England vs New Zealand 4th ODI: Morgan and Root level series at 2-2

Morgan was named Man of the Match for scoring 113

Morgan was named Man of the Match for scoring 113

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

After losing the last two ODIs and facing the threat of giving up an unassailable 3-1 lead, England were all business during the fourth ODI in Nottingham as they chased down their highest total in ODI history to batter New Zealand by seven wickets.

England captain Eoin Morgan, who had scored half-centuries in the first three ODIs, kept his red-hot streak alive by making his first ODI century since January 2015.

Batsman Joe Root, who has been in tremendous form throughout the series, supported Morgan beautifully as he scored his second hundred of the ODI series after having made 104 during England’s record-breaking 210-run win in the first ODI at Edgbaston.

However, New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson, all-rounder Grant Elliott and opener Martin Guptill all deserve a lot of credit for scoring 90, 55 not out and 53 respectively.

New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum would have been pleased with his decision to bat first, especially after he and Guptill amassed an 88-run partnership before he was caught behind off the bowling of Mark Wood for 35.

Guptill went on to make 53 off 66 balls, which included eight boundaries and a six, before Williamson and Taylor took over.

Guptill scored a valiant 53

Guptill scored a valiant 53

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Williamson and Ross Taylor put New Zealand back in the driver’s seat with their 101-run stand, during which Williamson brought up his half-century.

However, just as their partnership had surpassed the triple figure mark, Taylor was given out lbw off the bowling of Steven Finn for 42 before Williamson followed soon after when he was caught by Adil Rashid at mid-on off the bowling of David Willey.

Williamson’s magnificent knock of 90 came off just 70 balls and included 12 boundaries and a six.

Williamson was New Zealand's top-scorer with 90 runs

Williamson was New Zealand’s top-scorer with 90 runs

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Despite losing wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi soon after, Elliott and Mitchell Santner counter-attacked with a 71-run partnership, during which Elliott registered his half-century, before Santner’s entertaining innings of 44 off 19 balls was brought to an end when he was caught by Sam Billings at deep cover off the bowling of Ben Stokes.

Elliott ended up remaining unbeaten on 55 off 52 deliveries, which included four boundaries and three sixes, as New Zealand finished on 349/7 off their 50 overs.

Elliott made a gutsy 55

Elliott made a gutsy 55

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Willey and Stokes picked up two wickets apiece, while Finn, Wood and Rashid chipped in with one wicket each.

Needing 350 runs to keep the series alive, England got off to a superb start as openers Alex Hales and Jason Roy put together a 100-run partnership, during which Hales recorded his half-century, before he was clean bowled by Matt Henry for 67 off 38 balls, which included seven boundaries and four sixes.

Hales ensured England got off to a brilliant start

Hales ensured England got off to a brilliant start

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

England were dealt another blow just two overs later when Roy was caught by Williamson at extra cover off the bowling of Henry for 38.

But, everything changed from this point as Morgan and Root hammered the New Zealand bowling attack all over the ground during their record-breaking 198-run partnership, during which Morgan brought up his eighth ODI century, and Root his half-century.

Morgan and Root’s 198-run stand is now the highest by an England pair for any wicket in ODIs against New Zealand.

With England cruising to victory, New Zealand finally got the breakthrough they so sorely needed when Morgan was caught by Henry at fine leg off the bowling of Tim Southee.

Morgan’s superb innings of 113 came off 82 balls and included 12 boundaries and five sixes.

However, that was the last taste of success New Zealand would have for the rest of the match as Root and Stokes finished things off with an unbeaten 41-run partnership, during which Root scored his sixth ODI century.

Root ended up finishing unbeaten on 106 off 97 balls, which included 13 boundaries, while Stokes remained undefeated on 19 off 12 deliveries, which included two boundaries and a six.

Root celebrates after scoring his sixth ODI century

Root celebrates after scoring his sixth ODI century

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Henry was the most successful bowler with two wickets, while Southee claimed one.

McCullum admitted that his side had been outplayed, and said: “Incredible run chase, I thought we had a whole lot of runs on the board but we have been blown off the park. We need to be a bit better. We lacked a bit of accuracy with the ball and against good players there is no room for error. Trent is a big loss but we’re still confident with the attack we’ve got, we just weren’t good enough.

“I was confident with 349 on the board, I didn’t think the wicket would play as good as it did, they got off to a great start and we weren’t able to drag them back. Throughout 50 overs you are always going to have a lull, we had that in the Powerplay but still, I thought we had enough runs up. Eoin is a champion bloke and in the form of his life, credit to him. We came here to try to win this series and I’m sure there’s one more cliffhanger to come. Just thanks also to Steve Davis, he’s been an outstanding custodian of the game.”

Morgan, who was named Man of the Match, was ecstatic to have levelled the series up at 2-2 with one game left, and said: “Full credit to the boys, we set the tone early playing unbelievable cricket. We thought their score was 25 over par but we played out of our skins. I thought our bowling was reasonable, we tried to be flexible and change our plans and angles but we got together after drinks and said if we can keep them to around 340 we can chase that down.

“Woody and Finn were outstanding. The carefree attitude is helping my batting, concentrating on the process rather than the result and I’ve really enjoyed going up to No. 4. I still think the style is most important than the result now up at Durham. It’s very encouraging at the moment.”

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