Chosen by us to get you up to speed at a glance
By Will Macpherson, at Trent Bridge
England’s final T20 against New Zealand was the series’ closest game but, after three thoroughly one-sided affairs, that is not saying much. New Zealand ended up coasting home by six wickets with 16 balls remaining, meaning England had spurned a 2-0 lead to leave the series level. The game was done before 9pm, but fans were leaving long before then.
In truth, as much intrigue was provided by comments from England’s head coach, Matthew Mott, before the game as anything that took place on the field. Mott offered the clearest hint yet that Harry Brook is on the verge of a World Cup reprieve but, in truth, the Yorkshireman did little to further his case, making just four.
But nor did two of the men at risk from him. Dawid Malan made 26 from 21 and Liam Livingstone 26 from 20, but neither found their own “statement”. Marcus Trescothick, the assistant coach, had betrayed an anxiety among such players when speaking on Sunday. This will have done little to help.
With the bat, only Jonny Bairstow advanced his reputation, thanks to a sensational 73 from 41 balls that gave England a blistering start which should have laid the foundations for a much bigger score than the 175 they managed.
Bairstow was due to keep wicket – with captain Jos Buttler rested – but did not emerge for the second innings due to a sore shoulder. Bairstow explained his absence as “precautionary” because of the “important cricket coming up”, and was not even sure how he picked the injury up.
The first 10 overs of the game were dominated by Bairstow’s blade. At times, especially when Matt Henry was being launched into the stands from the Ratcliffe Road End, there was a bit of that extraordinary Bazball-launching assault 15 months ago.
A ball into the 11th over, England were 105 for one, and well-placed for a score well beyond New Zealand’s reach. But the Black Caps’ spinners were making a nuisance of themselves on a pitch with turn and hold, and wickets fell steadily, mainly caught on the fence, just like in the defeat in Birmingham on Sunday. Edgbaston, though, is a much bigger playing area, with this performance adding to the sense that some of England’s six-hitters are not the force they once were. Mitchell Santner picked up three, including Malan and stand-in skipper Moeen Ali in his final over.
With Buttler and Gus Atkinson rested, England had packed the side with spin options. But only the sparky stripling, Rehan Ahmed, playing an international on home soil – in his hometown, no less – threatened the way New Zealand’s had. Ahmed showed off his all-round promise, launching a beautiful six over long-on in a brief cameo, then completed a smart run-out of Daryl Mitchell started by brilliant work from Luke Wood in the deep.
And with the ball, he was the only man with an answer to Tim Seifert and Glenn Phillips, who provided the backbone of their successful chase. Seifert fell to a sharp caught and bowled, while Phillips miscued seeking his fourth six. Adil Rashid, the master to the apprentice Ahmed, endured a tough night, taking none for 41, including some tap from Mark Chapman, who saw New Zealand home. England started the game so well, but faded. The same could be said of the series.
“Definitely disappointing,” said Mott, who was determined to take positives: “Rehan’s performance, the pace of Gus Atkinson and Brydon Carse, another opportunity for Moeen to lead, and of course Brook.” Next up, are a series of “vital ODIs”, where the real World Cup prep begins.
New Zealand captain Tim Southee: “We were far from our best in the first two games and the last two have been closer to what this side is about.
“We were off in the first two games but we’ve just adapted and bounced back and that is very pleasing.
“They got off to a great start tonight but we knew that if we kept taking wickets it was the best way to slow them down. We were trying to be smart and make them take aggressive options.
“We’ll travel, rest and there will be some fresh faces ahead of the ODI series. It is an exciting time.”
…that the 50-over series between these two begins in Cardiff on Friday.
A misfield rather sums up England's evening!"
New Zealand ease to a six-wicket victory and level the T20I series 2-2! 🇳🇿 pic.twitter.com/tF98EZmW3o
Tough to know what to make of this series. It ends level but each of the games has been won by huge margins. What is for certain though is that all the momentum heading into the 50-over series is with New Zealand.
Easy win for the visitors. Two overs to spare. In truth, that’s a hammering in T20 terms.
Genuine nick from Ravindra off Curran goes to the boundary as England stare defeat square in the face.
Controlled pulling from Ravindra then brings successive twos. Two balls later, Chapmanis right on top of the bounce, slamming it for four through mid-wicket.
England need a wicket in this over from Rashid but Chapman has other ideas.
Rashid drops short, allowing the NZ batter to carve one through cover for four. The next ball he comes down the wicket and takes Rashid high over mid-wicket for six.
NZ are racing to victory here.
Moeen drags one down and it’s pulled powerfully by Chapman. Curran doesn’t have that far to go but can’t get anywhere near it.
Chapman comes down and dabs a single into the leg side, he’s upped the tempo well since the Phillips dismissal.
A hint of life for England?
A fine reverse sweep from Chapman brings four more off Ahmed before Phillips climbs into a shorter delivery to get yet another boundary, this time behind square on the off side.
The next ball Phillips gets it wrong, sending it high into the night sky where Curran takes a simple catch.
Hope for England? 🤞
The dangerous Phillips is gone for 42 as New Zealand's target drops to under a run a ball! pic.twitter.com/RRyAWrfuAw
Brydon Carse returns. Chapman has just allowed Phillips to do the damage so far but has been smart about his running as he looks to get the danger and back on strike.
It looks like it’s Glenn Phillips night. He top edges one and lets out a cry of dismay but he’s got more than enough on it to claim six more.
Lovely delivery from Carse, who squares up Chapman but there’s no slip and the edge will give NZ four more.
England know they need a wicket and turn to their main man Rashid.
That’s too short though and Phillips in this move isn’t missing out. He’s all power as he picks it up and smashes it for six over wide mid-on.
Ahmed continues. NZ are on top here but another wicket, preferably of Phillips, might see them just take the initiative once more.
Phillips makes use of a little bit of width and pumps the ball to the boundary through cover before nabbing a quick single to point. Excellent batting.
Rehan Ahmed’s cricket just exudes character. He’s having a sparky night here, smashing a stunning six, playing his part in a fine run out, and now picking up a key wicket.
Moeen is on as England look to turn the screw amid an excellent sequence of overs. Moeen misses his length by mere millimetres Phillips cashes in, smoking it off the back foot for six over cow corner.
The sound off the bat! 💥
A sweet six from Glenn Phillips! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/x9U2WRk3Sm
Ahmed is proving very tough to get away. He bowls with very good control for a leg spinner. He gets a little kick off the pitch as the new man Chapman plays and misses at a topspinner.
Great over. Just three from it.
Ahmed’s excellent work continues. Seifert tries to flick one down the ground for a single but gets a leading edge and it’s an easy catch for the bowler.
CAUGHT AND BOWLED! ❌
BIG wicket for England as Rehan Ahmed removes Seifert for a well-made 48 off his own bowling! pic.twitter.com/xG4dIXU5S7
Rashid continues as England look to bring this game back under control. Rashid deceives Phillips with a wicked delivery but the NZ batter is saved by a bottom edge which diverts it away from the stumps.
Five from the over. Very good from Rashid.
Ahmed has Glenn Phillips in his sights after that run out. Ahmed is keeping his paces high here, much like the NZ spinners. Excellent first over from Ahmed. Just five from it.
Wood gets the ball away quickly on the cover boundary and finds a laser-pointed throw to the non-striker’s end where Ahmed takes the bails.
Great work in the deep from Luke Wood! 👏
A much-needed breakthrough as Mitchell is run out after some rapid fielding! ⚡ pic.twitter.com/5bwNAv00ds
Excellent from Wood in the deep….
Moeen turns to Curran to stem the flow. Worth remembering England got off to a similar start thanks to Bairstow before tying up in the middle overs.
Nice variations from Curran mean it’s just singles for NZ. Manna from heaven for Moeen at this point.
Disappointing end though as Mitchell gets enough on a slow leg-side delivery to find the gap between short fine leg and square leg.
Pace off for England as Rashid comes into the attack. Seifert goes straight on the attack but only just clears mid-on’s head with a swipe. Two balls later, Seifert rocks back and powers it back over Rashid’s head for six.
Four more! Seifert eases another one straight down the ground and England are right up against it here.
Massive from Daryl Mitchell. Wood drops a shade short and Mitchell is onto it so quickly, pounding it over cow corner for six. England’s senior players join together for a quick meeting while the umpires look at a ball change.
Seifert gives himself room, allowing the ball from the left-armer to slide across him and picks it up beautifully over extra cover for four.
"Do not bowl short to that man, he loves it!" 💨
Daryl Mitchell SMOKES one over mid-wicket for six! 6️⃣ pic.twitter.com/nCbIB8TQ7p
Big six from Seifert, who rocks back to Carse and eases it to the short boundary at square leg. Good comeback from the young seamer, who goes very full next and Seifert has to dig it out.
Carse goes full again but this time Seifert is expecting it and gives himself enough room to muscle it straight for four.
Decent comeback from Luke Wood after disappearing for a couple of boundaries. Allen gone, Mitchell in.
Two boundaries off Wood but Aleen is now gone. He tries to take a straight ball off a length over deep mid-wicket but misses it all ends up and sees his stumps skittled.
BOWLED 'IM! ❌
Luke Wood STRIKES! ⚡ pic.twitter.com/3gEkL1s6WS
Crunch. First ball is pasted over extra cover for four before NZ run three after a mis-field from Luke Wood at cover.
There is a hint of swing there for Curran into the right hander but dropping them short is not the best way to utilise it. Seifert punishes Curran over mid-on for four.
Start as you mean to go on! 🏏 💥
Finn Allen crunches one to the fence first ball! 4️⃣ pic.twitter.com/FuHuCSptgz
Bairstow is not out there for England. He’s picked up an injury while batting meaning Jos Buttler is out there keeping.
Here come the players. Allen and Seifert the men walking to the middle for NZ. Sam Curran has got his cap off and will take the first over.
Not quite sure what to make of that score. With Bairstow flying, England looked like they could get more than 200. But the spinners took hold, the ball gripped, anbd England holed out. They struggled in similar fashion in Birmingham on Sunday.
The good news for them, though, is that they have a score to bowl at – and five spin options in their side.
Brilliant final over from Henry. Slower balls, wider yorkers and two wickets. Livingstone runs to the keeper off the penultimate ball before Henry misses with a wide yorker.
The extra ball sees Livingstone slap one straight to Southee at cover.
Henry is right in the block hole and Ahmed can only prod it back towards him. Livingstone has already set off though and Ahmed is left sacrificed.
Livingstone just can’t get going but does well to get back for a second after a mis-timed pull shot.
That’s much better. Livingstone plays a remarkable shot, flat-batting the ball over extra cover for what is nearly a flat six. The power of Livingstone on show there.
Ahmed comes back for two after a crunching pull into the leg side. The throw from Phillips is a direct hit but skews off the stumps, allowing England to get through for a third.
Rehan Ahmed to the crease and three balls later Ravindra is smacked over his head for six. Shot of the night candidate.
Good running to finish the over adds a couple more to the total.
Neat work on the boundary.
Curran goes for the big shot but again it’s another England batter who doesn’t get all of it. Allen just has to throw the ball up to get his balance on the boundary but does well.
"These players practice those boundary catches till the cows come home!" 🐄 🏠
Fine work from Finn Allen on the boundary and England are six down! ❌ pic.twitter.com/vYp342yCng
Lovely from Curran. He gets a little bit of width and punches it over point for four. That’s a much-needed boundary before ne nicks a quick single to the man in close at mid-off.
Livingstone goes for a big hoick and is way early on it but still picks up a single.
Really good from Santner there. England’s marked loss of acceleration here is continuing.
Another big swipe, another catch on the boundary.
Santner strikes again! ❌
Stand-in skipper Moeen Ali departs for just a single run off three balls ⬅️ pic.twitter.com/yH6BIFApau
Malan tries a big sweep but doesn’t get anywhere near enough of it. Jamieson has work to do and takes a really good catch diving forward on the boundary.
"Straight into the giant mitts of Kyle Jamieson!" 🤲
Malan goes and England are four down! pic.twitter.com/4ao4ScSXkN
England have lost momentum after that rapid strat by Bairstow. Good bowling mixed with some ill-advised batting but NZ are right back in this.
Livingstone plays and misses outside off stump with Southee bang on his length. Another dot ball…really, really good from Southee.
Livingstone has had enough and goes for one to the short boundary. It’s high and just has enough to get over Chapman’s head for six.
Two runs and a wickets from the over for Sodhi. That probably overstates the quality of the bowling there.
Sohdi bowls arguably the worst ball of the night but Brook does him a favour by chasing it miles down the leg side and getting a touch on it to avert a wide.
Next ball is skied high and results in an easy catch for Chapman on the boundary. Two failures in a row for Brook.
Brook sends one high into the Nottingham sky and it's taken by Chapman! pic.twitter.com/5689LilPZE
Better from Malan. He takes a step down the wicket and flat-bats Jamieson over his head for four. A confidence-boosting shot perhaps. Back-to-back wides from Jamieson – he’s been expensive so far, that’s 24 off just eight balls. Make that three wides in a row.
Radar back on but Malan carves the next delivery behind point for four. Queue words with the bowler from captain Southee. However, the over ends with another boundary for Malan.
really good from the England No 3.
Brook is off the mark straight away with a single. You feel he will need to get going quickly here with Malan looking a touch scratchy at the other end.
Six and out..
Bairstow pumps another six off Santner but then falls trying to do the same again. Bucket-hands Mitchell takes the catch on the boundary at cow corner.
Six and OUT for Bairstow! ❌
A brutal knock comes to an end 💥 pic.twitter.com/DmmWR4opON
Sohdi continues after drinks. Really impressive spell from him thus far.
He’s overpitched there and Malan takes advantage punching the full toss through mid-wicket for four. Sore one for Mitchell as the ball rebounds off the boundary marker directly into his face.
Malan just doesn’t look in the best of touch. His timing is off and he’s soaking up plenty of dot balls just like he did at Edgbaston.
Talk about adding insult to injury! 🤕
Malan pulls one for four – but it bounces up and hits Daryl Mitchell in the face! 😬 pic.twitter.com/oggSCGnk0i
More spin for NZ as Ravindra comes into the attack. He gets away with dragging his first ball down as Bairstow pounds one to the man at extra cover.
Bairstow then takes a huge step across and slog sweeps Ravindra over fine leg for six from a ball which pitched just outside off stump.
"Brilliant batting, absolutely brilliant!" 👏
Bairstow is in the mood at Trent Bridge as he spoons one behind square! 4️⃣ pic.twitter.com/xNYvzh0jqg
Malan muscles one down to mid-on. He looks to have left his timing back in the pavilion early in this innings.
Sohdi has stemmed the flow very well here. Making it tough for England to score with some nice variations.
He misses his spot there though, giving Bairstow enough width to flat-bat one over cover for four.
Santner is back and looks good already. He bowls so well to his field, putting the ball just short of a length outside off stump in a place where Bairstow can score only to a sweeper out at deep cover.
Commentators curse there. As I type he fires one at Malan which is far too leg side and races away for five wides.
Frustrating for Will Jacks this series. He’s a class act, and has reached double figures in every innings without being able to make it count.
Malan to the middle. Big innings for him.
Really excellent first over from Sodhi. Just four from it, the last of which brings up Bairstow’s fifty off just 26 balls.
Sohdi pushes one through quicker and it just deceives Jacks, who gets a bottom edge which Seifert claims after a couple of snatches.
Jacks tries to cut through a skidding delivery from Sodhi but can only flick up to Seifert! pic.twitter.com/ZlYgUy5f8s
Jacks tries to join the party but he mistimes a lofted drive off Henry and is lucky not to be caught on the boundary as the ball drops safe. Henry goes too straight to Jacks and that’s far more convincing, flicked neatly off his pads to the deep backward square boundary.
Jonny Bairstow is ticking here. He was a little peeved, I reckon, not to become the third Englishman to have hundreds in all three formats. Well, he’s got 42 of 19, and could get anything.
Six more for Bairstow as Southee disappears back over his head for six more! Extraordinary hitting here. Some ironic boos ring out around Trent Bridge as Bairstow middles a pull to the man on the square leg boundary. Fours and sixes will only satisfy them apparently.
Jacks does the right thing and gives the strike back to the man who’s seeing it like a beachball. Bairstow obliges, flicking one past fine leg for four as Southee misses his line.
Kyle Jamieson gets treatment first ball. That’s just too straight to Bairstow and the England opener helps himself to a six to the short boundary over square leg. He looks in great touch.
Better from Jamieson, who gets some lift off the pitch and Bairstow plays and misses outside off stump.
Four more. Bairstow pounds the next ball past mid-on for four. Miss your length or line to him at this ground and will be punished. That is evidenced the very next ball, as he goes hard at a short ball from Jamieson and picks up another six for his trouble.
And again! 6️⃣
Kyle Jamieson straight into the firing line! 😰 pic.twitter.com/0a5fioNUzV
Mitchell Santner is into the attack early. Bairstow gets fortunate with a top edge as he tries to sweep and picks up a boundary before nabbing a quick single into the leg side. The over ends with jacks picking up a boundary in a similar area as Santner strays too leg side.
Matt Henry starts from the other end for NZ. he was very impressive at Edgbaston, mixing up his pace and length on a pitch that proved tricky.
He beats Bairstow with a beauty that just does enough off the pitch to get the England opener feeling for it. The next show is far more convincing, a checked punch over mid-wicket for four. Two balls later, Bairstow gets a maximum as he lifts one over square leg for six.
This looks like a hell of a wicket.
Just a little flick of the wrist from Jonny Bairstow for the evening's first six! 6️⃣ 💥 pic.twitter.com/6r55apznYX
It is a funny place, Trent Bridge. Beautiful in its own way, and a bit hotch-potch. One thing’s for certain: it’s a great place to bat in white ball cricket, partly because of its peculiar dimensions.
Bairstow is off the mark straight away, turning one off his hip for a quick single, bringing Will Jacks on strike. He has not made the most of a couple of starts in this series and will be keen to change that here. He’s off the mark with a thick outside edge.
Bairstow chases one pitched wide and full by Southee…it’s edgy but fall safely in the outfield.
Bairstow and Jacks to open up for England…Tim Southee takes the first over for NZ.
England captain Moeen Ali: “It is a good wicket and hopefully we can get a big score. It is nice to lead England. It is a massive honour and I love it. Jos [Buttler] is just having a rest today.”
On Rehan Ahmed: “He has a really good attitude and it looks like he is improving all the time, even in practice. It is great that he’s getting an opportunity alongside [Adil] Rashid tonight, who he models himself on. It is nice to have five spinners today, it doesn’t mean you’re going to use them all but good to have those options.”
On the decision to omit Harry Brook from the 50-over squad: “Everyone is entitled to an opinion. I don’t think anyone doubts Harry’s ability and I’ve been impressed with his response. There’s a lot to play out and we always said the squad is a provisional when we selected it.”
Door remains very much ajar methinks…
Greetings from a sun-soaked Trent Bridge. It’s sweltering today, and the perfect evening for a bit of T20 action.
I’ve thought for a while that Jos Buttler is becoming more like Eoin Morgan by the year. Well, he’s given himself the sort of rest that Morgan used to enjoy. There are a fair few changes, with Moeen captain, Bairstow keeping, and Rehan Ahmed in. Gus Atkinson and Chris Jordan are also replaced by Brydon Carse and Sam Curran. Five spinners in the side!
They are batting first at a very batting-friendly ground. It was here that they made 481 in an ODI five years ago.
One changes for New Zealand, with spin-bowling all-rounder Rachin Ravindra in for Devon Conway.
England: Bairstow, Jacks, Malan, Brook, Livingstone, Ali, Curran, Ahmed, Carse, Rashid, Wood
New Zealand: Allen, Seifert, Mitchell, Phillips, Chapman, Ravindra, Santner, Jamieson, Sodhi, Southee, Henry
Moeen Ali tosses the coin for England…a rest for Jos Buttler then. Rehan Ahmed will also play this evening. Full team news to follow.
We are set fair at Trent Bridge this evening…bat first day? I think both sides will fancy their chances of chasing down something sizable if they bowl first.
Although Finn Allen’s foot touched the ground and Daryl Mitchell failed to take the catch, this was nearly one of the best bits of fielding I have ever seen…
“That would have been the end of Jos Buttler!” 😰 pic.twitter.com/04C0CJowyj
Not that we would have any reason to doubt the veracity of our man on the ground’s reports but here is confirmation.
Joe Root training with England at Trent Bridge before the final T20. ODIs start in Cardiff on Friday.
The talent of Liam Livingstone is unquestionable. His ability to take the game away from any side in the world, undeniable. Yet he has not batted for more than 50 balls in any format for the last two years. He must take his chance to nail down a World Cup sport or risk losing it.
Read Will Macpherson’s full analysis of English cricket’s greatest enigma HERE.
Good evening and welcome to Trent Bridge for the fourth and final T20 international between England and New Zealand.
The hosts lead the series 2-1 after resounding wins at Chester-le-Street and Old Trafford but New Zealand seized the initiative with a thoroughly professional display at Edgbaston on Sunday.
This England outfit has more than enough credit in the bank to avoid too much criticism for an isolated loss but in truth the performance they produced in Birmingham was some way below the standards to which we have become accustomed.
Flat in the field for the most part and seemingly lacking their usual inspiration with the bat, England were outplayed in every department by New Zealand. Jos Buttler will know the value of righting the ship this evening, as he looks to build momentum to the 50-over World Cup.
With that in mind, and with the 50-over series against New Zealand just around the corner, It feels as if there is more on the line this evening than just the series.
The absence of Harry Brook for England’s 50-over squad felt like an oversight two weeks ago. Now, to uphold that decision feels untenable. Brook’s destructive displays in the first two games surely mean he is on track to be drafted into the squad. But at whose expense?
The two most popular names at this stage appear to be Dawid Malan and Liam Livingstone, both of whom appear somewhat short of runs and confidence at present.
Malan’s scratchy innings at Edgbaston was one of a man who appeared to be feeling the pressure, while Livingstone’s own failure with the bat was trumped by an even more ineffective bowling effort.
England’s selection this evening will surely tell us much about the selector’s headspace. Rests for either of the two aforementioned would suggest they will be given a chance in 50-over series to truly nail down their place.
Play tonight and it is difficult to get away from the feeling that this may represent something of a trial for their inclusion in the World Cup squad.
Plenty on the line it feels. Toss to come at 5.30.