Wellington - Moeen
Ali was as surprised as anyone as he combined with Adil Rashid to
plunder New Zealand's batting stocks in England's dramatic four-run
victory in the third one-day international in Wellington on Saturday.
Not even an unbeaten 112 by Kane Williamson could save New Zealand
after their top order disappeared in Ali and Rashid's devastating spell
of five wickets for 23 runs in 41 deliveries.
When time was up New Zealand were 230 for eight in reply to England's
234 after Chris Woakes bowled two dot balls to Williamson to end the
"My plan was just to try and bowl tight, it doesn't really change
game to game, and the wickets just came," said man of the match Ali, who
finished with three for 36 while Rashid took two for 34.
"They weren't great balls, but the balls in between were building pressure."
The game boiled down to New Zealand skipper Williamson needing a six
off the final ball, but a wide yorker from Woakes meant he was unable to
New Zealand appeared to have the game in their hands at 80 for one in the 18th over, before Ali and Rashid turned the match.
Williamson denied there were concerns about the brittle New Zealand batting performance.
"Not really. It was a game where we weren't at our smartest. We
didn't adjust well on a tough surface and that's all it is," said
Williamson, adding it was a "very frustrating" defeat.
"Starting off in our second innings we were in a position of strength
after maybe 15 overs then we stumbled a bit in the middle which really
hurt us ... and just a shame not to get across the line.
"And credit to the way the English spinners bowled through the middle. They were outstanding."
Ben Stokes took a stunning dive to his left to catch Colin Munro (49)
off Rashid to ignite the slump as New Zealand went from a comfortable
80 for one to 103 for six.
Williamson, who had
struggled for runs in recent innings and missed the second ODI, which
England won, because of a hamstring strain, returned to the arena with
an imperious performance for his 11th ODI century.
He faced 143 deliveries and was in the middle for most of the New
Zealand innings after the early dismissal of Martin Guptill for three.
Williamson shared a 68-run stand with Munro, and once Ali and Rashid
had destroyed the rest of the recognised New Zealand batting he
engineered a revival with Mitchell Santner.
Santner was given the benefit of the doubt on two when Jason Roy took
a catch at ground level and there was no clear evidence the ball had
not touched the grass.
From there he was more circumspect to reach 41 before being run out
when a Woakes attempt to stop a Williamson drive deflected off the
bowler's fingertips and on to the stumps, with Santner caught out of his
Woakes, defending 15 runs in the final over, conceded two twos and a
six to Williamson and then fired in two dot balls to prevent a New
England, having been sent into bat first, struggled to 234 built
around a 71-run stand for the fourth wicket by Eoin Morgan and Stokes.
Although the wicket offered variable bounce it held no serious
demons, and the top nine England batsmen all reached double figures.
Their problem was no one could settle in long-term, and New Zealand
part-time medium pacer Colin de Grandhomme was allowed to bowl 10 overs
in which he took one for 24.
Ish Sodhi was more expensive with his leg breaks but still claimed
three wickets for 53, while there were three late run outs as England
pushed for runs at the end of their innings.
Morgan top scored for the tourists with 48 off 71 while Stokes, the
England hero when they won the second ODI three days ago, contributed 39
The fourth match in the series is in Dunedin on Wednesday.