New Zealand enjoyed a rare sporting victory over England today when it won the second Twenty20 cricket international by 21 runs to level the five-match series at 1-1.
Poor catching cost England dearly as New Zealand made 176-8 after being asked to bat while Colin de Grandhomme held four catches and Martin Guptill two as England was all out for 155 in the 20th over.
Guptill made a partial return to form, scoring 41 from 28 balls at the top of the order — his highest score in his last 14 limited overs innings. De Grandhomme dashed 28 from 12 balls in the middle of the innings and Jimmy Neesham, in his first Twenty20 international in almost two years, hit 42 from 22 balls near the end.
New Zealand was aided by England's poor fielding. James Vince, who scored an impressive half-century in the first game of the series which England won by seven wickets, dropped two straight-forward catches and missed one harder chance.
Other chances went down as New Zealand vastly improved on its batting performance in the first match of the series when it made an inadequate 153-5.
Guptill's innings, which included three fours and two sixes set it off at a faster pace than it achieved in Friday's series opener when it was tied down by brothers Tom and Sam Curran, who shared the new ball for England.
Regular contributions throughout the order, from the big-hitting De Grandhomme and from Neesham allowed New Zealand to reach a competitive total.
New Zealand then made use of local knowledge in its bowling approach and field settings when England replied. The Wellington Regional Stadium has strange dimensions, short square boundaries but long straight boundaries and the Black Caps made good use of those qualities.
By forcing England to hit straight in windy conditions, they set up the catches which de Grandhomme and Guptill shared.
"I thought the Black Caps played incredibly well," England captain Eion Morgan said. "I thought we bowled reasonably well but they batted well and used the dimensions of the field really well.
"We didn't bat or field anywhere near as well as we did the other way. We dropped catches and continued to lose wickets."
England made the worst-possible start when it lost Jonny Bairstow to the first ball of the innings. It was 3-2 when Vince was out for one in the next over.
Morgan hit his team back into the match, scoring 32 from 17 balls, before allrounder Chris Jordan, who had earlier taken 3-23 in an outstanding bowling performance, gave England late hope with 36 off 19 balls including 22 runs — three sixes and a four — off consecutive balls from Mitchell Santner.
Santner had the last laugh, dismissing Jordan and taking 3-25 from four overs to be voted man of the match.