|Twenty20 tri-series, Wellington:|
|New Zealand 196-5 (20 overs): Guptill 65, Williamson 72|
|England 184-9 (20 overs): Hales 47, Malan 59, Santner 2-29|
|New Zealand won by 12 runs|
England suffered a third Twenty20 defeat in a row as they were beaten by New Zealand in the tri-series which also involves Australia.
The Black Caps made 196-5 after being put into bat, with Martin Guptill (65) and Kane Williamson (72) putting on 82.
Alex Hales (47) got England off to a quick start but they lost James Vince, Jos Buttler and Sam Billings cheaply.
Dawid Malan (59) gave England hope but, needing 37 from the last three overs, the tourists reached 184-9.
Australia are already through to the final after three wins from as many games and New Zealand will join them if they can beat David Warner’s side on Friday, 18 February.
England have zero points and need Australia to do them a favour to take their chances of reaching the final into their last game against New Zealand on Sunday, 25 February.
England bowlers toil as Williamson answer critics
Jos Buttler was England captain, with Eoin Morgan still sidelined by injury, and he put the Kiwis into bat because of the uncertain nature of the drop-in pitch at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
The pitch did not misbehave as feared and, despite losing Colin Munro early on, Guptill and Williamson started to attack for the hosts.
Williamson’s place at number three had been questioned following a 2-1 T20 series loss to Pakistan last month and the heavy defeat by Australia in their tri-series opener.
He escaped an early scare when he went for a quick single to get off the mark and would have been out if Mark Wood had hit the stumps from close range.
But, after that, Williamson responded emphatically with four sixes and four boundaries in a 46-ball 72 as he and Guptill, who made 65 from 40 balls, laid the foundation for a big Kiwi score.
Williamson’s maximums came behind square, straight down the ground, over deep mid-wicket and over fine leg.
England’s bowlers, especially Wood, were proving expensive, but spinner Adil Rashid took the wickets of Guptill and Colin de Grandhomme in successive deliveries to stem the flow of runs.
Pace bowler Chris Jordan also removed Williamson in an 18th over in which he conceded only three runs.
But Kiwi debutants Mark Chapman (20) and wicketkeeper Tim Seifert (14 not out), who hit two sixes in a row off Jordan in the final over, produced a flourish to get their side to 196-5.
Hales and Malan heroics in vain
England’s bowlers had not done their batsman any favours with their display, especially with the tourists having scored 155 and 137 in two defeats by Australia going into the match.
And, despite an improvement with the bat from England, it was not enough to prevent another defeat at the ground where they were hammered by the Kiwis in the 2015 World Cup.
Opener Jason Roy went for eight but Hales and Malan put on the kind of display which looked like being the launchpad for an important victory.
Hales hit three sixes and six fours, including a huge hit over the boundary from a pull shot off Trent Boult.
His departure – when he was caught by Colin de Grandhomme off spinner Ish Sodhi – signalled the start of a flurry of wickets.
Vince was run out by Williamson, Buttler was caught by Tim Southee off Sodhi and Billings top-edged a shot off Mitchell Santner before being caught by Sodhi as the trio failed to fire.
Malan and David Willey hit out as they tried to steer England to an unlikely victory but the former’s dismissal swung the game in the hosts’ favour.
England’s hopes were all-but over when Boult removed Jordan and Liam Plunkett in successive balls as Rashid and Mark Wood were left with too much to do.
This was the game in which Ben Stokes was expected to return but England again had to do without the all-rounder because his arrival in New Zealand has been delayed until after he appears at Bristol Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday on charges relating to an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September.
More to follow.