The New Zealand XI have claimed a thrilling three-wicket victory in the final Twenty20 warm-up game with England in Whangarei today.
Canterbury's Tom Latham was the hero for the New Zealand selectional side at Cobham Oval, scoring a well-measured 64 to help his side home - with victory coming on the final ball.
Latham would fall in the pen-ultimate over - but tail-enders Andrew Ellis (3 not out) and Matthew Henry (7 not out) did just enough to sneak the New Zealand XI home. Henry would score the winning runs - with a boundary off English seamer Jade Dernbach.
The New Zealand XI fought hard in their chase of 170 from the get go, with openers Hamish Rutherford (30) and Anton Devcich (33) showing guile, and power, in their first-wicket stand of 58.
But it would be Latham that would be stand-out performer, turning over the strike and playing the big shots when they were needed. Tight bowling by Stuart Broad (3 for 24) and Samit Patel (1 for 20) would ensure it would be a close finish - but the hosts deserved victory, ending 174 for 7.
Sent in to bat by the hosts in perfect conditions for cricket, the English lacked the absolute fluency at the crease they had yesterday but still posted 170 for 5; a hugely competitive total.
Jos Buttler (51) and Eoin Morgan (51 not out), who both impressed in yesterday's 46-run victory over the New Zealand XI, were responsible in getting their side through to their eventual total, combining for a 87 run, 50 ball partnership for the fifth wicket.
Earlier on, opener Michael Lumb notched a powerful 45 off 36 balls, before Buttler and Morgan set to resurrecting the English innings.
Captain Ellis (2 for 27) and test left-armer Neil Wagner (2 for 38) were the best Kiwi bowlers, while Otago spinner Nick Beard toiled hard without reward to end with none for 28 off his four overs.
Black Caps seamer Doug Bracewell, called into the side late, looked a tad rusty at the crease; going wicketless and allowing 39 runs off his four overs.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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