BLACKCAPS v ENGLAND, SECOND ODI at The Oval
The BLACKCAPS 398-5 (Guptill 50, B. McCullum 39, Williamson 93, Taylor 119*, Elliott 32, Ronchi 33) beat England 365-9 in 46 overs (Roy 38, Hales 54, Morgan 88, Buttler 41, Plunkett 44; N. McCullum 3-86) by 13 runs via Duckworth/Lewis
The BLACKCAPS have levelled the One-Day International Series against England 1-1, after beating the hosts at Kia Oval by 13 runs via the Duckworth Lewis method.
A marvellous century from Ross Taylor (119*) and numerous other contributions from the top order elevated the BLACKCAPS to a huge first innings total of 398-5.
England battled hard in pursuit and, thanks to a combined effort with the bat, maintained hope throughout. At 345-7, rain intervened and the hosts required 34 runs from 2.1 overs.
Following the break, Nathan McCullum took two crucial wickets in the penultimate over, all but assuring his side victory. Grant Elliott bowled the final over to get the BLACKCAPS across the line and the two sides will now head to Southampton with the Series all tied up.
The BLACKCAPS' top order began the day with their foot firmly on the throttle and they didn’t ease up.
Brendon McCullum (39 off 22) was his customary aggressive self, and alongside Guptill put on 61 for the opening wicket, before departing in the eighth over when he mistimed a pull shot off Ben Stokes.
Kane Williamson and Guptill maintained the momentum for the BLACKCAPS though, both going on to half centuries. Guptill fell immediately after the milestone, departing with the visitors 114-2 after 18 overs.
That brought together the pairing of Williamson and Taylor, and like they have done so many times in the past, they formed the principal partnership of the BLACKCAPS innings. The duo brought up the 150 for the visitors after 23 overs and pushed their side through to 235 with a 111-run stand.
Following some typically elegant drives, Williamson was somewhat unluckily dismissed when he managed to pull a high full toss to the man at mid on. Until that point, he had looked somewhat impenetrable and odds on for a 100. While he missed out, Taylor would not.
The 31-year-old played most of the innings with a strike rate close to a run-a-ball, but finished his knock with a series of hefty blows over long on for six. He brought up his 13th ODI ton off just 87 balls, and had guaranteed his side a significant score to defend.
Cameos from Grant Elliott (32 off 15) and Luke Ronchi (33 off 16) also accelerated the BLACKCAPS run rate and 400 looked on the cards. Ronchi, playing in his 51st ODI, brought up 1000 runs and achieved the feat with the second highest strike rate ever (after Glen Maxwell).
Santner (15) finished with Taylor out in the middle, while the BLACKCAPS finished 10 runs shy of the total England had achieved in the opening ODI a few days earlier.
England’s reply started with a flurry and it paid early dividends, Alex Hales (54) and Jason Roy (39) putting on 84 in the opening stand.
The breakthrough eventually came through Nathan McCullum, Roy caught after reverse sweeping. Santner then produced a double strike, first dismissing Hales and then Joe Root (5) to have England 100-3.
The hosts, though, would not roll over, with skipper Eoin Morgan coming in and playing a brilliantly brutal knock of 88 from 48 balls and keeping his side in the running.
Ben Stokes (28) and Jos Buttler (41) also chipped in, but two wickets each from Mitchell McClenaghan and Trent Boult saw England fall to 275-7.
And yet, they remained resilient.
Before the rain came, Adil Rashid (34) and Liam Plunket (44) put on 61 for the eighth wicket and a sold-out Kia Oval remained optimistic. They would both fall early once they returned to the middle, though, Rashid undone by a sensational catch on the boundary by Tim Southee and Trent Boult.
With the ball heading for six, Southee tossed it back to Boult before momentum took him across the line. It may have been the piece of magic that separated the two teams on the night.
The third ODI, in Hampshire, is on Sunday at 9.30pm NZT.