WELLINGTON: Moeen Ali was as surprised as anyone as he combined with Adil Rashid to plunder New Zealand’s batting stocks in England’s dramatic four-run victory in the third one-day international in Wellington yesterday.
Not even an unbeaten 112 by Kane Williamson could save New Zealand after their top order disappeared in Ali and Rashid’s devastating spell of five wickets for 23 runs in 41 deliveries.
When time was up New Zealand were 230 for eight in reply to England’s 234 after Chris Woakes bowled two dot balls to Williamson to end the match.
“My plan was just to try and bowl tight, it doesn’t really change game to game, and the wickets just came,” said man-of-the-match Ali, who finished with three for 36 while Rashid took two for 34.
The game boiled down to New Zealand skipper Williamson needing a six off the final ball, but a wide yorker from Woakes meant he was unable to deliver.
New Zealand appeared to have the game in their hands at 80 for one in the 18th over, before Ali and Rashid turned the match.
Ben Stokes took a stunning dive to his left to catch Colin Munro (49) off Rashid to ignite the slump as New Zealand went from a comfortable 80 for one to 103 for six.
Williamson, who had struggled for runs in recent innings and missed the second ODI, which England won, because of a hamstring strain, returned to the arena with an imperious performance for his 11th ODI century.
He faced 143 deliveries and was in the middle for most of the New Zealand innings after the early dismissal of Martin Guptill for three.
Williamson shared a 68-run stand with Munro, and once Ali and Rashid had destroyed the rest of the recognised New Zealand batting he engineered a revival with Mitchell Santner.