Record stand earns England series win

Blackpool Citizen: Alex Hales, pictured, and Michael Lumb put on a record opening stand of 143 Alex Hales, pictured, and Michael Lumb put on a record opening stand of 143

Alex Hales and Michael Lumb's record opening stand carried England to a 10-wicket victory over New Zealand to clinch the Twenty20 series 2-1.

Captain Stuart Broad led from the front as impressive bowling and fielding set up England's success at the Westpac Stadium.

But it was Hales (80no) and Lumb (53no) who finished the job in exhilarating style, and with an astounding 7.2 overs to spare. Only Martin Guptill (59) stayed long enough to provide substance to the hosts' 139 for eight, after England had chosen to bowl first.

Then once Hales and Lumb got England's reply off to a rapid start - 57 in five overs - the remainder was a foregone conclusion. The openers hit the ball supremely, nine times for six between them in a stand of 143, which made a mockery of England's target and in the process beat the nation's previous record opening stand of 128.

Much of the hardest work had been done by the tourists' bowlers nonetheless. On a pitch of decent carry, captain Broad (three for 15) and his fellow seamer Steven Finn (0 for 18) set the tone with economical new-ball spells.

Guptill's run-a-ball half-century featured just two fours and much scurrying, with a slow outfield at this rugby stadium, but the opener's biggest problem was a lack of lasting support.

There was no need for any support for Hales and Lumb, of course - especially after sloppy New Zealand fielding set them up.

Ross Taylor, at slip off Ian Butler, and then wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum running to square-leg off a mistimed pull at Mitchell McClenaghan, dropped Hales on six and then 11. They were mistakes the hosts could not afford in defence of such a vulnerable total.

Lumb had already crunched McClenaghan for successive sixes at the start of the third over, to long-off and midwicket, and Hales was soon matching his partner blow for blow. He powered past his 35-ball 50, and England's hundred, with a second six in a McClenaghan over which cost 23 runs.

It was Lumb who finished the match in the most appropriate fashion, with his fifth six - over square-leg off Butler - to complete his 50 from just 34 balls.

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