New Zealand vs England 4th ODI: Taylor’s career-best 181* levels series at 2-2

Ross Taylor 181 not out New Zealand England 4th ODI Dunedin cricket

Ross Taylor celebrates after scoring his 19th ODI century

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Veteran New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor walloped a career-best 181 not out to lead his side to an incredible five-wicket win over England in a high-scoring affair in Dunedin.

Not only was Taylor’s knock the fourth-highest score by a batsman in an ODI chase, but it was also the highest by a New Zealand player.

Being put in to bat first, England made an excellent start to their innings as openers Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy amassed a 77-run partnership before Roy was dismissed by Ish Sodhi for 42.

Bairstow and Joe Root kept the runs flowing with a 190-run partnership, during which Bairstow brought up his hundred and Root his fifty.

Jonny Bairstow 138 New Zealand England 4th ODI Dunedin cricket

Jonny Bairstow struck his third ODI hundred

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With England in complete control, New Zealand launched a superb comeback, starting with the wicket of Bairstow, who was caught by Tim Southee at short third man off the bowling of Colin Munro for 138, which came off 106 balls and included 14 boundaries and seven sixes.

England completely collapsed after Bairstow’s dismissal as they went from 267/2 to being reduced to 288/7.

However, Root kept fighting during this period and went on to score 102 off 101 deliveries, which included six boundaries and two sixes, before he was caught behind off the bowling of Southee.

Joe Root 102 New Zealand England 4th ODI Dunedin cricket

Joe Root scored his 11th ODI century

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With Tom Curran smashing a 10-ball 22 towards the end of the innings, England finished on 335/9 off their 50 overs.

Sodhi was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets, while Munro and Trent Boult snapped up two wickets apiece. As for Southee, he chipped in with one wicket.

Chasing 336 to win, New Zealand found themselves in trouble early on as Munro was given out lbw off the bowling of Mark Wood on the seventh ball of the innings.¬†Munro opted to review the decision, but it didn’t change the on-field decision.

Martin Guptill was on his way back to the pavilion the very next over as he was caught by Ben Stokes at mid-off off the bowling of Chris Woakes for a duck.

Taylor and captain Kane Williamson began the rebuilding process by putting together an 84-run partnership before Williamson was caught behind off the bowling of Stokes for 45.

Despite the loss of Williamson, New Zealand continued to take the fight to England as Taylor and wicketkeeper Tom Latham forged a 187-run partnership, during which Taylor surpassed his hundred and Latham his half-century.

Tom Latham 71 New Zealand England 4th ODI Dunedin cricket

Tom Latham made his 11th half-century in ODI cricket

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With the Black Caps having clawed their way back into contention, Curran took out Latham for 71, which came off 67 balls and included two boundaries and three sixes.

Even though Colin de Grandhomme fell shortly after, Taylor carried his side across the finish line with three balls to spare.

Taylor ended up making 181 off 147 deliveries, which included 17 boundaries and six sixes.

Curran was the most successful bowler with two wickets, while Woakes, Wood and Stokes claimed one wicket each.

England captain Eoin Morgan was gutted to have lost, and said: “A beauty of a game. I’m sure everyone was thoroughly entertained. A high-scoring game, and a magnificent wicket. I thought there was more moisture at the toss. I would have done exactly what Kane did. We got into a really commanding position. We lost 4 for 20 or 25 which we cannot afford to do. 335 was a good score, but we would certainly have liked more. We’re lucky enough to bat quite deep, and we usually go hard in that situation. We didn’t manage to do it today.

“New Zealand bowled well. We thought the period between the end of our innings and the start of New Zealand’s innings was the best time to bat, and we did well to create chances then. Usually, when someone gets injured, they go hard earlier, and offer more chances. Ross didn’t do that. He went hard earlier, and took the game away from us.”

Williamson was ecstatic to have won, and said: “Great game of cricket. With the ball we were put under pressure and didn’t execute well in the first half. It was a wicket where, once you got in, you could really score quickly, which they showed by getting to 260 so quickly.

“Ross – after a tough start, he got himself in and played his best one-day knock. One of the best of all time. A few niggles, hopefully nothing serious.”

Taylor was named Man of the Match, and said: “[This innings is] right up there [among my best], I think. It was nice to be there at the end. I thought I batted quite well in Hamilton, but I wasn’t there at the end. Got a bit of cramp. It was good to have all those partnerships. You’ve just got to give yourself a chance, set those little goals along the way.

“You can’t win it in the first 10 overs, but you certainly can lose it. It looked like England would get 360-380 at one stage, so our bowlers did well to keep them down. I was about a 110 or 120, physio came out and asked if I wanted to stay in or come out. I’m glad I stayed in. I couldn’t run any twos, so I didn’t want to put any pressure on the other guy. So I had a go, and hit a couple out of the screws.

“The way Nicholls batted and finished it off – you don’t want to panic in that situation. It’s my birthday tomorrow, and I was like, “damn it, I can’t drink tomorrow.” I’ve got a nice bottle of red, but if I have any chance of playing [the fifth ODI], I can’t drink any of it tomorrow.”

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