It took perhaps one of the best ODI innings’ of all time for New Zealand to comprehensively overpower the English. Ross Taylor scored a career highest 181 to propel his team to victory against all odds, setting up the decider for the series.
Twin centuries from Bairstow and Root were not enough to take England over the line, but there is not much anyone can do when Taylor is batting the way he was. Can he take his team to a series victory, or will England arrest the slide?
Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Jason Roy, Craig Overton
Kane Williamson (c), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Colin Munro, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Ish Sodhi
Where the teams stand
England should have gotten much more than what they finished with. They were 267-3 after 39 overs, and they should have crossed at least 350. However, a collapse after Bairstow was dismissed ensured that they only finished with 335, which is still a great score. But if 5 of your top 8 can only manage 12 runs on aggregate, then one can't help but feel a little disappointed. Nevertheless, both the openers contributed handsomely to the score for once, and they will need to do so again in the fifth ODI. Morgan and Stokes had been carrying the team for a few games, and they could use some support from the rest of the order.
The bowlers started out perfectly, reducing New Zealand to 2-2 in close to 3 overs, but then out walked Ross Taylor, and the rest is history. Amidst all the carnage, Chris Woakes still managed to retain some great figures. He ended with 8-2-42-1, with an economy below 5.5 in a chase of 336. He has been terrific all series, making a case for being one of the best bowlers in the world if he can keep up such performances. The bowling attack, hard as it is, need to put the Taylor innings behind them and start anew. Having said that, the bowling is an Achilles heel the Kiwis will want to exploit to win the series. England will want to field first this time, given the massive firepower they posses. In a decider, playing by the score will give either team the better chance of winning.
Before the fourth ODI, most would be forgiven for having some misgivings regarding the Kiwi middle order. However, they have proved everyone wrong by putting up a solid display to chase down 336 to win the game. Williamson, Latham, and Taylor scored some 300 runs between themselves alone. de Grandhomme can in later and smashed a few balls, leaving it to Nicholls and Taylor to finish the match. The openers both got out for a duck, leaving it all to the rest, and they managed to save the day.
Bowling has been a recurring issue for the Kiwis. Their attack has consistently been expensive and unable to pressurize the English batsmen, a surprising predicament for a home team. Ish Sodhi was fantastic once again, this time taking four crucial wickets to give his side some control of the game. Boult picked up two wickets for the tenth time this series while Southee was terribly expensive with an economy of 8.7. These irregularities might come back to bite the Kiwis, they need to be careful about the rate at which they concede. Both teams have issues with their bowling, and both can chase down any target in front of them. The toss will be an important one.
New Zealand win. New Zealand have the momentum going after a disappointing loss for England, who barely won the third ODI.