MANCHESTER: England took its first step towards its dream goal a millionaire pay day under the guidance of Sir Allen Stanford on November 1 when it crushed New Zealand by nine wickets in the one-off Twenty-20 game at Old Trafford.
It was, of course, a huge margin in Twenty-20 terms, as there were 15 balls left when Ian Bell struck the winning boundary but it was more remarkable because England has always found motivation difficult in any sort of one-day cricket.
New Zealand had the ill-luck to lose its giant all-rounder Jacob Oram a few minutes before the toss with a hamstring injury and by the time Paul Collingwood had won the toss and asked it to bat it looked like a team in trouble.
England’s greatest success was to deny Brendon McCullum, a ferocious hitter at his best, a run for his first nine balls, James Anderson had Jamie How caught with his first ball and Collingwood’s cunning slower ball bowled Ross Taylor, the top scorer, when he seemed ready to add backbone to a crumbling side.
New Zealand could total only 123, its lowest score in this rapid-fire form of cricket.
With 124 not forgetting the big pay day as the target England could hardly fail to win but Bell then rushed to 60 in 47 balls.
It was one of the most comfortable victories since it saw the start of one-day international matches in 1971 a classic performance which showed “we can compete with any side in the world,” said Pietersen afterwards.
The scores: New Zealand 123 for nine (Ross Taylor 25, Daniel Flynn 23, Stuart Broad 2 for 17, James Anderson two for 25, Graeme Swann two for 21) lost to England 127 for one (Ian Bell 60 n.o., Luke Wright 24, Kevin Pietersen 42 n.o.)