NOTTINGHAM, England (Reuters) – New Zealand beat England by a comfortable six wickets at Trent Bridge on Tuesday, with Tim Seifert hitting 48 and Glenn Phillips adding 42, to level the four-match Twenty20 International series 2-2.
England’s Jonny Bairstow (73) had hit his fastest half century in T20 internationals as the hosts set New Zealand a target of 176 after finishing on 175-8 on a warm evening in Nottingham.
The Black Caps then made it look one-sided, always ahead as they finished on 179-4 with 2.4 overs to spare and Mark Chapman 40 not out.
England had won the first two matches, with New Zealand coming back strongly to end on level terms.
“We were far from our best in the first two games and the last two have been closer to what this side is about,” said New Zealand captain Tim Southee.
“They got off to a great start tonight but we knew that if we kept taking wickets it was the best way to slow them down. We were trying to be smart and make them take aggressive options.”
Opener Seifert was caught and bowled by Rehan Ahmed after reaching 48 from 32 balls, and Phillips also fell to the 19-year-old leg spinner when he was caught by Sam Curran but it was all too late.
“We got a reasonable score but it wasn’t enough because it was a good surface,” said England captain Moeen Ali, standing in for the rested Jos Buttler, who then came on anyway when Bairstow suffered shoulder pain and did not take the field.
“They had a brilliant start with the bat too and then we couldn’t wrestle it back.”
Bairstow had smashed four sixes into the crowd by the time England reached their half century in 4.3 overs, reaching his own 50 off 26 deliveries.
England were 63-0 at the end of the powerplay on a promising wicket for batters but then lost opener Will Jacks (16) two runs later when he was caught by wicket-keeper Seifert off spinner Ish Sodhi.
Bairstow hit his sixth six of the evening to take England to 105-1 but was caught by Daryl Mitchell off Mitch Santner for 73 off 41 balls.
Dawid Malan continued to pepper the boundary with three quick fours and England were 126-3 when Harry Brook lofted the ball high and was caught by Mark Chapman for Sodhi’s second wicket.
Santner took his tally to 3-30 from four overs when he had Malan (26) caught by a diving Kyle Jamieson and Ali caught by Phillips for one.
Curran (5) was caught by Finn Allen off Rachin Ravindra and England were 150-6, with Ahmed (11) run out in the last over on his home debut and Liam Livingston (26) caught on the final ball.
The two sides will meet again in Cardiff on Friday for the first of four one-day internationals with the World Cup in India only a month away.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Clare Fallon and Toby Davis)