A professional all round performance from Scott Styris helped New Zealand to a comfortable win of 6 wickets over England with as many as 54 balls to spare. In the Group C match at St.Lucia, the Black Caps overcame the early loss of three wickets to successfully chase England’s target of 210 thanks to back-to-back half century partnerships.
On a slow track, England were asked to bat first by Fleming when the conditions looked slightly favourable at the start as it was overcast. James Franklin bowled a no ball to begin with but England lost the wicket of Ed Joyce in the next ball which was the first legal delivery of the match! Ian Bell looked good along with opener Vaughan but he threw his wicket needlessly and so did his skipper. England were onto the backfoot at 52 for 3 and could never make full use of the three powerplays. However they were rescued by the pair of Pietersen and Collingwood who started to lay a good launching pad for the slogs. But 20 deliveries was all that was required for the match to turn on its head! It was a huge collapse for England with four wickets going down with the addition of just 5 runs!
The collapse for England began with Collingwood steering Styris to the safe hands of McCullum. In fact Collingwood was dropped by Styris in his bowling in that same over but Collingwood failed to capitalize on that to be dismissed for 31 ending an 80-run partnership. Shane Bond in his second spell provided a double blow, two magical slower leg cutters saw Pietersen and Flintoff foxed. While Pietersen holed out at long on after scoring 60 from 92 (4 fours and a six), Flintoff played an uppish cover drive to be caught off the first ball he had faced! Dalrymple was out nicking Styris to McCullum and England were now in the danger of getting bowled out as they were now at a shocking 138 for 7! The Black Caps missed a trick or two which had allowed Paul Nixon and Liam Plunkett to add up an undefeated 71 runs for the 8th wicket. Nixon got 42 from 41 with 5 fours while Plunkett got 29 from 34 with a boundary and a six off Vettori. Shane Bond was not at all quick today but he ended with mean figures of 2 for 19 from 10 and Styris took 2 for 25 from 7.
Anderson and Plunkett sharing the new ball picked up a wicket each in their first overs to get England right on top. England’s position was further consolidated when Fleming miscued his pull shot off Anderson to have the Kiwis at 19 for 3. A counter attack from Scott Styris and Craig McMillan got the Black Caps back in the hunt. But Monty Panesar provided the breakthrough with McMillan trying to be too ambitious in going for an inside out lofted shot. McMillan scored 27 that helped NZ to 72 for 4. Styris was going along steadily and Jacob Oram gave him the much needed support. Both batsmen played with their heads down and although they were capable of big hitting, they decided to wait for the ball to come onto the bat and then knocked it all along the ground. England’s bowling lacked the penetration and Vaughan had to make desperate bowling changes which could have been atleast 15! Monty Panesar didn’t look effective as he never got the ball to turn away from the right handers and Styris got plenty of runs by driving him through the up. The partnership between Styris and Oram never ceased and the match was wrapped up in style by consecutive boundaries by Oram. There was a dropped catch by Pietersen at short covers with Styris being the batsman. New Zealand at that stage required 60 odd runs to win and the bowler was Monty but that mistake wouldn’t have made much difference looking at the spineless England bowlers. Styris remained unconquered on 87 which came in 113 balls with 9 fours and Oram stood tall on 63 from 83 with 4 fours and a massive six straight down the ground off Monty Panesar. Styris was the obvious choice for the Man of the Match.