Williamson, Guptill power New Zealand to 12-run win

Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill’s quickfire half-centuries propeled New Zealand to a 12-run victory over England as the visitors lost their way while chasing a stiff target in the fourth match of the Twenty20 tri-series in Wellington.

The victory got the kiwis one step closer to a spot in the final with Australia. New Zealand won for the first time in three matches after consecutive Twenty20 losses to Pakistan prior to the tri-series, then to Australia in their first match in the trans-Tasman series. England have now lost their last three games after back-to-back losses to Australia who have already qualified for the tri-series final.

Williamson silenced his critics after a recent lean spell in the shortest form of the game, scoring 72 from 46 balls as New Zealand finished on 196 for five from their 20 overs after being asked to bat first by England stand-in skipper Jos Buttler.

In reply, England crumbled after Malan and Hales got seperated. The duo put together a 66-run stand off just 38 balls to keep England in the game but quick wickets of Vince, Buttler and Billings after Hales’ wicket changed the course of the match to Australia’s favour.

Even though Ish Sodhi went for 49 runs in his 4-over spell, the leggie picked up two important wickets of Hales (47) and Buttler (2).

Mitchell Santner struck an important double blow when he dismissed Malan and Sam Billings for 12. Williamson brilliantly ran out James Vince for 10 and Trent Boult helped snuff out any late order resistance when he bowled Chris Jordan and Liam Plunkett with successive deliveries in the 18th over. Left-arm seamer Trent Boult also picked up 2 wickets for New Zealand.

Earlier, Williamson shared an 82-run second wicket partnership with Martin Guptill (65) which laid the foundation for the innings and with his strike rate of 156.5 -- 72 from 65 balls -- put an end to rumblings that he might be out of place in the shortest format. Opener Guptill contributed 65 from 40 deliveries and there was a useful cameo from debutant Mark Chapman, with the former Hong Kong international scoring 20 off 13.

Adil Rashid was the pick of England's bowlers, taking two for 36 in his four overs, while paceman Mark Wood picked up two for 51.

The hghlight of the day was however a stunning one handed catch by England fast bowler Chris Jordan that cut short Grandhomme's innings.

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