England beat New Zealand in another super over to win a thrilling final Twenty20 and take the series 3-2.
In a repeat of July’s World Cup final, the scores were tied at the end of a wildly unpredictable game in Auckland.
New Zealand plundered 146-5 from 11 overs, and it took Chris Jordan hitting 12 off the final three deliveries to take the game to a super over.
Jonny Bairstow, who earlier struck 47 off 18 balls, and captain Eoin Morgan scored 17 off England’s six deliveries, before Jordan limited New Zealand to eight.
It was a remarkable finish to a rain-delayed game that contained a staggering 29 sixes in 24 overs.
While England, who won the World Cup final by virtue of scoring more boundaries, held their nerve in admittedly less pressurised circumstances, New Zealand will take little comfort from once again missing out by the thinnest of margins.
If the two-Test series which starts on 21 November comes close to matching the excitement on offer at Eden Park, supporters from both sides can have no complaints.
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Jordan delivers with bat and ball
There were several moments around which this game hinged: Bairstow’s three sixes in a row off Ish Sodhi; Jordan’s four off the final delivery to tie the scores; and Morgan’s stunning catch over his shoulder as he ran back from cover to remove Tim Seifert from the fourth ball of the super over.
But Jordan’s nerveless display with the ball deserves particular praise, given the batting pyrotechnics which had gone before.
On a pitch that offered the bowlers no assistance, and on a ground with boundaries so short that mis-hits frequently cleared the rope, his yorkers restricted Seifert and Martin Guptill to a two, a four and two singles.
England’s celebrations may not have matched those at Lord’s on 14 July, but they can be rightly proud of the manner in which they pulled off an away series win with a squad featuring six T20 debutants.
Victory in the Tests would cap an impressive first series for new England coach Chris Silverwood.
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Bairstow bullies New Zealand after Guptill goes large
That Guptill’s 19-ball fifty, Colin Munro’s equally savage 46 off 21 deliveries and Seifert’s 39 off 16 will go down as footnotes in this memorable match says much for the excitement that followed.
Man of the match Bairstow was almost solely responsible for leading England’s pursuit, which veered between probable and unlikely amid a barrage of brutal hitting and clumps of wickets.
Requiring more than 13 runs an over from the beginning, England lost Tom Banton, James Vince and Morgan in slipping to 39-3.
But Bairstow, pummelling the short, straight boundaries, added 61 in four overs with the resourceful Sam Curran before he became the first of three wickets to fall in four balls.
Sam Billings and Tom Curran kept England afloat – just – but three runs and the departure of Curran off the first three balls of Jimmy Neesham’s last over left new man Jordan needing 13 off three.
No bother. He swatted a full toss over long-off for six, scampered a two, then swung to fine leg for four to tie the scores. Given what took place four months ago, perhaps it was no surprise.
‘Epic’, ‘manic’, ‘absolutely remarkable’ – what they said
England captain Eoin Morgan on BBC Test Match Special: “It’s absolutely remarkable. We didn’t expect to play much cricket today and it’s turned out to be an epic end to a series where there wasn’t much between the two sides.
“To win it in such fashion with a young, inexperienced side in the long term will pay huge dividends for us.”
England batsman Jonny Bairstow: “It was manic. The way they came out and put on that total was very, very impressive. It was a pretty imposing total but we thought we had a chance.
“We don’t want to keep making a habit of super overs. It just shows how close the sides are. It sets up a fantastic Test series.”
England bowler Chris Jordan: “A few of us have played T10 cricket so the mood was very calm the entire way through. I just tried to keep a clear mind.
“I’d bowled a super over before in Sharjah against Pakistan, so it was more or less going through processes and letting what will be will be.”
BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew: “It was fitting that the last match of this series should end in a super over.
“It’s been as difficult to separate these two teams now as it was in the World Cup final – but this time, England’s victory was emphatic.”
New Zealand captain Tim Southee: “The shorter the game, the harder the side can go. It would have been nice to have one more run there somewhere but it wasn’t to be.
“It’s been a good series throughout – it has ebbed and flowed. It will be good to get the whites back on.”