down the Aussies in their own backyard only for the wheels to come off since.
“My general theory about cricket is that whatever hasn’t happened or hasn’t happened for a while is due to happen at some point, especially so in T20. This vaguely formed and nebulous spiritual cricketing philosophy became more solid in my mind during the test match summer when England kept beating the odds. According to my theory, NZ are due a loss and England as due a big win. Today, hopefully, will be that day it happens.”
I think I’m with you. Form is massively overstated, especially in this format, and gets confused with what is simply results. Good form and bad form does exist, but every streak of good or bad results gets classified as form.
“Good morning from a rainy Manchester, Geoff,” writes Matt Hobbs. A great city, send it my best. “An element of irony to that run chase, in my opinion. England were criticised for retaining their batting order against Ireland and yet left themselves short of a finisher or two in the dying moments after shunting Ali and Livingstone up.
“Stokes will have to bowl/field his socks off if the gamble in bringing him back into the T20 side isn’t going to look more unnecessary than it already does. Is it time for Adil Rashid to shrug off indifferent form and shine? Let’s hope so!”
Ladka emails in. “G’day Geoff. Has Australia really fallen out of love with cricket? I know AFL is big but these crowds have been quite shocking. Resembled English county grounds. Hopefully Buttler and Hales can take the game away from the Kiwis.”
Well, they kinda did. And looking out the window at the Gabba tonight, sure, I can see a lot of those seats with their distinctive vomitorium colour scheme, but it’s a huge ground and a very solid crowd in tonight. I’ll see if we get the official numbers later.
Drawing massive home audiences to neutral group was never especially likely, unless the likes of Sri Lanka or India are playing with big diaspora fanbases. So, no concerns from me about this crowd. Some of the other games have had far smaller ones, but again, a Bangladesh-Zimbabwe match isn’t going to be the biggest drawcard in town.
WICKET! Brook c Allen b Southee 7 (3 balls), England 160-4
19th over: England 163-5 (Stokes 3, Curran 0) After that malarkey, Stokes nudges a single to midwicket. With eight balls to go. In a T20 innings.
Curran seems to understand the format better. Has a heave, misses it, but gave it a go.
WICKET! Moeen Ali c Boult b Sodhi 5 (6 balls), England 108-2
Well, Moeen was there to hit the leg-spinner, so he hits the leg-spinner. A long way, to be fair. High into the night. But the deep midwicket pocket at the Gabba just gives Trent Boult enough room to move around the rope and hold the catch just inside the boundary, in front of a pocket of New Zealand fans.
17th over: England 148-2 (Buttler 72, Livingstone 16) Add a near run-out to Livingstone’s list, sprinting in at the non-striker’s end to beat Boult in taking the bails. A direct hit would have had him. But that brings Buttler on strike, and he simply flat-bats Boult down the ground and over the small sightscreen. Boult ends up conceding 11 off the over, and 0 for 40 from his night. Pop a tick in that column for England.
18th over: England 154-3 (Buttler 73, Brook 1) Only six from the Ferguson over, including the four that Livingstone lapped before the one who got him out.
Robert Lewis says he used to work in a West End pub (that’s the Brisbane version of West End) and is now writing from sunny Istanbul. “How many do you reckon England need to be able to get the vital win here?”
At least 180 to feel comfortable, with New Zealand’s power up top. But of course much lower scores can be defended with early wickets.
16th over: England 137-2 (Buttler 64, Livingstone 13) A decent start for Southee in the over, but from the fifth ball Livingstone finally gets onto one. Higher than it is long, but it’s plenty long enough, a straightforward swing over midwicket that ends up in the seats. Then another miscue that’s nearly caught, landing in between cover and long off in another lucky break for England. A dozen from the over.
WICKET! Hales st Conway b Santner 52 (40 balls), England 81-1
One ball after raising his fifty with a nick to the boundary, Hales can’t survive the next mistake. Fast and very wide from Santner, outside the tram tracks, and a charging Hales can’t get the toe of the bat to it. Conway beats him home, and the ball is called wide but you can still get out to one of them…
15th over: England 125-2 (Buttler 61, Livingstone 4) No such problems against pace! Buttler absolutely hammers Boult dead straight, and a younger Tim Southee might once have sprinted across to save that, but this version didn’t look entirely keen to take off with the afterburners blazing. Four runs there, four more from a pull shot to a ball that isn’t super short. Livingstone is nearly caught from a skied top edge, but again Williamson running back from cover can’t reach it. Boult tries the slower bouncer to end the over and keeps Livingstone to one.
4th over: England 25-0 (Buttler 8, Hales 16) Time to tempt and test England with spin… and Mitchell Santner does an excellent job! The left-armer spears the ball through, racing through his over before Hales can blink. After a Buttler single, it takes four balls for Hales to get off strike via a leg bye. Buttler follows by dropping two in the leg side.
6th over: England 48-0 (Buttler 8, Hales 37) Almost a blinder from Williamson! Buttler backs away and slashes Santner over the off side. Williamson runs back with the flight of the ball and dives full length. Gets it in both hands, spills into the air, and it hits the ground as he lands before bouncing back into his hands while he slides forward. He gets up and signals to the umpire that it might be a catch but he isn’t sure. They check the replay and confirm the bobble off the grass. Most surprisingly, England didn’t even take a run. Buttler had just started walking off. The over ends up costing eight runs, with a Hales pull for four.
End of the Powerplay, Hales has made it a great one for England.
14th over: England 110-2 (Buttler 50, Livingstone 1) It is Livingstone to come in next… and he pokes around for three balls to get off strike against Sodhi. Buttler drives a single to raise his fifty, but only two runs from the wicket-taking over. New Zealand’s spinners have gone for 48 from 48 balls and taken two wickets along the way.
13th over: England 108-1 (Buttler 49, Moeen 5) Big moment: Ferguson comes back on, fast and short and hooked by Buttler, flat to deep midwicket, where Daryl Mitchell drops the catch! It was travelling, but it was straight at him, hits his hands so hard that it bounces off. The crowd groans and exults in equal measure. And Buttler cashes in: a flat smack over mid off for four, then a tennis forehand against a slower bouncer, reading it and waiting to flip it over mid on. Add that to the boundary that he started the over with, another down to mid off, and he takes 14 from the lucky over.
12th over: England 94-1 (Buttler 36, Moeen 4) Sodhi to Buttler, carbon copy of the previous over: the tucked two, the reversed four. This time the boundary is more top edge than middle. Once Moeen gets on strike he doesn’t try anything huge, just dinks a couple to midwicket into the large gap there. Can’t beat point with his attempted cut.
11th over: England 85-1 (Buttler 29, Moeen 2) Moeen sent to the crease rather than Livingstone, presumably given there are spinners operating. That’s despite Livingstone spending the drinks break running the boundary line like Rocky, swinging his bat furiously to warm up. Four singles from the over after the early boundary. And the wicket ball wasn’t called a wide after all, which seems… well, incorrect, at least.
Also great to spend the drinks break watching some capering characters on the video screen showing us how to use the bottle recycling machines brought to us by Aramco – from memory, the oil company responsible for 4.4% of all human carbon emissions since 1965.
10th over: England 77-0 (Buttler 27, Hales 48) More initiative from Buttler against Sodhi this time, walking at him to flick two runs to leg, then reversing four over backward point. Now when they tuck singles they’re doing it off a scoring base for the over. Ten off it. Drinks break, because of course it is. And Liam Livingstone is padded up.
9th over: England 67-0 (Buttler 19, Hales 46) Santner has a change of ends to bowl with Stanley Street at his back, twinning up with Sodhi, and he bowls really well to begin with. A fast one to beat Hales on the advance, then one that turns past the edge as Hales stays back. A couple of singles, then Hales drives two to deep cover. Another great over to back up Sodhi’s.
8th over: England 61-0 (Buttler 18, Hales 41) More spin, with Ish Sodhi’s leg-breaks from the Vulture Street End. Caution from Hales to start, tucking a sharp single where a direct hit might have had Buttler struggling. Three runs from the over, two from the bat.
7th over: England 58-0 (Buttler 18, Hales 39) This is the good England today. Lockie Ferguson comes on, bowling right-arm rapid, and Buttler knows how to deal with that. Gets in position, plays the ramp shot, and sends it for six! A few singles round out the over.
1st over: England 9-0 (Buttler 3, Hales 6) Trent Boult to start off, the left-armer swinging the ball into the right-handed Buttler., who misses the first ball but clips the next for three along the ground to midwicket, saved by a sliding Mitchell. “Best start by an England opener at the Gabba in the last 12 months,” comes the dry aside from next to me. Hales gets some luck with an inside edge to fine leg for four. Follows up by using the full face, two runs through cover.
5th over: England 40-0 (Buttler 8, Hales 31) Whomp! Hales decides to flick the switch. Skips out a little to make room and flat-bats Southee down the ground for six. Misses the next ball, then cracks two in a row over cover for four! The second flatter and faster than the first, just above the hands of the leaping fielder. Hales backing away to make room, that’s serious hand-eye ability as he swings through the line of those balls. Southee manages to defuse the situation from the last two balls and avoid a truly massive over.
3rd over: England 21-0 (Buttler 5, Hales 16) That’s what England needs! Some audacity from Hales. The ball isn’t exactly overpitched from Boult, it’s just slightly on the fuller side, but Hales stands still, gets under it, and lifts it over mid off for four. It flips an otherwise excellent over that has only conceded one from the first five balls.
2nd over: England 16-0 (Buttler 4, Hales 12) That’s two obstacles negotiated: the opening over from each of the New Zealand quicks. Southee doesn’t produce his very best, giving Hales a shorter ball to shovel away via a pragmatic pull shot for four. Then taps two more to the other side of the pitch.
England win the toss and bat
That is an interesting call from Jos Buttler. England are often so good chasing, knowing what is ahead of them and mowing it down. But he says that with a used surface, they want to set a total. It may also have to do with avoiding Boult and Southee under lights, when swing may be more pronounced. So it will be Buttler and Hales to the middle in half an hour.
Unchanged for England from their Ireland loss.
EnglandJos Buttler * +
Devon Conway +
Kane Williamson *
Hello around the world from a very pleasant evening at the Gabba, as England’s T20 World Cup hopes hang in the balance. Heavy rain this morning had some people worried, but in Brisbane the rain tends to pass through quickly, and the skies were clear and sunny by the afternoon. Sri Lanka and Afghanistan have just played out their match without trouble, and the two teams for the evening fixture are warming up in the late daylight.
New Zealand can lock in top spot with a win tonight, and the way they have been going, who would argue against them? If it isn’t Finn Allen and Devon Conway making runs at the top of the order, it’s Tim Southee and Trent Boult wrecking teams with the new ball.
England, meanwhile, staggered to a win over Afghanistan and lost to Ireland, while evading Australia thanks to a washout. They’re an excellent team on paper while looking less convincing on grass in the last couple of weeks. Tonight is when they need to turn all that around. With a spot of paraphrasing, fearless cricket has been the mantra of the modern England white-ball team. They’ll need some.